Classrooms are like children, no two are exactly alike. Classrooms may have some of the same features, yet be uniquely different in many ways. The primary program includes the first years in elementary school, beginning as early as age 5. The primary program is also unique in that it allows flexible grouping in the traditional grades K – 3. One of the greatest advantages of the primary program is that all children will learn and mature at their own pace..as individuals. All children will be leaders or followers from one learning activity to another as their levels may differ. Children will not be in competition with each other; instead, children will be accepted at their own stage of development and individual needs are met.
The primary program includes many of the same components found in a preschool classroom. There are seven basic components that are evident in all primary classrooms, these include:
- Developmentally appropriate educational practices
- Possible multi-age and multi-ability classrooms
- Continuous progress based on individual needs
- Authentic / continuous / formative assessment
- Qualitative reporting methods
- Professional networking
- Parent and community involvement.
Many parents wonder what the primary classroom will look like. A “snapshot” should reveal a great deal of active learning taking place. Instructional design / practices should focus on each child’s individual strengths while addressing social, emotional, physical, and academic development. This type of learning is known as “learning by doing”. Instruction should include guided grouping of students, hands-on activities, and center-based learning activities. The day’s learning activities revolve around a central theme of engaging children in meaningful, real world activities that are tied to a strong learning target.
Adaptation: Primary Style, June 2007, Kentucky Early Childhood Transition Project / University of Kentucky