The Penfield Montessori Academy primary environment is comprised of the following work areas: practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics, and cultural work.
Practical life: Among other life skills, children learn how to wash, cook, sweep, plant, and sew.
Sensorial: Children learn through sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell using binomial cubes, geometric shapes, constructive triangles, tasting bottles, and other materials that enable the child to classify, clarify, and comprehend the world.
Language: Children are introduced to vocabulary through spoken language games. They are also introduced to the 26 letters of the English alphabet and their associated sounds. With the help of a movable alphabet, children are able to write words, sentences, and stories. Reading quickly follows with materials that help explore grammar and the structure of language.
Math: Children are taken from the concrete to the abstract through manipulation, experimentation, and invention by using math materials.
Cultural Work: Within the sensorial area of the classroom, Dr. Montessori designed a series of materials and lessons that are now often referred to as the cultural work or cultural extensions. As part of the child’s exploration of sound, primary classrooms have a material known as the bells, consisting of two sets of 13 bells ranging from middle to high C. The geography materials are considered part of the sensorial area of the classroom, as the lessons all begin with a sensorial introduction to the concept being taught.