Montessori Primary programs should embrace some fundamental guidelines:
Attention to the sensitive periods of a child’s development; a prepared environment; guidance in the academic areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Geography, Science and Nature, Language, and Math; and a mixed-age grouping. Beyond these shared characteristics, schools’ styles and energies vary widely from campus to campus.
Full Day Primary students are divided by developmental readiness into either our Primary Nap Program in the gym or a second work period with their guides in the classroom. If the Primary child is still napping or benefitting from a rest period, he or she will be placed in the Nap Program. (We start the three-year-olds and most four-year-olds in Nap then assess readiness for a second work period after the first three weeks of school.) During nap, the children gather in a designated space on campus with soft music, white noise, back rubs, and a sweet rest time with our Nap team and several of our Assistant Guides.
Once Primary children grow out of their nap they participate in a second work period, which starts with a quiet story time from a chapter book, which we call “zen time”, with lessons in reading comprehension. Following story time, the children are placed with peers of similar academic, social, and emotional development for the remainder of the work period.
The younger children traditionally work with the Assistant Guides in a creative environment, which includes art, stories, practical life activities, outdoor work, on-campus field trips, and gardening. Younger children also participate in Nature Club with students from other classes.
The older children, typically the five- and six-year-olds, but some older four-year-olds on occasion, work with the Lead Guide in a more academic environment that includes our proprietary Kindergarten Curriculum in preparation for elementary school, where the “olders” and “leaders” work on advanced lessons in reading, writing, advanced math materials, conducting science experiments and making maps. Kindergartners also participate in a weekly Science Club with the Kindergarten students from other classes.
We give much thought, observation, and conversation to the question of which afternoon program is best for each child, in an effort to follow each child’s needs and developmental readiness. The child’s Lead Guide ultimately makes the placement decision for each child, and he or she will discuss this decision with parents/guardians. Please note that we put much consideration into supporting afternoon transitions for our children regardless of which program they are enrolled in.
We offer both a Morning Program and a Full Day Program for our children. Upon drop-off, your child will enjoy some time outdoors. After moving inside, we begin class time with a group lesson on circle, followed by a minimum of two hours of independent work time. The Montessori-trained Lead Guides give individual, one-on-one, and group lessons to each child during work time, while the Assistants move through the classroom and outdoor work environments ensuring that all the children are busy working on materials (“works”) in which they have already received a lesson, or that do not require a lesson (such as puzzles, games, reading corner, art corner, practical life, and manipulatives). Snack is set out and available during the work period so the children may serve themselves whenever they feel hungry, followed by washing their dishes. After work time, the children reconvene for a brief second circle and community lunch, followed by a second outdoor play period. Morning students are picked up at 12:30, and our remaining students transition into either Nap or Zen Time/Second Work Period, and the children are picked up between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m.
List of 1 items.
We embrace the concept of the “whole child.”
Students are immersed in an atmosphere that enhances their physical and socioemotional as well as their academic needs. Senses of independence, curiosity, empathy, and confidence are fostered both in the classroom and the outdoor work and play environments.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my son’s education. The loving guides at Athena taught him so much more than reading and writing– he’s learned how to take care of himself and those around him while navigating the social community of his classroom. I feel these life skills will serve him well as he graduates and enters first grade in the fall!”
- Rebecca O’Hara (Child now attending Eanes Elementary)