The Cycle 1 Primary classroom caters for children aged 5-6 years of age. Children in Cycle 1 are in the developmental phase Maria Montessori called the age of ‘The Absorbent Mind’. Cycle 1 children commonly ask ‘What?” and this therefore directs the learning activities developed for children aged 3-6 years. Materials are a key component in the Cycle 1 Montessori classroom as the path to learning is through the use of the hands. The curriculum and methodology builds on the knowledge and skills established in the pre school class. However you will notice some differences in the Cycle 1 Primary Class. Students’ learning becomes more structured as they develop the foundation skills required in the literacy and numeracy curriculum.
Classroom structures and learning programs provide students with the opportunity to:
- Develop skills in time management and negotiation
- Meet work requirements through the use of work plans whilst still maintaining flexibility in choice
- Repeat activities, as required, until mastery ensures success for the next level
- Develop at their own rate
Cultural Studies related to the real world
Students are engaged in many hands-on activities to provide them with the keys to the world about them. Activities are designed to excite the child’s interest and enthuse the child to explore further.
Class Routines & Expectations
The Cycle 1 classroom begins each day with a short group time to welcome the children and to outline the plan for the day. Students then participate in a sustained three hour period of learning. In this time children in Cycle 1 work predominately in individual and small group self-selected and teacher-negotiated activities. A large emphasis is placed on developing early literacy and numeracy skills. The Montessori Curriculum provides an excellent hands-on structured program for students to develop their core learning. The morning work period also allows for the young students to move between different types of activities. This provides for students who need to vary the kind of work in which they are engaged, thus catering for their individual needs for physical movement, development of attention span and motor skills. Students are encouraged to develop their time management skills from this early age. Children are encouraged to maintain a record of the work they have completed while the class teacher also ensures accurate records are kept. Afternoons focus on group activities including time for developing relaxation skills, language experiences such as Show & Tell and visiting the library, and also Physical Education, Art, Music and Cultural Lessons. When Montessori discussed freedom, she invariably mentioned its relationship to responsibility and self discipline. We need freedom to exercise responsibility; we need the ability to be responsible before we can be truly free. In order for children to build such self-discipline, adults must be firm, fair and consistent in setting limits from the child’s earliest years onward. Polk Lillard, P; Montessori Today p 23
In Cycle 1 the children work independently in a safe and calm environment. We ensure that transition from pre-school occurs smoothly and gradually with children introduced to the core subjects relevant for their stage of development. An important part of Cycle 1 is for children to develop a work ethic with allowances for free choice. This is direct preparation for Cycle 2.