At last, your child is ready for kindergarten. You tilled the soil and sowed the seeds. Watered them and watched them grow. And you worked tirelessly until the day comes when each plant is ready to produce fruit. In Montessori, the children of the Primary community may be viewed in this same light. Teachers and parents work together to nurture and support each child’s social, emotional, and academic growth, knowing that in just a few years these children will be ready to produce a harvest of confidence, knowledge, and a life-long love of learning. However, what many do not realize: it takes three or sometimes four years for a child to reach this place.
Kindergarten: The Final Year in the Primary Classroom
In many ways, taking a child out of the Montessori classroom before kindergarten, their final year of Primary, is very much like walking away from a garden just as it begins to bear fruit. The kindergarten year is when the magic begins. It is where discoveries and connections are made. During the first two years in the primary classroom, the child acquires a wide variety of social and academic skills. Yet it is in the final year when the child is able to bring all of these skills together and gain an entirely new perspective of themselves and the world around them.
The child begins to marvel at their own abilities and becomes amazed by what they can do. Reading and writing skills lead to a new, insatiable eagerness to explore science, nature and geography with brand new eyes. Practice with numbers and geometry suddenly allows the child to draw mathematic connections in the world around them. Rather than using the polishing materials to develop concentration and coordination, the child does so now because they take pride in using their skills to care for their environment.
In this final year of Primary, the child becomes the teacher, the caretaker, the explorer, the discoverer. They now take ownership of their education, and the knowledge they gain truly belongs to them. The joy of learning is their own. It becomes a part of their very being, and this is the magic and the beauty of the final year of Primary.