Each student has his own rhythm of growth and UVMS’s program is designed to satisfy his individual learning needs. The environment is carefully prepared by the teacher to be inviting, comforting and engaging to the child. Children choose their own work from the self-correcting materials displayed on open shelves. The teacher gives small group and individual lessons to children based on their choice of work and her observation of their needs. The children gather daily as a community to enjoy music and movement both indoors and outdoors.
The primary curriculum is divided into three basic areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, and Intellectual.
In the Practical Life area, children are engaged in activities designed to help them learn to: care for themselves (dressing), care for their environment (food preparation, sweeping, cutting, pouring, care of plants, use of tools), and begin to develop skills in social customs (greeting, apologizing, interrupting). The other benefits of these activities are: concentration, performing tasks in a logical sequence, control of movement, independence, order, respect, responsibility, and resourcefulness.
The Sensorial Area helps children order and classify the impressions received by their senses. These include activities for tasting, smelling, hearing, visual perception, and touch. The outdoor areas are used daily for the development of large muscles and coordination.
The Intellectual Area includes math, language, science, history, geography, botany, zoology, art, and music. It is important to note that a Montessori’s primary program includes kindergarten. It is expected that children remain at UVMS for the full developmental program to benefit from the cumulative effects of this educational method. The child who completes this primary program (at least three years, depending on the child’s birth date) has developed the self-confidence, motivation, and sense of direction that distinguish children who have a passion for learning.