Primary Years Programme
Primary-aged children have an amazing capacity to reason. The combined power of their reasoning intellect and imagination is so potent that virtually any concept or system – no matter how difficult or abstract – can be presented in such a way that they can begin integrating this knowledge. The focus is on learning any subject from many directions through all disciplines. Materials are uniquely presented in a Montessori Primary classroom, beginning globally and historically and working toward the local and present. Time lines, charts and experiments inspire systematic research and understanding of broad areas of learning.
The International Montessori School (IMS) Primary Years Programme also operates from the understanding that an important challenge at this developmental stage is for children to discover their place within a group and within society as a whole. Thus, much of the activity at the Primary levels takes place in groups, with children sharing, collaborating and exploring material together. The buzz of debate, discussion, and disagreement fill an IMS Primary classroom.
The Montessori elementary course of study is an integrated view of interrelated disciplines offered in three-year cycles, which starts with the global and historical perspective, then moves forward to current and local events.
At Lower Primary students are beginning to read and write independently. Materials are presented to expand their imagination and maximize their motivation to read and write. Activities for Lower Primary students provide more guidance than those in Upper Primary, but students also have many resources close at hand within the classroom to nurture independent exploration and discovery.
The Upper Primary Programme at IMS provides a more abstracted environment in which research projects and collaborative learning are driven and organized by the students themselves. Students are expected to collect and organize data from a broad range of sources, from both within and outside of the classroom, and to learn how to negotiate intangible resources such as information, time, and teamwork.
- Includes 25 children working individually or in small groups.
- Has two teachers, at least one of whom is a fully qualified Montessori teacher.
- One teacher is an English speaker, and one is a Putonghua speaker.
- The Primary Years teacher is a generalist, encouraging exploration of the limitless potential for learning.
- Students participate in Specialist Classes in Music, Art, Information Technology, and Physical Education each week.
The Primary Programme Curriculum
The Great Lessons lie at the heart of the The Montessori Primary Years curriculum. These lessons are designed to spark the imagination, and assist the developing reasoning mind of the elementary student. These Great Lessons offer an integrated thematic approach in which major concepts are introduced to challenge the imagination and provide a framework that ties separate disciplines of the curriculum together into studies of the physical universe, the world of nature, and the human experience. The student is left with burning questions to investigate, which lead on to the many extension lessons provided in each area. This integrated approach differs from the traditional model in which the curriculum is compartmentalised into separate subjects, with given topics limited by grade level.
The 6-12 environment is designed to be a springboard to the universe of learning; it is intentionally “not enough,” and students are encouraged to seek out the needed information from specialists in various disciplines, within IMS and in the broader community. IMS has teachers in Art, Music, IT, and PE, who work closely with the classroom teachers to enhance the integration and extension of learning. The class teacher may suggest a group of students who are building an Egyptian pyramid seek the advice of the IMS specialist Art teacher for best choices of materials. Or the students may approach the IT teacher to provide suggestions regarding programmes to balance a chequebook to support a class fundraising project. The student learns how to problem-solve real problems in a protected environment, preparing the student for life.
The Great Lessons begin with the formation of the universe, introducing Earth Science, Astronomy, Chemistry and Physics. The next Great Lesson moves forward in time to the first life on earth, which is the beginnings of Biology. Learning about the Humanities in the context of history, with an emphasis on understanding why humans created Art, and Language, and Mathematics, and the impact on human knowledge establishes a base of interest for all future learning. Read more about the Great Lessons on our Parent Education page here.