Primary (ages 3-6)

Our Primary program is a five-day, full Montessori program that incorporates an atrium (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd) and follows the teachings and principles of Dr. Maria Montessori. Our Primary class is for preschool through Kindergarten children (half and full day options).

​The Primary classroom is designed based on Dr. Montessori’s observations of children’s developmental needs for self-construction at these ages and their natural tendencies toward self-motivation, mastery of their environment, and independence.

Montessori emphasizes the importance of a carefully prepared classroom environment to serve the needs of the student. The classroom is divided into five main areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, the Cultural subjects of art, science, and geography, plus a Catholic atrium. Special materials and pedagogical tools are available to the students for learning in each area.

The school days is organized around two main work periods, during which students are free to choose and pursue the work that interests them, under the gentle direction of the teacher (Directress).

The prepared environment, the Directress, and the child work together produce a community of self-sufficient, curious, and joyful children who eagerly participate in their education. During the three or four-year Primary cycle, a child grows from being the youngest to being a community elder. Central to this process is the opportunity to experience, to learn, and then to abstract and solidify knowledge through teaching, working, sharing, and cooperating with others.

Good Shepherd School works closely with each family, monitoring the development of individual students. The school administration guides parents in fulfilling all Loudoun County Kindergarten requirements for evaluation and testing.

The Primary Program is a Licensed Child Day Center.

The Atrium

At Good Shepherd School, we include an atrium and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at the heart of our traditional Montessori Classroom. This is a special place set aside for the child to encounter Christ as the Good Shepherd. The child learns about Christ and the Church through Sacred Scripture, song, prayer, the celebration of the liturgical seasons and feast days, and though Montessori materials designed to introduce him to the Mass and the Gospels. The academic areas of the classroom are represented here as well, through activities such as polishing the prayer table candlesticks, pouring water and wine, working with a map to learn the places in the Holy Land, handwriting Bible verses, and learning how the liturgical seasons coincide with the calendar year. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a beautiful and gentle approach, introducing the child to the Catholic Faith in a very real and concrete way. Children grow to have a deep awareness and understanding of God’s love for them and an interest in the Mass as a manifestation of that love.

Primary Skills

Practical Life:
building gross & fine motor skills
fastening clothing
tying and buckling shoes
sweeping and cleaning
carrying delicate objects
pouring water
arranging flowers
opening & closing
containers & latches
folding cloths
washing dishes
care of the classroom
care of self and hygiene
grace & courtesy

Sensorial Work:
identifying color
identifying shape
identifying texture
differentiating by weight
differentiating by size
& length
refining the five senses
recognizing musical pitch
building the binomial
& trinomial cubes
learning the locations of
continents & countries
constructive triangles

refining of fine
motor skills
developing three-fingered pencil grip
recognizing letters by sound & shape
learning phonograms and sight words
constructing words
cursive handwriting
parts of speech
diagramming sentences
building vocabulary

concept of numeracy
concept of zero
numbers 0 – 1,000
linear counting
skip counting
understanding the decimal system
addition and subtraction
& division
word problems
exploring fractions


Sample Primary Schedule

Drop off at
Morning work time
Morning prayer service
Prepare for going home or wash hands for lunch
Dismissal of half-day children
Transition back to classroom, drinks & wash hands
Reading group
Afternoon work period