Primary (Preschool) Program
As the Montessori approach works best when children enroll at a young age, City Garden prefers for its students to start in the Primary program and matriculate into the charter school, if possible. However, state statute requires that students enter the lottery application process for the charter school, regardless of prior enrollment in the Primary program.
City Garden’s Primary program is appealing to parents for a variety of reasons. The Montessori Theory of Development is one of the most respectful ways to educate and nurture children, and this is especially apparent in the Primary classroom. Three and four-year-olds, who are budding scientists, have the freedom to explore things that they are naturally driven to explore, at which time that innate drive surfaces: Montessori calls these “sensitive periods,” when children experience a yearning to learn and practice a particular skill or concept.
Children are allowed to move at their own pace and to practice things over and over again, feeding this innate drive to perfect that particular skill, such as pouring water, learning letter sounds, or ordering blocks from smallest to largest. Empowered to choose their work and do things for themselves, they develop independence and confidence, setting them on a path to find their unique place and purpose in the world.
Children in City Garden’s Primary program are joyful and content. With a deeply rich curriculum and excellent guides (teachers), whose sole focus is on each child’s development, children master complex academic concepts early and “learn how to learn.” This establishes a strong foundation for long-term academic success.
The Montessori Primary classroom is a “living room” for children. Children choose their work among self-correcting materials displayed on open shelves and they work independently. Over a period of time, the children begin to show a high level of concentration and coordination. The individualized approach of Montessori capitalizes on each child’s interests and optimizes motivation. In the Montessori Primary program, academic competency is a means to an end and the manipulatives are viewed as “materials for development.”
In the Montessori Primary program, five distinct areas constitute the prepared environment:
- Practical life enhances the development of hand-eye coordination, gross motor, control and cognitive order through care of self, care of the environment, development of social relations and coordination of physical movement.
- The sensorial area enables the child to order, classify and describe sensory impressions in relation to length, width, temperature, mass, color, etc.
- Mathematics makes use of the manipulative materials to enable the child to internalize concepts of number, symbol, sequence, operations and memorizations of basic facts.
- Language arts include oral language development, written expression, reading, the study of grammar, creative dramatics and children’s literature. Basic skills in writing and reading are developed through the use of sandpaper letters, alphabet cutouts and various presentations, allowing children to link sounds and letter symbols effortlessly and to express their thoughts through writing.
- Cultural activities expose the child to basics in geography, history, life sciences, and earth sciences. Music, art, and movement education are part of the integrated cultural curriculum.
For more information about application, tuition, or scholarships, please see our application page.