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St. James Programs » Primary



Primary Class (3-6 years old)

St. James provides a rich Montessori five day a week primary program.  The primary program is a 10 month based school year beginning in August and concluding in May.  There are no summer sessions.  

St. James Episcopal School is committed to the Montessori approach to education providing freedom within a prepared environment, stressing academic individualized learning and development for the young child.  The Montessori Method of education develops the child’s five senses, through manipulative materials in the classroom.  Each classroom is equipped with shelves that surround the room and contain hands on educational materials.  These materials are arranged in a progression of graduating difficulty allowing the child to see his own progress. The five year old becomes a mentor in the classroom and has more responsibilities. A kindergarten child has “folder work” which guides them and assures all TEKS are surpassed.

The Montessori Curriculum is based on “observation”, scientific observation accompanied by detailed note-taking. A lesson is presented by the Teacher; then it is the Student’s turn to “do” the lesson as presented. Because the materials are self-correcting, the Student can evaluate his or her own progress. Through observation, the Teacher determines whether to re-present the lesson, isolating the difficulty, or to progress to the next lesson in the sequence. Repetition of each lesson is encouraged until the Student is ready to move on.

The “Three Period Lesson” can be utilized as a “test” of effectiveness. 1st Period: “This is­ ___”. 2nd Period: “Show me ___, Touch the ___ . 3rd Period: “What is this?” The Montessori Curriculum provides for meticulous Record-Keeping of all Lessons given in all areas of the Classroom: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics and Cultural (Science, Geography, History, Botany, Art, Music, and Spanish). A list of all Lessons from each area is kept for each student. The Teacher records lessons presented and those mastered. This record is kept for each student for a three year cycle in the Primary Classroom.

The importance of the Three Year Cycle/Kindergarten Year:

In the Montessori environment, the child is presented with endless opportunities to develop all his senses and his motor skills with the aid of self-correcting materials in a prepared setting.  During the third year a child cannot only work with these materials in more depth, thus gaining more insights from them, but, using this base, can move into the academic areas.

Next, having learned from older children, shared with peers and helped younger children, the student has the opportunity to assume leadership within the classroom.

Once the child has established critical learning habits – concentration, self-discipline, a sense of order, persistence in completing a task, creative self expression and love for learning, (invaluable preparations for life) – these behaviors are reinforced in a supportive, exciting environment.

All preparations for later academic work and for social and emotional development, which have been so carefully nurtured in the three and four-year-old [children], are reinforced in the kindergarten year.

As one parent said, “Everything my child had learned up to [the kindergarten year] seemed to fall into place, and he was ready to meet other challenges once he had this foundation.”

*Excerpt from the article, American Montessori Society The Kindergarten Experience, was written by The American Montessori Society 281 Park Avenue South   New York, NY 10010

Primary Schedule

8:15 - 8:30 Children begin entering the classroom and choose work
8:30 - 8:45 Chapel, MW; Circle Time
9:00 – 11:30 Individual work time
11:30 - 12:00Playground time
12:00 dismissal for half day students
12:00 - 12:40 lunch/clean-up
1:00 - 3:00 nap/quiet time for children 4 ½ and under; continued work time for older students
3:15 - 3:30 extended day ends
3:30 after school care begins