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Primary Program

Primary Faculty      Division Newsletters


“…[Since] there are in this period of three to six natural aptitudes to easy acquisition of culture, we should take advantage of them, and surround the child with things to handle which in themselves convey steps in culture. When we place in his environment certain objects which allow him to imitate human actions around him, and the means to perfect acquisitions already made in the first period, we help him to achieve the complicated culture of today.”

– Maria Montessori, “Education for a New World”

Fostering Independence and Determination

The Montessori School of Lake Forest Primary Program continues to maximize the development of young children through scientifically prepared environments. The Montessori-trained teacher conducts carefully planned activities which continue to lead the child to build sensory-motor skills, master concrete academic concepts, develop the ability to concentrate deeply, practice socialization skills, and acquire high self-esteem and inner security. The mixed-age grouping of the Primary classroom corresponds to Maria Montessori’s theory of child development, which is based on three-year cycles. Because of their constant interaction in the classroom, Primary children learn to get along with children of different ages and abilities, to respect each other’s work and workspace, and to treat each other with courtesy.

The Primary Environment

In the Primary classroom, there is a variety of activity as well as a great deal of movement. A three-year-old, for example, may be washing cloths by hand while a nearby four-year-old composes words and phrases with the letters of the movable alphabet. Meanwhile, a five-year-old performs multiplication using a specially designed set of beads. In this lively classroom, work inspires work, and 28 children is the normal head count. Although much of the work at this stage of development is done individually, sometimes the entire class is involved in a group activity, such as storytelling, singing, or movement.

Extended Day

The Extended Day afternoon provides a rich experience for the older child in a small group setting. A child will be invited to enter the Extended Day Program on their fifth birthday. By allowing them to pursue areas of advanced study during the afternoon, the Extended Day Program assures that your child will have enough class time to complete the full syllabus. This six-hour program qualifies as a Kindergarten Program as required by the State of Illinois.

This video from the American Montessori Society demonstrates the importance of the Montessori kindergarten year—the third and final year of the Montessori Early Childhood cycle— and how that year is a foundation for life.

As Your Child Learns, So Do You

The faculty and staff of the Montessori School of Lake Forest offer ongoing Parent Information Sessions which address the developmental opportunities and challenges for families and children from birth through 15. Observation of your child’s class is another way to gain insight and understanding of the Montessori process.

Montessori Education Does Not End With The Primary Experience

Montessori education continues through a child’s Elementary and Adolescent years. The Montessori Elementary environment responds to the Elementary age child’s expanding view of the universe. As the Elementary age child moves from the concrete learning of the preschool years to the more abstract concepts of older childhood, Montessori Elementary education meets their developmental needs each step of the way.

Another video from the American Montessori Society explains how the the Montessori Elementary years—ages 6 through 12—prepare children intellectually, emotionally, and socially to navigate the next stage of their education.