The five key areas of learning in the Primary Montessori environment include: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Culture.
Practical life includes life skills to help develop independence, coordination, concentration, self-control, self-awareness, and confidence, and they include:
- Care of Self (food preparation, dressing, washing)
- Care of Environment (cleaning, gardening, care of plants, environmentalism)
- Grace and Courtesy (greetings, manners, social interactions)
- Control of Movement (refining movements, walking the line, moving quietly)
Sensorial activities allow the scholar to refine each of the senses:
- Sight (visual),
- Touch (tactile),
- Smell (olfactory)
- Taste (gustatory)
- Sound (auditory)
- Stereognostic (kinesthetic)
This includes the manipulation of specifically designed materials that isolate qualities, refine fine motor skills, visual and auditory senses, and develops coordination and the ability to order and classify. Materials include the Pink Tower, Brown Stairs, Knobbed Cylinders, and Color Tablets.
Language is based on phonetic awareness. Scholars work through specific hands-on and tactile language materials such as the sandpaper letters to the moveable alphabet. Language is not an isolated topic but runs through the curriculum. The spoken language is the foundation for writing and then reading.
Mathematics is developed with the use of concrete learning materials. The sensorial area is the preparation for mathematics. Hands-on materials are used such as number rods, sandpaper numbers, number boards, spindle box, number tiles, beads, and games. Each exercise builds upon another and the child gradually moves from concrete to abstract areas such as place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and fractions.
Culture allows the scholar to explore the natural world around them and includes:
- Geography (continents, landforms, earth layers, solar system)
- Zoology (classification, physiology of animals)
- Botany (ecology, classification, physiology of plants)
- History (time lines, using a calendar)
“The Five Key Learning Areas of Montessori.” How We Montessori, 26 July 2016, https://www.howwemontessori.com/how-we-montessori/2016/07/the-five-curriculum-areas-of-montessori-.html.