Primary Level – Early Childhood Education In St Louis

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Relocation decisions are suspended presently.

School will not be in session during the 2014-2015 school year.

Thank you.

Early Childhood Education: Des Peres Montessori, St Louis

The Child is both a hope and a promise for mankind. - Maria Montessori

The Absorbent Mind – The Concrete phase “Help Me To Help Myself”

Primary Level (Ages 2-6)

Human development and early childhood education is characterized by a series of rebirths from birth to maturity. Each of these series or planes of development is a sequence of six years with its accompanying support of sensitive periods, human tendencies, needs and characteristic learning processes. Program, scope and environment organize to correspond and support said processes. Birth to six years of age is in the first plane of development.

First Plane of Development: The Montessori Method

The Absorbent Mind—an unconscious process absorbing environment as a whole. It is the concrete sensorial plane

The Line of Progression represents the ascent and peak of sensitive periods

The Line of Regression represents the acquisitive period or periods of acquisition

Sensitive periods represent heightened sensitivity for particular behaviors patterns, abilities, activities and toward specific aspects of the environment


Characteristic Processes

Sensitive Periods represent heightened sensitivity for

  • Orientation
  • Order
  • Movement
  • Adaptation
  • Practical life exercises
  • Language acquisition
  • Concrete concepts
  • Sensory learning
  • Refinement of senses
  • Sensitivity to small objects and details
  • Grace and courtesy

Human Needs and Tendencies demonstrate a child’s inclination toward

  • Self-construction, movement, exploration and orientation of both indoors and outdoors within the natural world
  • Adaptation
  • A love of work in particular household and practical life work
  • Order, repetition, precision, refinement and sensorial discrimination
  • Language absorption
  • Concrete concept building
  • Freedom and independence

Abilities for

  • acquisition of gross and fine motor skills
  • Perceptual development and its refinements
  • Language absorption and acquisition at various levels of communication, reading and writing
  • Mathematical relationships, concepts and operations


  • A prepared and operative indoor and outdoor environment where children work with freedom
  • Uninterrupted cycles of work
  • The ability to work without intervention
  • A trained director with built in opportunities for observation and transformation

The Primary Program

Whole curriculum in whole and prepared environments, seamless indoor and outdoor, for ages two through six advance the classic areas of development—practical life, sensorial, mathematics, language development and movement exercises.

Lessons are introduced individually and as the year progresses, the environment evolves as a lively community of younger and older children caring for themselves and each other. They become caretakers of their environments, both indoor and out, communicating, sharing and in time reading, writing and operating. The children become their own stewards working hard, assuming ownership and responsibilities throughout the day.


Practical Life Exercises Development of concentration, order, refinement of gross and fine motor skills and most importantly independence

  • Care of the self
  • Care of the environment
  • Exercises of grace and courtesy

Sensorial Exercises Direct and concrete sensorial experiences for the development of perception, their refinements, and discrimination

  • Sense of sight (ophthalmic)
  • Sense of touch and grasp (tactile and stereo-gnostic)
  • Sense of taste (gustatory)
  • Sense of smell (olfactory)
  • Sense of hearing (auditory)

Each area is developed systematically with exactness and precision.

Primary Mathematics: Early Childhood EducationMathematics A large body of work exploring and offering concrete concepts in numbers

  • Their relationships in size, units of occurrence, place value or hierarchy of numbers
  • Units, tens, hundreds, thousands and millions when able
  • Reading and writing of numbers both simple and complex
  • Facts and operations

Work begins at the sensorial level during the early years, progressing to complex and abstract levels during the later primary years.

Language Development Another large body of work developing the auditory and graphic aspects of language

  • Reading mechanics and comprehension—phonics, phonograms, word attack and functions of words
  • Vocabulary—non-scientific and scientific

This area introduces children to concepts in botany, zoology, geography, geometry and history—the cultural subjects. With an adequate and timely foundation in the primary level, absent any learning difficulties, the program can well focus on reading writing and arithmetic during the kindergarten or later years of primary/early childhood education in the Montessori program.

Movement Exercises Eurhythmics, walking on the line, tumbling and balance beams are used for the development of physical coordination, balance and general posture, calm and poise.

Extra Curricular Programs with Specialists

  • Music and Spanish (second language)
  • Color and crafts.

These programs are integrated into the body of the Montessori program by respected specialists. Music education includes vocal music, music appreciation, introduction to rhythm instruments, orchestra family, metallophones, composers and composition.

Annual visits and presentations enhance and enrich the children’s world.

  • The Audubon Society – Butterflies and their variety
  • St Louis Recorder Society – Additional musical instrument experiences
  • Native American – Presenting native stories, dances and artifacts
  • Folk Musicians and others as available

Field Trips Approximately two to three field trips per year take the children to a Powell Symphony Kinder Concert, pumpkin picking, apple picking, Butterfly House, Botanical Garden or others.



Outdoor work The multitude of outdoor work in the native gardens (the butterfly patch, flower and bulb garden, prairie and woodland trail) enrich and expand their world of development and growth.

The Primary Environments

The Primary level environments at Des Peres Montessori are neat, clean, organized and prepared.

The Des Peres Montessori environment is seamless, integrated, prepared and operative. Indoor and outdoor areas offer a whole space for the whole child. Recalling that children are self constructive and learn from working, rendering environments whole, seamless and operative maximize possibilities of Montessori.

Indoor Environments – Classrooms, Hallways and Large Assembly Spaces

Spaces are fluid and radiating, from classrooms to hallways to large assembly areas, allowing children to move with freedom and ease.

The classroom is the home room, prepared with the full compliment of materials for development—didactic materials. Adequate space and low shelves permit the children to operate with freedom and independence as available.

The hallways meet the needs of large and long pieces of work.

Large assembly spaces transform into spaces for music enrichment, second language, food preparation and various movement exercises. They are also used for in-house presentations.

  • The Audubon Society
  • The St. Louis Recorder Society
  • The Native American presentation
  • Folk musician and storytellers

Large spaces also serve various after school activities, including ceramic painting, woodworking, basket weaving, Tai Chi and Science Center presentations.

Outdoor Environments

The outdoors is commonly the children’s playground. In Montessori, the outdoors is also an operative, working area, being part of the child’s real and immediate world. We must know our world in order to care. The greater our familiarity, the greater our affections for this world. During the first phase of development, children are driven to know their world. Concrete, sensorial and whole impressions are absorbed forming foundations for later years. 

from Maria Montessori’s importance of the outdoor environment

Operative Outdoor Environments

  • Natural outdoor environment for children to shape
  • Native garden and beddings – Butterfly patch, Prairie and Bulb garden
  • Summer and Winter vegetable gardens
  • A woodland trail for walks and tranquil settings

Prepared Playgound Areas

  • Soft-surface playground with swings, play units and climbers
  • Field for free play and after school soccer
  • Hard surface playground – mazes, circles and other for use during wet weather
  • Sandboxes

A Typical Day at Des Peres Montessori

Early Childhood Education at The Primary Level

A typical day at Des Peres Montessori is a hub of activities. Work is the children’s play and thrill as they wash, clean, polish, water, word build, write, read, color, paint, mold, construct, explore and more. Most important, their own work and the work of the whole group inform each child. The sum of the whole is greater than the parts.


On rugs and out in hallways a primary child builds words, another practices sounds, discovering the mysteries of words. They compose tens, twenties, and thirties. Yet another counts the one thousand chain, discovering the magic of numbers. A child washes a table or even a plant. A painter is at the easel. Beside him you may find a student adding, subtracting or even multiplying with concrete materials.

Drawing, pricking, metal insets and painting maps are among the favorite activities. They discover the parts of a leaf or a frog. The more experienced primary children discuss the names of landforms and waterforms. And amidst these moments of magic and wonder, a note, a melody and then a song is heard. They remember melodies from music classes.

Their senses awaken in the woods and fields with bugs, butterflies and dandelions. They experience birds, flowers, seeds, dirt and rain. They plant, water and watch seeds become plants—they steward. They run, hop, jump and tumble. They remember movement classes and balance beams. Their hearts open and they embrace the world—each child’s breadth of absorption and experience influenced by their years of experience in Montessori.

It is our thrill to watch them evolve and transform naturally and uniquely. Welcome to early childhood education, primary level, at Des Peres Montessori.

For additional information about choosing a Montessori early childhood education for your child, please contact us here to arrange an appointment at your convenience.