Primary Curriculum

Ages 3 to 6

Castle Island Bilingual Montessori’s Early Childhood Curriculum for children ages 3 to 6 includes English and Spanish Language Arts, Math, Practical Life, Sensorial Understanding, Cultural, History, Computer, Art, Music and Physical Education. We call this program: Primary. All materials and activities increase in difficulty and form the foundation needed for the next level.  In addition, our curriculum abides by the Guiding Principles For The Development Of The New York State Prekindergarten Foundation To The Common Core including its five domains: Approaches to Learning; Physical Development and Health; Social and Emotional Development; Communication, Language and Literacy; and Cognition and Knowledge of the World. Our curriculum meets the Common Core State Standards as described below by introducing and practicing language and math concepts and skills using dynamic presentations and hands-on materials.


English/Spanish Immersion

For each area of study described in our curriculum overview, a lead teacher who is proficient in English provides the lesson presentations and guides the students’ practice with new knowledge and skills.  In addition to these lessons and practice, an assistant teacher who is proficient in Spanish also offers these same lessons to the students in Spanish.  In this way, our curriculum meets and exceeds the NYS Learning Standards in Languages Other Than English and meets our own goals for students learning in that they become bi-literate and proficient speakers of two languages.


Language Arts

Our curriculum meets and exceeds the standards determined by the Common Core Learning Standards described below by introducing and practicing language concepts and skills using dynamic presentations and hands-on materials. Children are learning language long before entering the Montessori classroom. By using their senses as tools, children absorb information about their language. Here, children prepare themselves during their first two years (ages 3 and 4) for language study by working in the practical life and sensorial areas with materials that refine: auditory, oral, visual, sensory, and fine motor skills which are necessary for writing and readying in the kindergarten year (age 5).


Language spans every other area as an integrated source of preparation for a well-planned approach to further learning. Our Montessori classroom environment provides rich and precise language personalized to each individual child. Teachers’ presentations demonstrate to children through stories how language is vital to human existence.  A phonics-based approach is used for reading.  Each area in language has activities that emphasize beginning, middle and ending sounds, word building and reading words. Handwriting is an integrated feature of the language area and children learn to write as they are learning the sounds. The children at their own pace pursue each of the separate skills involved in the mastery of reading and writing.


Language Presentations


Preschool (age 3)

  • Auditory preparation – conversation with children through story telling (sequencing), poetry (rhymes and finger plays), auditory discrimination listening skills (identifying sounds), listening comprehension

  • Visual preparation – recognizing patterns matching and sorting


Preschool and Prekindergarten (ages 3 and 4)

  • Motor preparation – eye to hand co-ordination, and handwriting

  • Analysis phonogram (phonemes) and sound blends

  • Reading on Word Level  – phonics, reading in context


Preschool, Prekindergarten and Kindergarten (ages 3 to 5)

  • Logical Agreement and Correct expressions – colors/objects, Body/Objects, Masculine/Feminine, Singular/Plural etc.

  • Correct expression – Vocabulary of objects, attributes, and actions – Formal and Informal discussion for social interaction, information and literary response

  • Study of Words – Synonyms, Antonyms, homonyms, homographs etc.

  • Preparation for Composition and Punctuation


Kindergarten extension presentations (age 5)

  • The Function of Words – Noun, Article, Adjective, Conjunction, Preposition, Verb, Adverb, Pronoun and Interjection



Our curriculum meets and exceeds the standards determined by the Common Core Learning Standards described below by introducing and practicing mathematics concepts and skills using dynamic presentations and hands-on materials. Dr. Maria Montessori proposed that logical thought stems from the human mind’s ability to organize and categorize. The aim of the math curriculum at the this preschool through kindergarten level is to help students develop their thought processes, not to simply teach math facts at an early age. With hands-on materials, students begin to understand the concrete through manipulation, experimentation, and invention, which prepares them for abstract study at the elementary level. Our Math Curriculum follows a sequential order in the different areas of study described in the Common Core.


The materials help the child learn and understand mathematical concepts by working with materials hands on. This work provides the child with a solid foundation for traditional mathematical principles, providing a structured scope for abstract reasoning. Children first learn to associate each numerical symbol with proper quantity. The child progresses one step a time, leading to an abstract way of learning. The materials themselves contain the pattern for presentation as well as understanding. The sequence for presentation and learning is:


Numbers 0-10 Goals

Establish numbers one to ten. Understand quantity and sequence of numbers using manipulatives. Establish recognition of numerical symbols. Learn relationship of quantity to symbol.


  • Number rods and cards

  • Set baskets

  • Spindle boxes

  • Sandpaper numbers

  • Cards and counters


Decimal System Goals

Understand the concept of base ten. Learn composition of numbers, including place value and equivalencies.


  • Introduction tray

  • Tray of nine

  • Golden Bead (or 45) layout

  • Bead and numeral layout

  • Number fetching

  • Bank game


Numbers 11-99 Goals

Ability to recognize teens and tens.


  • Bead stair

  • Teens board

  • Tens board (or 45) layout


Linear Counting Goals

Develop ability to recognize and count to any number. Learn skip counting.


  • Hundred board

  • 100 (square) chains

  • 1000 (cube) chains (or 45) layout


Operations Goal

Provide a concrete introduction to the four basic arithmetic operations. Moves into abstract work with operations.


  • Golden Beads

  • Stamp Game

  • Bead Board

  • Bead Frame


Continued Operations/Passage to Abstraction

  • Snake game (addition strip board, addition charts)

  • Bead bars (multiplication boards, multiplication charts)

  • Negative snake game (subtraction strip board, subtraction charts)

  • Names (wholes-ninths)

  • Denominations



  • Geometric solids

  • Geometry cabinet

  • Regular polygons

  • Quadrilaterals

  • Triangles

  • Circles

  • Curved figures


Pre-school (age 3)

  • Numeration counting and recognition of numbers 1-10


Pre-kindergarten (age 4)

  • The decimal system: introduction of place values and understanding the concept of 10.

  • Linear counting: visual recognition of 1 – 1,000 teens, numeration by tens, and 100 identification counting with materials.

  • Introduction to four operations of the golden beads of the Decimal System: units, tens, hundreds, thousands used in addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division.

  • Abstraction: After manipulating with the golden beads the child now works with the symbolic value of the stamp game.


Kindergarten (age 5)

  • Memorization: actual memorization of the complete tables does not begin until the elementary level; these activities are intended to provide exploration of numbers/quantities while also providing numerous opportunities for repetition and engaging the memory.

  • Concept of Fractions is introduced using sensorial materials and then gradually works towards abstraction.


The presentation follows:

  • Definition of the names of the Fractional Families

  • Concept of numerator and denominator

  • Names of each family

  • Commands

  • Concept of Proper and Improper and Mixed fractions


Kindergarten extension presentations and learning (age 5)

Hierarchical Materials – The concept of the Four Mathematical operations are enforced on the child in a very abstract way.


The presentations are as follows:

  • Big Bank Game

  • Large Bead Frame

  • Checker Board

  • Multiples of Numbers

  • Divisibility using the Peg Board

  • Prime Factors

  • Long Division with the Test Tubes


Foundations and Extensions for Language Arts and Math For areas of study other than ELA and math to which our curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards, the Castle Island Bilingual Montessori Curriculum is aligned with the NYS Learning Standards.  The lesson presentations, skills practice, and cognitive development in our classrooms for the following areas of study: the arts; career development/occupational studies; health, physical education, and family and consumer sciences; languages other than English (ie. Spanish); science and technology education; and, social studies, are carried out in the Montessori curriculum areas of Sensorial Work, Practical Life and Culturals.


Through dynamic lesson presentations and student exploration of meaningful work and self-directed discovery, our students ages 3 to 6 in grades pre-school/nursery, prekindergarten and kindergarten meet the NYS Learning Standards described below. The following three curriculum areas are presented to our students as both foundations and extensions for English Language Arts and Mathematics.  Through introduction and practice with work in these areas of study: Sensorial Work, Practical Life, and Culturals, students develop concentration skills in self-direction and interdisciplinary connections.  Lessons in these areas of study both prepare students for continued work in language and math studies; as well as provide a deeper study of the basic skills in language (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and math concepts as they are applied to science, social studies, the arts, occupational and technological studies, health, physical education, and family and consumer sciences.


Practical Life

Practical Life exercises instill care for self, for others, and for the environment. Activities include many of the tasks children see as part of the daily routine in their home, such as preparing food and washing dishes, along with exercises of grace and courtesy. Through these and other activities, children develop muscular coordination, enabling movement and the exploration of their surroundings. They learn to work at a task from beginning to the end, and develop their will (defined by Dr. Montessori as the intelligent direction of movement), their self-discipline and their capacity for total concentration.


The Practical Life curriculum is the cornerstone of the Montessori method. Its goals span the three-year age cycle, providing practical experience in everyday activities. These activities not only teach physical skills, but also prepare the children for subsequent or concurrent work in mathematics, language, and socialization. The necessity of making choices and using coordinated movements to accomplish a task leads the child toward self-regulation and independence. The ultimate lesson, however, is concentration; without it, nothing else is possible.


Pre-school, Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten (ages 3 to 5)


Physical Skills:

  • Elementary movements

  • Pulling out a chair, carrying a tray

  • Gross and fine motor skills

  • Use of activities that promote concentration, coordination, independence, and order


Respect and care of environment:

  • Indoor and outdoor

  • Recycling


Grace, courtesy, and etiquette:

  • Caring about others

  • Problem solving

  • Conflict resolution

  • Peace table



  • Care of person

  • Health and safety

  • Nutrition and food preparation


Service Learning & Community Service

We believe that service beyond the classroom promotes respect and awareness beyond our global community. All elementary students participate in school-wide projects.


  • Developing an awareness of needs of others

  • Participating in several service projects throughout the school year


Sensorial Work

The Sensorial Curriculum is the key to knowledge in the Montessori classroom. It builds on the foundation of the Practical Life Curriculum and prepares the way for children to progress into academic work through development of observation and problem-solving skills. Sensorial materials are tools for development. Children build cognitive efficacy and learn to order and classify impressions. They do this by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, and exploring the physical properties of their environment through the mediation of specially-designed materials. The sensorial materials are designed to develop and refine skills that help young children learn how to think, reason, make distinctions, make judgements and decisions, observe, compare, and better appreciate their world. This is the beginning of conscious knowledge. Students learn to distinguish and differentiate physical properties through the following presentations and practice:


Pre-school, Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten (ages 3 to 5)

  • Visual Sense (color, size, shape, gradation)

  • Tactile Sense (texture, weight, temperature)

  • Auditory Sense (sound)

  • Gustatory Sense (taste)

  • Olfactory learning (learning through smell)

  • Chromatic Sense (color)


Kindergarten (age 5)

  • Perception of Form – Geometry (Geometric shapes, Binomial cube, Trinomial cube)

  • Culturals: Art, Music, Geography, History, Botany and Zoology



Pre-school, Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten (ages 3 to 5)

Art and Music is presented as extensions of the sensorial and language activities. Children learn about people and cultures in other countries with an attitude of respect and admiration. Through familiarity, children come to feel connected to the global human family. Lessons and experiences with nature inspire respect for all life. The comprehensive art and music programs give children every opportunity to enjoy a variety of creative activities, as well as gain knowledge of the great masters. Geography and the globe model of our earth is taught in depth, naming the continents and countries. The flags of different country are introduced and the children are encouraged to learn about maps of the world.


History is presented to the children through art and intelligent music program.


Botany and Zoology are taught with hands-on activity and in addition to the work on the shelves the children have organized time outdoors to study nature. An adjacent and fenced green space helps children to learn the importance of caring for their environment.

Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.


— Dr. Maria Montessori

© 2020 Castle Island Bilingual Montessori

Castle Island Bilingual Montessori is an independent school and does not discriminate in our enrollment policies on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, nation or ethnic origin.