The Four Areas in a Primary Montessori Classroom

The Four Areas in a Primary Montessori Classroom

A Primary Montessori classroom is abuzz with activity everyday.  Children, in mixed age groups, discover and engage with materials in four specific areas within the environment: Language, Mathematics, Practical Life, and Sensorial.


The Language area allows a child to explore the sounds of the alphabet, writing, and the written word.  Children begin with lessons that focus on vocabulary enrichment and they play games to identify the sounds in words. Once the child has practiced identifying the initial sounds in words, we introduce the symbol via the sandpaper letters. We continue on to final and medial sounds in words until the child can identify all the sounds. Then the moveable alphabet is presented as a way for the child to write without pencil and paper.  

The language curriculum continues with the introduction of phonetic words, words with phonograms, and puzzle words. The students also practice grammar, handwriting, sentence analysis, and word study.


The Math curriculum starts with the child counting to 10. Once the child is able to count by rote; count objects up to 10; and recognize numbers 0-10, the decimal system is introduced. After many games with quantities and symbols, the child is introduced to the four basic operations with the golden bead material. The operations are presented in a sensorial way and as the child progresses through the curriculum, the work becomes more abstract. While learning the decimal system, the students continue counting activities including: teens, tens, as well as linear and skip counting.

Practical Life

In the Practical Life area of the classroom, work focuses on basic skills in our everyday lives such as buttoning a sweater, dusting a shelf, preparing a meal, and washing a table.  Preliminary activities isolate a specific skill such as pouring and how to carry a tray with something on it. Care of Self activities focus on skills to help the child gain independence. Examples are hand washing and unpacking a tote bag.  Care of the Environment activities allow the child to take ownership of the classroom for example cleaning up a spill. 


The Sensorial area of the environment focuses on refining the senses with specific activities for each.  Some examples of work in this area are: matching color tiles to objects in the environment, grading cubes from the biggest to the smallest or rods from the shortest to longest, and matching fabrics blindfolded.   Children explore their senses with many of the activities in the Sensorial area. While some of the activities require a blindfold, children soon discover that they can use a blindfold for other activities to challenge how well they know a material.