Lower Primary Curriculum

The lower primary program at the Libra House Montessori School follows the structure and guidelines created by Dr. Maria Montessori. Subject content is introduced to children based on their individual readiness. All children are expected to complete the full course of study in each area, at their own pace.


Mathematics in a Montessori classroom places emphasis on a child’s natural curiosity about numbers and quantity. Students learn math concepts by actively engaging with designed Montessori materials, which help them explore their interests in a concrete manner. Concepts studied in the lower primary program include:

• Addition and subtraction of whole numbers, with regrouping, to the millions
• Multiplication of whole numbers with up to a 2-digit multiplier, and products in the millions
• Division of whole numbers with dividends in the millions, 2-digit divisors, and with remainders
• Multiples and factors
• Problem solving
• Fractions – equivalence, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing
• Geometry – properties of shapes and solids, lines, planes, and angles.

Many elements of mathematics, such as graphing, measuring, timelines, clocks and calendars, are integrated with other subjects.

Language Arts

The Montessori language arts program deeply immerses students in the world of reading and writing, through the exploration of written language, including its history, penmanship, grammar, spelling, word study, literary elements, and literary genres. Self-correcting Montessori materials are used to teach students about the structure of the written language and parts of speech. Students are exposed to a wide variety of literature and print materials, which guide them as they build their reading, research and creative writing skills. Reading skills are further developed through practice with leveled reading materials, and oral reading activities. A combination of phonics-based instruction and whole language activities is utilized to meet the individual needs of each student.

Physical and Cultural Geography

Through the study of geography, students in the lower primary class gain an appreciation of the world’s beauty, its fragile ecosystems, and the interdependence of its people. This involves studying not only the earth, but also people and other living things that inhabit the earth.

In cultural geography, students learn about specific people and places of various regions of the earth.  Students will explore the earth’s cultural environment by learning about:

• Social geography – the study of how cultural traits affect the natural environment

• Economic geography – the study of resources and industries of particular locations

• Political geography – the study of government

• Population geography – the study of the number and distribution of people in particular areas

• Urban geography – the study of cities and human settlement and their impact on the landscape

In physical geography, the environment and geological processes are uncovered through activities focusing on:

• Geomorphology – the study of landforms and how they evolve through processes such as erosion

• Biogeography – the study of the earth’s ecosystems, and the distribution and relationship of plants and animals throughout the world

• Climatology – the study of weather patterns in different regions of the earth


Exploring the natural sciences is particularly important for children as it helps establish and reinforce their connection to the natural world they live in. Botany, the scientific study of plants, as well as the associated topic of microscopic study, are explored in the lower primary classroom by providing opportunities to become immersed in the plant world, and to understand the connections between plants and the rest of the world. Botany activities focus specifically on:

• Plant parts and classification

• Plant care

• Conducting experiments with plants using the scientific method

• Human uses for plants


Young children are particularly fascinated by the natural world around them. By frequently observing living things in the outside world, Montessori students are encouraged to develop a lifelong appreciation of the wonders of nature.  The study of zoology in the lower primary Montessori classroom focuses primarily on:

• Animal anatomy

• Basic classification of animals

• Adaptation of animals to a variety of habitats

As with most subjects in the Montessori curriculum, the study of zoology is interwoven with other subjects, such as history, and the Five Great Lessons.

Matter and Astronomy

The study of matter and astronomy deals with the extremes of our physical world, from the particles that make up atoms to the vast collection of particles that make up the planets, stars, and other matter in the universe. Chemistry is also included in this area of the curriculum, as well as practicing the scientific method. As atoms and planets are difficult to tangibly study in the classroom, much of our classwork involves the use of models, charts, and diagrams, as well as experimentation with matter, energy, and chemical elements. Matter and astronomy activities cover:

• Atoms and atomic weight

• Molecules

• Chemical elements – periodic table

• States of matter

• Properties of Matter

• Energy – forces, magnetism, and electricity

• Life cycle of stars

• Solar system – planet size and composition

• Relationship between the earth and the sun – orbits, seasons, eclipses


Studying history provides lower primary students with a wealth of fascinating information about the world, which nourishes their natural curiosity about what has taken place in the past. As children aged 6-9 years become ready to move toward abstract thinking, they are able to make connections between their own experiences and those that have taken place before them, and become curious about how and why things happened. The curriculum for history addresses the concept of time – reading time on clocks, and interpreting dates, days, weeks, months, and years on calendars, and making and viewing timelines. From there, the stage is set for students to explore the history of earth, specifically:


• The age of the universe and earth

• Timelines of life and people on earth – eras

• Common needs of people throughout time

• World civilizations – ancient to modern


Cosmic Education and Peace

Cosmic education is an overall approach to education that involves helping students develop an awareness that everything in the universe is connected and interdependent, and forms a harmonious whole.  Students learn that they are a part of, and contribute to that whole. In the study of peace, students learn that relationships between individuals, communities, cultures, and the environment must all be put on a peaceful path in order to solve the problems facing our world today. Activities and attitudes regarding cosmic education and peace permeate the entire education experience in the lower primary Montessori program, but are particularly focused on the following:


• Inspiring awe at the size of the universe and the amazing processes the earth has undergone from its formation to the present time – this takes place during the telling of the Five Great Lessons

• Connecting everyday objects around us with their origins, history, and technology

• Examining the world outdoors to observe the wonders and beauty of nature

• Promoting peaceful conflict resolution strategies with peers

• Learning about the 4 Stages of Awareness – Self Awareness, Community Awareness, Cultural Awareness, and Environmental Awareness, by engaging in a variety of activities

Five Great Lessons


The Five Great Lessons are unique to the Montessori curriculum. As primary aged children are increasingly curious about the world around them, they begin to ask such questions as, “How did the world get here?” and “Why are humans here?” The Five Great Lessons are a series of stories told to students that give an overall impression of the grand topics of the universe, the earth, and life on earth, and spark their curiosity and appreciation of the world around them.  After hearing the stories, students are keen to explore various topics of study, particularly history, biology, zoology, astronomy and geography.

Advanced Practical Life

Maria Montessori believed that children need ample and interesting opportunities to learn to control their own movements, care for themselves and others, and practice grace and courtesy. Practical Life activities in the lower primary classroom are designed for students to practice skills that will benefit their work in other curricular areas, and can also be used throughout life. Activities, such as crafting, food preparation, and plant care, help students develop skills in the following areas:


• Expanding concentration

• Following step-by-step instructions

• Improving memory and perception skills

• Paying attention to detail

• Improving fine motor skills

• Gaining independence

• Practicing grace and courtesy

• Developing self-esteem

• Feeling pride in a job well done

Visual Arts

The purpose of the lower primary visual arts curriculum is to inspire the imagination and creativity of children, and support the ongoing development of their artistic abilities. Students learn that people create art for a variety of reasons, such as to leave behind one’s mark on the world, convey their culture, make a statement, for the joy of exercising their creativity, and for the benefits that come with healthy self-expression. Art activities are offered to students covering the topics of:


• Art history, major art movements, and famous artists

• Understanding of the various art materials and their correct use – paint, pencils, etc.

• Elements of color, line, shape, proportion, light, shade, and perspective

• Examples of art and art forms from different cultures



Children love to hear and make music, to clap and move to it, and to play instruments. Positive exposure to music enhances a child’s development intellectually and creatively, and can relieve anxiety and stress. Students are exposed to a wide variety of music from many cultures throughout the day, and music is integrated with movement and visual art activities. Several prepared music activities allow students to explore their musical interests, such as a listening station, materials and activities about famous composers and musical artists, and instruments. A music specialist visits our lower school classroom once a week for instruction in:


• Choral music

• Percussion instruments

• Elements of music such as beat, rhythm, tempo, melody, harmony, pitch, notes, and tone

Health Sciences and Physical Education


A healthy mind, body, and spirit are essential elements for human progress and development. The goals of the lower primary health sciences and physical education curriculum are for students to understand the components of a healthy lifestyle and to spark interest in the sciences of food and life, as well as the knowledge of self. Students learn that positive self-image, healthy food choices, and regular physical activity will benefit all areas of their lives. Topics of study include:


• Self-image and self-esteem

• Senses

• The five major systems of the body – nervous system, skeletal system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and digestive system

• Nutrition

• Physical education – movement and coordination


Our class is visited once a week by a physical education specialist in areas such as yoga and dance. The class participates in one other activity per week involving movement and coordination.




The lower primary class is visited twice weekly by a French language instructor. The goals of the French program in the lower primary are to provide students with the foundations for learning another language, and to take advantage of the many benefits that foreign language learning has for children. With the instructor, students are introduced to common words and phrases, as well as French culture, which are then reinforced in the regular classroom. Individual prepared activities are also provided for students to practice French outside the normal French instructional time.