“Conventional schooling is forever in turmoil because of its poor ideological foundation. First, conventional schools are modeled on factories, because the birth of mass public schooling coincided with the age of efficiency…the factory model has a host of consequences that result in suboptimal learning conditions. The second poor model inherent in conventional schooling is an outmoded model of the child-learner inherited from behaviorism, in which the child is an empty vessel filled and shaped by deposited information, rewards, and punishments.”
– Angeline Stoll Lillard
We are continuing right along in sharing what we are up to this summer as well as the planning practices and resources we use each year. So far, I’ve shared our Montessori Minimalist Homeschool Planning and our Montessori Indigenous Education Books. If you’re planning to homeschool a child between the ages of 2.5-6, or even if you’re just keeping your options open, this is the post for you.
Below, you will find helpful Montessori Primary Curriculum Resources to guide you along your journey all the way to the finish. Every child is unique. All of these resources provide a great jumping off point for child-led exploration and joyful learning experiences. Also, they are robust enough to support you through the Primary years. In fact, several of them were also featured in our Montessori Elementary Curriculum post.
If you’re new to Montessori or a new homeschooler, there are a few things we should talk about before we dive into talking about these awesome resources.
What is Montessori Education?
Montessori education is based on the educational philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori. In stark contrast to the behaviorist view mentioned above, as a constructivist, Dr. Montessori believed that children learn by building their knowledge through their environment and the materials found within it. They are not empty vessels to be poured into. Through scientific research, she found that a child-centered education consisting of a prepared environment and a prepared adult facilitates the healthy growth, development, and education of every unique child. It also fosters a relationship of mutual respect between the child and the adult.
Five Areas of Learning in Montessori Education
- Practical Life – Activities of daily life that focus on care of self, and care of one’s environment.
- Sensorial – Materials and lessons that aid in the development of the senses.
- Language – Written and spoken language.
- Math – Path from concrete to abstraction beginning with concrete learning materials and number quantity, number recognition, the decimal system, etc., all the way to operations: +,x,-,/, and beyond.
- Culture – Umbrella subject area encompassing Geography, Science, History, Art, and Music.
Why Montessori Education?
There are a lot of reasons why parents and caregivers everyday are making the decision to incorporate Montessori philosophy and principles into their home life and their children’s educations. Those reasons include fostering outcomes of independence, curiosity, creativity, empathy, respect, and joy in learning. There are nine insights or principles associated with Dr. Montessori’s observation and work with children.
Nine Montessori Principles
- Movement and Cognition Relationship
- Freedom of Choice
- Executive Function Skills
- Interest in Subject Matter
- Absence of Extrinsic Rewards Associated With Activities or Skills
- Collaboration With Peers
- Contextual Learning
- Authoritative Style Teaching & Parenting – Freedom Within Limits
For the science behind the outcomes that inspire parents to transition to Montessori lifestyles for their family, and an in-depth explanation of the nine Montessori principle topics, you can check out Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. It’s a very thorough and easy to understand explanation of the principles of Montessori education, and how they nurture healthy growth and development.
How to Know if a Child is Ready for Montessori Primary (Preschool)
- Independence in Practical Life Activities – Dressing, Handwashing, Toilet Awareness, Grace & Courtesy
- Adjustment to Time Apart From Parent/Caregiver
- Sharpened Social Skills
Whether you are sending your child to a Montessori Primary classroom or implementing a Primary program in your homeschool, there are several things you can observe to determine if your child is ready. The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies is my favorite book for the Toddler years because it is a comprehensive resource. In fact, it even has a section specifically for families preparing for a Primary program.
How to Prepare for Homeschooling Using Montessori Principles and Practice
- Educate yourself.
- Be flexible.
- Be mindful.
- Always follow the child.
Stick to those ideals and this is completely within your grasp. I often hear parents and caregivers sharing their beginning homeschooling experiences and it seems like folks mostly fall into two categories:
- They assume they’ll be able to wing it (wishful thinking) and when issues crop up, they don’t know how to respond. As a result, they get overwhelmed and want to give up, feeling like they just can’t do it.
- They try to memorize and plan out every little detail, setting themselves up for frustration when their child is in a different rhythm or on an alternate path completely.
Don’t fall into either of those traps. We’ve broken down our Montessori Curriculum Resources into more specific categories than the five subject areas mentioned above. Many of these we found used. Starting simple and minimal supports growth through a child-centered approach.
Mastering Practical Life activities and the resulting development of executive function skills, such as concentration, are the foundation for other subject areas. As a result, Practical Life skills & Gross Motor activities, along with time spent in nature and solid family reading habits, provide a solid foundation. The child will build from there. This supports and encourages a growth mindset in children.
Montessori Primary Curriculum Resources
Dr. Montessori’s Own Works
- The Absorbent Mind
- The Secret of Childhood
- Best Montessori Sensorial Materials for Homeschool Plus FREE Ebook Guide
Maria Montessori’s own works are a great choice when looking for Montessori primary curriculum. She was a pioneer in the field of education and these two books are some of her easier, straightforward reads. They are filled with insights about young children and will provide a deeper level of understanding about them.
Parenting & Discipline
These two books are very helpful when getting started with a Montessori primary curriculum. It would be prudent to check them out before purchasing a lot of materials, making changes to your home environment, or developing a Montessori Homeschool Daily Rhythm. They will help you set goals and realistic expectations. Toddler Discipline is clear and concise, making it the perfect choice for a quick shelf reference.
You’ll find that the strategies and practical tips learned in these books nurture calm and connection among family members. You can find more on our Self-Reflection, Mindfulness, Parents & Educators book list.
- Sewing in the Montessori Classroom by Aimee Fagan
- Wings, Worms, and Wonder by Kelly Johnson
- Montessori Pets and Caring for Animals as Practical Life
Both of these Practical Life books are awesome and have lessons useful for time spent indoors and outdoors. Both contain creative and effective learning experiences. The sewing curriculum really helps with the development of fine-motor skills and concentration while nurturing an essential skillset. Wings, Worms, and Wonder is also part of our Montessori Elementary Curriculum resources and we’ve found that its enjoyable for the 3-6 age range as well.
- Don’t Look Away by Iheoma Iruka, Stephanie Curenton, & Tonia Durden
- Different Differenter by Jyoti Gupta
- What If All the Kids Are White? by Louise Derman-Sparks and Patricia G. Ramsey
If you’re not familiar with Anti-Bias Education and would like to learn more about it, this course by ABAR teacher-educator Britt Hawthorne is a great place to start. Our little ones have been enjoying activities from Different Differenter since adding it to our Montessori Art and Handwriting Space.
Science & Nature
- How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott D. Sampson
- Coyote’s Guide to Connecting With Nature by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Evan McGown
- There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk
- Play the Forest School Way by Peter Houghton and Jane Worroll
- Waseca Biomes Curriculum
- The Earth Project with Montessori Everywhere (FREE)
These are all excellent nature education resources, each from a different perspective. The first three books include a lot of background information, fundamentals, and practical tips for parents and educators. The last book is mostly activities organized by category, with a few tips sprinkled in. I would recommend starting with How to Raise a Wild Child and There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather.
Save $15 on your first Waseca Biomes purchase here.
- Preschool Art: It’s the Process, Not the Product by Maryann Kohl
- Mommy, It’s a Renoir! by Aline D. Wolf
- Draw.Write.Now. by Kim Stitzer and Marie Hablitzel
These are great resources for process Art and Art appreciation. We didn’t even need to purchase the postcards that are sold separately from Mommy, It’s a Renoir! We applied the methods described in the book to postcards our daughter picked out. It worked out really well.
I discussed the Draw.Write.Now. series in our Montessori Art and Handwriting Space post. Our kids prefer them over any other art and handwriting curriculum we’ve tried and they tie in well with our Geography studies.
- Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie
- The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws
- How to Teach Nature Journaling by John Muir Laws
All three of these nature journaling books are wonderful. They assume no prior level of mastery and they’re just plain fun. However, if you were to pick one to start out with this upcoming school year, I would recommend choosing How to Teach Nature Journaling. It’s geared towards educators looking to encourage a nature connection in children, includes field activities, and is a great interdisciplinary tool.
- First Steps in Music by John M. Feierabend
- The Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, Stories, and Fingerplays
- Song School Spanish – Music CD Only
- Suzuki Recorder: Soprano Volume 1 by Alfred Music
The books above are both great additions to any homeschool curriculum. The Bilingual Book is very thick and our kids really enjoy it. We have been using it and the Song School Spanish (CD only) for Spanish language exposure also. The Suzuki Recorder book is a new addition for us this fall. I’ve heard wonderful things about the Suzuki method and our kids are looking forward to learning the soprano recorder.
- Ready, Set, Read and Write by Marlene Barron
- Montessori Read & Write by Lynne Lawrence
- Waseca Reading Program by Waseca Biomes
- Draw.Write.Now. Art and Handwriting
Both of the language books pictured above are essentials to our language curriculum. I believe Montessori Read & Write is out of print, but you can usually find a used copy floating around. Mine is yellowed and tattered. Every time I grab it off the shelf, I imagine how many other children learned to read using this book and it makes me so happy.
We also use Waseca Reading Program. It’s easy for our children to track their own progress, they love opening up the drawers with beautiful images, and they enjoy using it with their movable alphabet. You can save $15 on your first Waseca Biomes purchase here.
If you’re looking for courses specific to teaching a child to read, Seemi from Trillium Montessori has several affordable ones that can help: Learning Letters, Making the Most of the Movable Alphabet, and Phonetic Reading. They are also occasionally discounted.
Save $15 on your first Waseca Biomes purchase here.
- Math Works: Montessori Math and the Developing Brain by Michael Duffy
- Teach Your 3-7 Year Old Math by John Bowman
- Montessori-aligned Materials and Printables
Both of these books are great. If you’re looking for specific guidance in Math and the use of Montessori materials, I would recommend Teach Your 3-7 Year Old Math.
Need some help with understanding the progression of Math activities in your homeschool? Montessorikiwi has a really helpful Math Scope and Sequence for ages 3-12. If you follow us on Pinterest, you will find it pinned under Montessori Math.
- Waseca Biomes Curriculum
- I Wonder What’s Out There by Joanne DeFilipp Alex
- Montessori-aligned Materials and Guides by Mirus Toys
Most of our Geography curriculum comes from Waseca Biomes and we are very happy with it. The materials are durable, eco-friendly, and beautiful. I Wonder What’s Out There is also a lot of fun. There are several DIY projects and even a book list to accompany the work.
Save $15 on your first Waseca Biomes purchase here.
Other Cognitive, Behavioral, and Development Resources
- The Habit of Thought by Michael Strong
- The Wonder of Boys by Michael Gurian
- It’s a Boy! by Michael Thompson and Teresa H. Barker
I’ve mentioned these books in our Montessori Elementary Curriculum resources post also. I wanted to include them here as well since they cover a broad age range. We intend to implement Socratic teaching principles in our homeschool with the help of The Habit of Thought. Additionally, we have two sons and are using the two books above as a resource for them.
Summary of Montessori Primary Curriculum Resources
We use this precious collection of books to support our work as educators. They’re affordable and invaluable resources that we have gained immeasurable wisdom from. At this point in our homeschooling career, they’re also loyal old friends. I’m so happy to have had this opportunity to share them with you. We hope you find this useful as you plan for an exciting new year.
More Montessori Planning
- Montessori Minimalist Homeschool Planning: A How-To Guide
- Montessori Shelves and Constructing the Prepared Environment
- The Best Montessori Sensorial Materials for Homeschool Plus FREE Ebook Guide
- Montessori First Great Lesson Materials and Follow-Up for Primary & Elementary
- Montessori Indigenous Education Books
- Self-Reflection, Mindfulness, and Books for Parents & Educators
- Math: Concrete to Abstraction
- Montessori Bilingual Spanish-English Books
If you have any hesitations and you’re looking for a testimonial, our oldest is happy to give one. She is five and started her Primary homeschool program at 2.5. She just graduated Primary this past year and will be starting her Lower Elementary studies in the fall. Everyday, she tells us she likes school and is so excited to be in 1st grade.
*Kindergarten Graduation Diploma by Trillium Montessori
Thanks for stopping by!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. Amazon links are not affiliate links. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.