The Primary Environment for children ages 3 to 6 years
One of the defining characteristics of Montessori education is the development of multi-age
classroom environments that are filled with tools that align with a child’s natural development
and learning processes. At Maria Montessori School, our environments range from the toddler
community, for ages 18 months to three years, to the primary environment, for ages three to six,
and then into elementary school and middle school environments.
Last month, we shared what defines the toddler community, and this month we will focus on the
primary environment, which is specifically tailored for children ages 3 to 6.
In the primary environment, most students have laid the foundation for many of their basic skills
and abilities, like language, large movement, hand-eye coordination, and interacting
cooperatively with others. In the primary community, we work on fine-tuning them. To gain
further skills and expertise, children perform practical life skills such as self-care, environment
maintenance, manipulation of basic materials, scientific study and exploration, and practicing
concrete math concepts like object counting.
In this environment, we encourage students to embark on more independent activities. As they
are always learning to interact with others, this environment shows the students that they are a
community of unique individuals, and gives them the freedom for exploration and self-directed
The primary environment at Maria Montessori school builds upon the foundational concepts
ingrained in the students from their time in the toddler community and uses those to help mold
them into a well-adjusted community member before they embark on their next adventure into
the elementary environment.