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 their 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 Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (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 perform the lesson as presented. Since the materials are self-correcting, the student can evaluate his or her own progress. Through observation, the teacher determines whether to present the lesson again while 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 recordkeeping 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 alllLessons 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 their senses and 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 can also 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, 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.”
St. James Episcopal School is a mission of the St. James Episcopal Church. Our Episcopal Identity is evident in our Chapel, as well as in the classrooms. We begin learning the Bible stories in Chapel and then practice Christianity during our daily lives through song, prayer and devotionals. The Kindergarten students help lead all Chapel services and parents are always welcome to join us in worship. Chapel gives us a unique ability to share God’s love and open the windows for spirituality to take hold in each child. We are welcoming of all faiths and enjoy comparing and contrasting all the ways to worship our Lord. Maria Montessori promoted that the time for forming deep roots of spirituality happens in this three to six age range and we are blessed to have brought thousands of children to the altar of Saint James Episcopal Church over the life of the school.
*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 Schedule8:00am - 8:30am Student Arrival
8:35am - 8:50am Chapel - Monday and Wednesday; Circle Time
8:50am – 11:15 Individual Work Time
11:15am - 11:30am Circle Time
11:30am - 12:15pm Outside Play Time
11:45am - 12:00pm Half Day Students Depart
12:15pm - 1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm - 3:00pm Nap Time or Work Time and Specials for Non Napping Students
3:00pm - 3:45pm Student Dismissal
3:45pm - 6:00pm After School Care