The Primary Day
What does a typical day in the K-2 classroom look like?
The morning begins with a long literacy period in which the most critical skills in reading and writing are developed. Students follow a schedule that’s uniquely designed to their specific needs and skill sets to learn important literacy skills. Some skills are taught independently while others are performed in small groups. Students learn to follow a routine to work independently on these skills.
Literacy skills include:
- Listening to reading
- Writing practice
- Word building
- Working with phonics
- Reading to self
- Reading to others
- Reading comprehension
- Identifying the main idea
- Fact vs. opinion
- Vocabulary work
Another important part of our literacy period is language development. Language is a crucial component to development; Maria Montessori went as far as to say that it’s a central point of human existence. Language goes far beyond the idea of spoken language!
During language development, we instruct students in expressive, receptive, and body language. We teach how language can help express thoughts and feelings. Children are constantly being exposed to new vocabulary, interactions, and self-expression. Reading and writing are an important part of this time as these skills allow children to experience how language works, whether or not they’re ready for reading.
In addition to language development, we also put a strong emphasis on a love for reading. Every day, we model reading to our students. We then engage in literature discussion, allowing our students to express their thoughts on whatever story has been read. Students develop their interaction skills by commenting or asking questions about statements made by their peers.
Literature focuses include:
- Identifying the parts of a book
- Identifying the parts of a story
- Making connections
- Predicting and summarizing
Students then spend a class period working with a guest teacher on social studies and language concepts. Students explore geography, world cultures, other languages, and fascinating historical stories in order to learn new facts and sharpen their skills in language and listening comprehension.
Following literacy time, students engage in a mathematics period. Our math program teaches our students how to learn rather than the basic memorization of answers. We encourage problem solving and diversify in thinking, using daily situations for natural, teachable moments. Montessori materials are used to help students experience abstract concepts though the movement and manipulation of concrete objects. Through this practice, students are able to validate how they got their answers, provide meaningful reasoning for rule changes, and allow them to mindfully self-correct.
Our mathematics program uses beautiful, carefully selected materials to encourage learning through hands-on application. We believe that students need to understand new topics on a concrete level before they can fully understand them in abstract forms. This multisensory approach allows our students to justify their answers, helping them to develop a deeper understanding of the “why.”
After a morning of highly engaged work time, students have an electives period. This time may include art, food preparation, crafts, stage, chess, and more! Our electives period is followed by lunch and recess.
The afternoon begins with a period of science. Our main goal in science is to teach our students the importance of observation. Students learn that record keeping and careful observation is an important way to communicate what they’ve discovered with others. We instill confidence in our students, promoting curiosity by encouraging them to ask “why?”
Our students explore topics in a variety of ways:
- Video clips, note taking, and discussions
- Hands on activities, labs, and projects
- Real life examples in our own world that show how science is all around us
- Group studies to review information at the end of each unit
- Knowledge checks to justify their learning and to demonstrate their knowledge
The students’ day ends with a Montessori work period. This period lasts over an hour and a half and allows students to explore works and topics of their interest while developing the critical skills of sustained focus and independent functioning. The extended work cycle allows the students to get lost in their work and forms the precursor to our elementary and middle school “project based learning.” During this time, students are encouraged to be creative thinkers, building and creating variations and extensions of topics covered in class.
Some extensions include:
- Writing samples
- Creating books
- Building dioramas or models
- Drawings, paintings, or samples of art
Students also spend time working on practical life. Practical life is defined as purposeful activities performed in everyday living. This is essential to teaching children fundamental skills that will help them later in life. We teach these skills by designing activities based on a specific purpose to help children refine their movements, isolating each motion. Practical life activities help children to make connections between their brains and bodies by refining synthetic movements into purposeful, voluntary motion.
All humans have a natural desire to be independent. We teach children though real life experiences to help them gain confidence in their self worth, community, sequencing skills, and responsibility.