Pre-Primary (2 years -3 years)
The three-year cycle of students can be referred to as “novice, intermediate, and mentor” – this creates a communal feeling in the classroom and prevents children from being “left behind” and “pushed forward”. Because toddler-aged children are rapidly growing and their independence levels are so varied, some MKU locations offer a Pre-Primary environment for toddlers who are transitioning from the infant/toddler stage to the toddler/Primary stage.
MKU’s Pre-Primary environments have a strong focus on fine-tuning the child’s ability to learn most successfully, thus preparing them for the more focused work in the Primary classroom. If a child’s hands are not strong enough to hold a pencil yet, the teacher would create an activity that builds hand strength and trains the fingers to use a pincer grasp. If an older toddler is progressing academically a bit faster than others but is not yet independent in the restroom – this environment is for them.
Pre-Primary materials vary between common toddler classroom materials and introductory Primary sensorial materials. MKU believes that all children should have access to materials and concepts that they, individually, are ready for. This Pre-Primary environment solves the problem of children in varying developmental stages in the same environment, needing different materials and the varied safety concerns. As a child feels comfortable and successful in their environment, the classroom starts to normalize.
A normalized classroom means the students are freely choosing work and understand what is expected of them. Montessori teachers help foster this normalization in the Pre-Primary classroom by:
- Creating a classroom schedule with routines and rituals built in
- Honoring the pace of each child’s development and not expecting each student to progress equally
- Creating prepared environments that support the need for independence and foster development
- Preparing the child’s body, mind, and spirit for the Primary classroom and the materials it hosts.