The Primary Program is a three-year program for children ages three to six. Primary builds not only the foundation for future academic success, but also the necessary skills to meet 21st century demands: growing autonomy, independence, cooperation, collaboration and flexibility.

Unlike daycare, a Montessori preschool focuses on the development of the whole child, including grace and courtesy, practical life skills and care for the environment.

The Primary program at Gladwyne Montessori is specifically designed and structured to support children during the first plane of human development, from birth to six years of age, which Dr. Montessori calls the period of the absorbent mind. Initially, it is an unconscious process of absorbing impressions and stimuli from the environment.

This is the stage of concrete learning and concept-building. At this stage of development, our children are inherently requesting, ‘help me to help myself.’

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A typical day in a Montessori preschool varies from day-to-day as children learn and grow. Work is the children’s play as they wash, clean, polish, water, word-build, write, read, color, paint, mold, construct, explore and more. A child’s personal development is informed by the environment including the work of other students in the classroom. As one child builds words, another practices sounds, discovering the mysteries of words. They compose tens, twenties, and thirties, while another counts the one thousand chain. Drawing, pin-punching, metal insets and painting maps are among the favorite activities every day. Children also enjoy discovering the parts of a leaf or a frog. The more experienced Primary children discuss the names of landforms and water forms. Each individual child works at his or her own pace, but can learn from and help guide another.

The Montessori materials found in each classroom appeal to the child’s human tendencies to explore, find order and orientation, manipulate, and repeat precise movements until relative perfection is reached. Learning becomes a process of joyful discovery through these materials!

Primary classrooms are designed with low furniture for a child's ease of use, a reading corner with a comfortable floor cushion and child-sized practical tools, like a scrubbing brush and broom. These elements allow for true independence and help to develop fine motor skills.

The culmination of the Primary three-year cycle creates a solid foundation for continued Montessori learning at the elementary level.