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The Primary program is a three-year program for children ages 3 to 6-years old. Primary builds not only the foundation for future academic success, but also the necessary skills to meet and exceed 21st century demands: growing autonomy, independence, cooperation, collaboration, and flexibility.

Unlike a traditional daycare, a Montessori preschool focuses on developing the whole child, including the blossoming independence of the age, grace, and courtesy in interacting with others, self-care skills, and care for the environment.

The classrooms are brimming with hands-on materials specifically designed for the development and cognitive growth of children this age. This is the stage of concrete learning and concept building, setting the foundation for the child’s educational journey during this formative age.

A typical day in a Montessori Primary classroom varies from day-to-day as children learn and grow. Montessori “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, pre-reading activities, 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.

Primary classrooms are designed with low furniture for a child's ease of use, a reading corner with a comfortable floor cushions 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 Montessori materials and lessons encourage the skills of order, organization, coordination, and concentration in every subject area. This environment is carefully curated by a Montessori Guide or Lead Teacher, who will shepherd your young learner through works and lessons in their own rhythm. To hear more from our fully-credentialed Montessori Primary faculty, watch this recording from a virtual Primary Open House we hosted in March 2021.

The culmination of the Primary three-year cycle creates a solid foundation for continued Montessori learning at the Elementary level. Get in touch with our Admissions Office to learn more about how your young learner can benefit from this exceptional program.

Gladwyne Montessori's Primary Program Toilet Learning and Napping Policy:

We expect children entering our Primary program to be able to use a toilet independently (i.e., having no more than one accident per week). This means that they will be able to recognize and verbalize the need to use the bathroom, as well as have the ability to undress, redress, use the toilet, and wash their hands independently. While we understand that, with the start of school, children may regress somewhat in their toileting habits, we believe that it is in the best interest of all of the children if this important milestone is met before school begins. If your child is not making necessary progress in toilet training as the new school year approaches, please contact the Assistant Head of School.

Please also be advised there is not a structured nap time for ages three and up. Primary is a full-day academic program.

Primary Faculty