Primary Montessori

Montessori for Pre-k through Kindergarten

Primary Montessori describes the Montessori classroom for children ages 3 to 6 (what Maria Montessori called the second half of the first plane of development). Primary Montessori includes preschool students age 3 and 4 and kindergarten students, age 5. Primary Montessori is a three-year educational cycle and the third (kindergarten) year is a crucial part of the experience. Parents should plan to keep their children in the classroom for the full three years (until first grade).

Primary Montessori Options in Arlington

Arlington Public Schools offers a Montessori program for children beginning at three years of age and going through Elementary and Middle School. Tuition for three and four-year-old APS Montessori students is charged on a sliding scale based on family income. Once a student enters Kindergarten (the third year of Primary Montessori), there is no charge. 

There are also many private Montessori programs throughout Arlington, and in surrounding communities. Within Arlington, the following private programs are available: 

Primary Program

Toddler and Primary Programs

Toddler, Primary, and Elementary Programs

Benefits of Primary Montessori

A Primary Montessori classroom allows children to learn at their own pace. In a mixed-age class, children can always find peers who are working at their level. Montessori teachers usually present lessons to small groups of children at one time and limit lessons to brief and very clear presentations. The goal is to give the children just enough to capture their attention and spark their interest, intriguing them enough that they will come back on their own to work with the materials. Montessori children are free to move about, working alone or with others at will. They may select any activity and work with it as long as they wish.

Staying in one class for three years allows students to develop a strong sense of community with their classmates. Teachers get to know their students’ strengths and weaknesses, interests, and personalities. They lead children to ask questions, think for themselves, investigate, and discover.

The Montessori system has been successfully applied with children from all socio-economic levels, as well as the gifted, children with developmental delays, and children with emotional and physical disabilities.

Benefits include:

Kindergarten Year

The Montessori learning experience is cumulative: what a child learns in the kindergarten year builds on what was learned in previous Montessori years. The kindergarten year is the culmination of this learning when the child internalizes these early concrete experiences, building a strong educational foundation. The value of the first two years cannot be fully realized if the child does not continue working with the Montessori materials to complete the three-year cycle.

The Kindergarten year in Primary Montessori is the final year of a three-year cycle. Your child has spent two years preparing to be the class leader. Kindergarteners thrive on helping the three and four year olds and being a role model. Mentoring helps them both socially and academically. As they share work they have mastered, they reinforce what they know and strengthen their social confidence.

Earlier lessons come together during the Kindergarten year and become part of how the child thinks and achieves. Montessori students use concrete materials and experience to learn academic subjects such as math and reading.  In the final year, they continue work with core classroom materials, using them as a bridge into abstract thinking. Many Montessori parents are amazed when a four year old, who did not appear to be reading, “magically” explodes into reading and writing during the Kindergarten year.  The hands-on math materials, such as the golden beads, become less necessary as the child progresses to more abstract pencil and paper math exercises.  It does feel like magic, but it is really the culmination of the first two years in the Primary Montessori classroom.

Montessori Kindergarten children have spent two years in the same classroom where they were supported, treated with respect, and encouraged to behave responsibly. They know what to expect, have learned how to learn, and to value and care about the other children in their classroom community.  Their teacher knows them well and stands ready to guide them through the Kindergarten year.

After completing Kindergarten, Montessori students can continue into Arlington’s elementary Montessori program at the Montessori Public School of Arlington, go to a private Elementary Montessori school, or enter traditional first grade in their neighborhood school. Students who complete the three-year cycle Primary Montessori and enter traditional first grade generally make the transition easily. These students are normally self-confident, enthusiastic, advanced learners, comfortable in a variety of environments.