What better way to learn than to dive in with all five senses into God’s Word with your preschooler?
As a mom of three young girls, I started Montessori homeschool when my oldest was two years old. After over two years of reading, studying, taking online classes, and practicing Montessori in my own home, I created the first year of primary curriculum for other homeschooling families to use!
Montessori education is brilliant. It focuses on guiding your child to explore and master her God-given, inherent ability to learn. There is no such thing as “inserting information” into a child. We can’t just access our children’s brains, input information, and expect them to learn anything. Children learn by doing, and they learn best by doing themselves.
So, as Montessori homeschool guides, we set up the environment for rich learning experiences (all hands-on), we model how to use the materials within the environment, and then we allow freedom within limits.
In a Montessori homeschool environment, the environment is most important. This includes the physical environment, the intellectual environment, as well as the spiritual environment. You are never going to truly teach the love of Jesus without acting like Jesus. You are never going to encourage your child to grow in her faith without growing in faith yourself. Modeling is so important. Order throughout the home and within your learning space is so important. Routine and structure are so important. Daily surrendering to Jesus is the only way I have found any of the above to work at all.
There is so much to be learned about the Montessori philosophy of education. Dr. Montessori created a series of manipulatives for each subject area, and there are even step-by-step ways to present the materials in a specific order to a child for proper learning. Many, many homeschoolers give up on Montessori because of the extensive learning curve.
My goal with this curriculum is to help homeschoolers leap over the learning curve and dive directly into implementing Montessori at home with a step-by-step guide.
While “Montessori” education can be done with fewer materials than I suggest in this curriculum, I highly recommend purchasing or making all of the materials, or as many as your budget and time allow.
Now, if you have done some research on Montessori or have any experience with Montessori schooling, you may know that one of the core philosophies of Montessori education means that you do not follow a curriculum. Instead, you follow the child. Unfortunately, for most of “us” (homeschoolers), with little experience observing children this way and little to no knowledge of what to “look for” in order to know which lessons your child is ready for, this advice is unfruitful. I didn’t know the first thing about “following the child” when I first started in my parenting/homeschooling journey. There was no way I could “do” Montessori properly without following the child, so I felt helpless. That’s when I started reading more and taking classes to learn this mystery.
I wish someone had told me to just get started. Better yet, I wish I had someone who told me exactly what to do to get started. Because the more I did, the more I learned, and now I am getting better at following my child. But, without a core or background or starting line, I was left wavering in the wind, blowing in this direction and that, paralyzed in my attempts to start school. I was stuck “learning” in my research, readings, and classes, instead of flourishing alongside my child as we learned together. That is what this program is for: learning together with your child. Hitting the ground running, and learning as you go. I wish I had this when I started.
1. Rooted in the Bible, Adapted for Little Hands
Whether you choose to work at your dining room table, in a full classroom, or in a more Montessori-style environment where the activities are set up on trays and placed on shelves, this curriculum will fit seamlessly into your home (or school). Each activity in every subject lends to the "tray" format, where you can choose to set out the work on a tray. The work can be displayed on a shelf or brought out at learning time. These are not "workbooks" and there are no "worksheets." Every activity requires manipulation and some sort of physical activity besides just writing.
Each month, there are 6 Bible learning tray activities with all printables and specific presentation instructions included. The learning trays correspond to the Bible story your child is learning to help it come to life and sink into the heart of your child so the Word will not depart from him. The Learning Tray Format means that you will prepare 3 trays with the printables and activities on them each week. You will present the lessons to your child and then invite your child to the work.
All of the other subjects covered are traditional Montessori lessons.
I encourage you to be patient with your child and to change course, when needed. Within the curriculum book are suggestions on how to tailor activities to your child's ability level - which is very important to not add unneeded stress to you or your child or to yourself.
2. A Full Montessori-Style Academic Curriculum
We cover a range of subjects every month in our curriculum. The preschool-aged child is in a unique stage of life where her vocabulary is exponentially increasing. By exposing our children to rich learning experiences at this age, we are giving our children the keys to the world - the language to describe, experience, and remember - forever. I had a hard time (and spent a very long time) figuring out how to "do Montessori" at home. There are so many things and so many subjects. Following manuals and setting up for learning took a ton of research. So, I knew I needed a concrete plan in a more traditional "lesson plan" format. That is what I follow, and that is what I offer you in this curriculum.
Each month, Bible, language, math, and sensorial activities are included in the curriculum. Within our Bible learning trays, you will encounter history, science, geography, sensorial, math, language, and practical life lessons, too! I walk you through from ground zero, starting with Month 1. You have the FREEDOM to move as quickly or as slowly as you'd like, but I have suggestions on what to present each month and week to get you through an entire Montessori 3-6 (primary) curriculum in three years. Yes, our preschool journey spans 3 years (which, in the U.S., is usually Pre-K3, Pre-K4, and Kindergarten.) If you only do one year, your child will learn so much! Just know you can go on if you desire. (*The curriculum for Year 1 is available now.)
We have two Bible components in this curriculum: 1. The Sensory Bible Devotional Cards and 2. The Bible Learning Trays.
One Bible story is covered every two weeks. Each set of Sensory Bible Devotional Cards has five pages, with each page telling one part of the Bible story. Every card has a little activity or sensory item that goes alongside it, a coloring page, a Scripture reference directing you to read the story from your real Bible first, a devotional text which includes the activity or sensory exploration prompt, and a simple prayer. There is one memory verse per story, and that is printed on the front card which makes the book cover, as well as on the back of each card for your reference. As a bonus, there are Memory Verse tracing sheets with large letters so your child can make a poster or book of Memory Verses.
You can choose to do one card per weekday for five days in a row and then review every day the following week, or you can do the Bible cards three days per week for two weeks, with the last day being a "review" day where your child gets to re-tell the story!
The Bible Learning Trays are unique to each story, and they translate a component of the story into a concrete learning activity that is hands-on. Here are some examples of our Bible learning trays!
Montessori Math is one of my favorite things. Coming from a math/science background myself, I didn't think I had much to learn in this area. I was wrong. Totally wrong. Montessori Math teaches children math in an extremely concrete way. I had no idea it was even possible to teach counting, adding, subtracting, squaring, cubing, algebraic equations, geometry, trigonometry, and more with concrete, physical, tangible materials. Crazy!
The goal of Montessori math is to give your child a sensorial experience of the language of mathematics before the age of 6 that can be built upon her entire life. God created children to identify and seek out order. We are helping them along to develop their mathematical minds by providing rich, hands-on, experiences with the mathematics materials. Further preparation for mathematics is inherent in the sensorial and practical life activities found in a Montessori homeschool environment.
In this Year 1 Curriculum, your child will be introduced to concrete representations of numbers 0-100, the symbols of numbers 0-100, adding small quantities, the concept of even and odd, and skip counting by tens. We introduce one math concept every other week, allowing your child time for exploration. This also leaves your schedule in math quite flexible, as you could and should wait until your child has mastered one concept before moving on to the next. You have complete freedom within the building mathematics curriculum, as long as you follow it in order and are waiting and ready to present the next concept when your child is ready.
If you have the budget, I suggest real Montessori math materials to purchase each month. Without the extra cash, you can DIY, sub with the provided printables, or, my favorite new option - use the Montessori Math Workbook - Primary Book 1. Whichever route you choose, your child will be receiving a very tactile math experience that translates later into a concrete knowledge of seemingly abstract math concepts.
Writing and Reading
We follow the Montessori approach to writing before reading, using the sense of touch to learn letter sounds and handwriting, using a movable alphabet (printable option provided!), teaching letter sounds instead of names, and strengthening the hand using coloring in shapes and various other fine motor activities.
Teaching your child to read is one of those barriers to being your child's teacher that really kicks some parents in the gut. Using this simple, relaxed, and game-oriented approach provided in the curriculum with step-by-step instructions will take that burden completely away. All you have to do is set aside some time to play with your child! You don't even have to sit at a desk or a table or make your child sit still! How wonderful is that?
We use letter grouping so your child can learn letter sounds in chunks, using games. Throughout this first year of primary, your child will be introduced to all 26 letter sounds plus 14 double letter sounds, for a total of 42 phonetic sounds. We do not go in order of the alphabet. We go in an order that offers easier visual distinction between letter sounds, as well as lending to the maximum amount of words that could be constructed.
The letter sounds are taught via games and touch. I go over this in greater detail within the curriculum pages, but here is the basic progression:
- “I Spy” sound game with the letter sound and miniature objects.
- Introduce sandpaper letter.
- Repeat with 3 more sounds.
- Once sounds are mastered with the “I Spy” games and sandpaper letters, you can introduce the other games for each sound group. These include: BINGO, letter-picture match games, "My Letter Sound Adventure" board game that allows practice for beginning, middle, and ending sounds, and more!
- Introduce the Beginning Sound Books and the Clip Cards.
- Offer for your child to build CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words with the movable alphabet.
- Offer beginning reader books!
This progression is the same for all sound groups. There are six sound groups covering the 26 letters in the alphabet. We next introduce 14 double-letter sounds similarly, but the games change slightly.
Montessori Sensorial Exercises
Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers need to use their senses to understand the world around them. This includes learning how objects are related (large/small/smaller; tall/short/shorter; think/thin/thinner; rough/smooth/smoother; quiet/loud/louder; soft/softer/softest, etc.).
I recommend Montessori Sensorial materials each month that can be incorporated into the curriculum. If your budget allows, I suggest purchasing authentic materials. If your budget does not allow, you can either skip that material or make your own DIY version! Most of the time there is a budget option to replace the authentic material. We only add one (sometimes two small) material each month in the sensorial area to give your child ample time to make discoveries and to help you budget for your homeschool in monthly increments.
Shapes and Art
The way we learn shapes in this curriculum is kind of a “Montessori Homeschool” hack. This first year of primary is a great year to have children solidify their knowledge of shapes. Montessori classrooms use a set of metal shape insets with 10 shapes to do two things: 1. Prepare the hand for writing, and 2. Learn the names and forms of shapes. These are a beautiful component of the Montessori classroom. We use the metal (or plastic) insets one at a time to teach shapes and provide a means to prepare the hand for writing.
You can set this activity up however you would like. You can have all of the insets available, choose one each month, or set one out at a time as a “growing” collection available to your child. I suggest you clear a space for your metal insets and introduce one at a time as you get to it each month. Once you are “done” with that shape, you can add it to the shelf that will eventually contain all of the metal insets.
Each month, you will introduce the listed shape and set up a tray containing paper (or a shape book), colored pencils, and the inset. You will also demonstrate how to use the inset with the colored pencils. This is a progression in and of itself, which prepares the hand for forming letters. We will also use the insets to practice art.
Lastly, there is a cutting and pasting activity that goes along with the shapes: strips of paper containing real images that match the shape your child is learning each month. She will have more opportunities to strengthen her fingers for writing by cutting and pasting the images into her shape book throughout the month.
3. A Step-by-Step Guide
You are not left alone when it comes to teaching your child using this curriculum and these methods! I have an extensive "teacher's guide" included with each activity.
You will know what supplies you will need, how to prepare each lesson, how to present each lesson step-by-step, how to troubleshoot any problems that arise when your child is working, and how to make the material more appropriate for your child's current abilities.
To help you have a guideline of what to do and when to do it, I also have broken down the lessons into monthly and biweekly guides. Depending on your child's learning style, you can adapt the lessons each month as you see fit.
This is a far stretch from your traditional Montessori teaching albums, that are separated by subject and extremely intimidating. You will have everything you need in one place, able to be kept on your computer or printed into a lovely workbook.
Oh, there are checklists galore, if you are a fan of those! There is even a checklist on everything you need to do to get completely ready for the month... I try not to leave anything out!
Lastly, I have made Presentation Cards for the Sensorial and Math materials. You can bind these cards on a ring and keep them handy while you present new lessons to your children. As homeschool parents and not as trained Montessori guides, we need the extra confidence of a prepared lesson without the hours of practice beforehand. These help us "give a lesson on the fly" with confidence.
I am homeschooling on a budget, and you probably are, too! It is way too easy to go overboard with supplies... so I have broken down the supply lists by subject and week. Most items will be used again and again, and many are also found in a typical craft cabinet. All printables are provided with your curriculum purchase.
When I suggest authentic Montessori materials to use, it is because of their value and utility. If you are unable to spend the money on the materials, I always try to give a budget-friendly DIY version and/or a printable version you can substitute! We only focus on 1-2 sensorial materials each month, and by introducing the materials in this manner, your child will get ample instruction (and give ample focus) to the specific material, and your initial investment will not be nearly as daunting to start out on your Montessori homeschool journey.
For most activities, I include extensions to further the learning. You may want to use these to "go further" with a learning tray, find a new way to use the Montessori materials, or make an activity easier or harder according to your child's ability.
These are helpful when working with multiple children in your home or classroom. These also give you many more ideas to make learning fun with games and play.
If a problem arises while your child is working, I have included solutions to common problems right inside your guide. If you have additional questions, you can always email me! I am present daily in my email to help you maximize your use of the materials and your Bible learning time with your child!
You should know...
We have the solution for you! Whether you are looking for a Core curriculum for your preschooler, you just want to supplement another preschool curriculum, or even if you want to teach the Bible at home since your child attends school elsewhere - we have you covered!
Our curriculum is a child-led curriculum, and I will always encourage you to "put the material away until tomorrow" if your child is not interested or becomes frustrated.
Our curriculum is not rigid; it is totally adaptable for the age and ability of your child!
There are no grades. Let your child learn at his or her own pace. Let your child satisfy his or her inner desire to learn and to work by providing age-appropriate, prepared materials.
How many green checks did you get?
How many red checks?
If you are leaning on the "green" side, I encourage you to go for it! I'm telling you, I was so excited to start my daughter's Montessori education, that I wish I had been given the "keys to the kingdom" like this... an affordable, step-by-step way to start teaching your child preschool, through the lens of the Bible, via the Montessori methods.
For the "Open-and-Go" Mama:
So you like the prep work to be minimal? How about scripts of exactly what to say to your child? You like to do Lesson 1, then Lesson 2, then Lesson 3, etc?
I've got you covered, girl!
Do you love the idea of Montessori, but you aren't wanting to create a full Montessori homeschool as outlined in the Preschool Curriculum?
I have Open-and-Go Montessori Math Workbooks and Reading Curriculum. You can add the Sensory Bible Devotional Cards from my sister site (Raising Kingdom Warriors), and you'll have a full preschool curriculum that is rooted in Montessori philosophy, but more suitable to a "table time with Mom" setting. Then, you are free to allow "freedom within limits" by preparing your home for plenty of play, discovery, and unhurried learning.
Ready to purchase?