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Primary (Preschool) Community

Manhattan Academy’s Primary Community offers preschool-aged students a Montessori environment in which they are free to follow their natural instinct to learn.  Multi-age classrooms allow older children to serve as leaders in their groups, and gives younger children the opportunity to learn through modeling their older peers. Children learn at their own pace, in a hands-on, self-directed manner.  Our curriculum in presented through the manipulation of Montessori learning materials, with guidance provided by our Montessori-credentialed teachers.

preschooler watering plants

Practical Life

The Montessori philosophy stresses practical life activities as a method for developing fine motor skills and coordination. Such activities include wet and dry pouring, cutting, stitching, sorting, and more advanced activities, such as self-buttoning, zipping, sweeping, polishing, serving, and flower arranging. These activities encourage a sense of independence and self- confidence and also help to build concentration skills, a sense of order, and an attention to detail that will be used in language arts and mathematics learning.


Children at this age learn best through direct contact with their environment by means of their senses, and the Montessori philosophy capitalizes on this. We expose children to specific materials intended to teach through the use of different textures, multiple shapes and sizes, and varying sounds and smells. By isolating one particular attribute of an object (i.e. smell, shape, texture) we help the children distinguish and categorize the wealth of information before them.

preschoolers doing sensory play
preschooler practicing writing


Here at Manhattan Academy, our language curriculum is built upon a strong foundation in phonics. From the beginning, we teach not only the letter symbols, but also the sound associated with each symbol.


Another important part of our language curriculum is the infusion of sensorial and practical life activities. The children begin to associate each activity, symbol, and tool with a word, reinforcing their language acquisition through use of the object. Additionally, the coordination skills developed in the practical life and sensorial activities will begin to stimulate those muscles used in writing.


The plethora of exciting Montessori language materials facilitates a greater ease in the mastery of letter recognition, phonetics, word formation, and grammar rules. Students grasp language concepts early on, all while having fun.


In the area of mathematics, our philosophy first stresses the introduction of concrete learning, with a gradual shift to more abstract concepts as the student progresses. Each child masters a mathematics skill at their own pace. By touching and manipulating materials, the student learns to connect the objects to the values they represent.The materials make math more intelligible and fun. Mathematics is infused into many daily activities here at Manhattan Academy, such as identifying the date on the calendar, using number puzzles, or properly ordering numbers in succession.

preschooler learning math
preschoolers learning in outdoor classroom

Outdoor Environment

Rooted in the Montessori philosophy is a deep love and respect for the environment. Our students develop a profound appreciation for the world around them and all that we can learn from our environment.


Manhattan Academy has a beautiful outdoor environment where children are free to explore. Our Outdoor Environment specialist prepares a rich curriculum filled with experiments, observations, sensory experiences and of course, a lot of composting, planting and harvesting. This program is a wonderful way to bring academic concepts to life.


Included in our Primary Community curriculum are three enrichment classes:


Our music program in the Primary Community provides a fun and creative way to learn basic music skills and concepts. We focus on singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, discovering the concepts of rhythm, basic music history and exploring different genres of music. Parents get to see their children's new skills in action, as all Primary students perform yearly at our Holiday Show.


At Manhattan Academy, all Spanish classes are taught in an immersive way, to encourage comprehension skills. Our Spanish curriculum in the Primary Community focuses mainly on songs and games, and also begins to introduce reading, writing and art. Most students will learn the Spanish words for common objects, shapes, colors, numbers, greetings, and common phrases.

Physical Education

At this age, our P.E. classes focuses mainly on gross motor skill development, specifically balancing, running, catching, throwing and jumping. Children begin to hone their sense of coordination and sense of how their body moves.

To find out more about additional enrichment classes that are offered on an optional basis, check out our Enrichment page.

preschoolers playing at PE
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