2- Primary Montessori: PreK and K
Montessori for PreK through Kindergarten
How is Montessori preschool different from traditional PreK?
Primary Montessori is designed to help your child maximize his or her potential. The classroom is purposefully designed to meet each child’s unique developmental needs and has adults who are specifically trained to observe and put each child in touch with exactly what they need to learn.
Three to six-year-olds are together in the classroom. Younger students learn from older children, who in turn benefit from serving as role models. Children normally stay in the same class for three years.
Primary Montessori classrooms are child-centered, not teacher-centered. Students learn through “work”, a term used to describe activities and concepts unique to a child’s developmental stage.
Helps develop confident, responsible, and independent children
Nurtures social growth and confidence
APS offers sliding scale fees for preschool and is free for Kindergarten
Takes advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime ability of a preschoolers to absorb information and concepts
Teaches children to focus and channel energy
Develops strong readers
Strengthens social skills and leadership in a multi-age classroom
Fosters independent learning and curiosity
Builds a solid academic foundation in math, science and reading
What are the benefits to a primary Montessori classroom?
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.
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.
What does a Primary Montessori classroom look like?
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.
What are my choices if I want to send my child to Primary Montessori in Arlington County?
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 four private Primary Montessori programs in Arlington.
"Primary Montessori" is the phrase that describes the Montessori classroom for children ages 3 to 6 (what Maria Montessori called the second half of the first plane of development). In private Montessori schools, children usually start at 2 1/2. In APS Montessori classrooms, students start at age 3. 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).
The APS Montessori application deadline is usually April 15. Details are available on the APS website.