Cycle 1 (Pre-school and Prep)

Children from 3 to 6 years old (preschool and prep age) learn in a cycle 1 room.

At this level when the child has selected an activity it is carried to the appropriate individual workspace which can be a table or floor space. Once a child has established a workspace, the space is respected by other students and activity remains untouched until it is cleared away by the child using it.

When the student displays signs of readiness the appropriate activity is demonstrated to them by the teacher. Once the student has been shown how to perform the activity the student is free to choose to work on this activity at any time.

When the child has completed the activity he/she reassembles it and return it to its particular place on the shelf.

Cycle 1 activities are formulated to directly develop a student's independence, confidence, need for order and structure. Indirectly the activities support the development of motor, sensory and intellectual skills needed to advance to the more complex Montessori equipment and learning.


The activities are grouped into four fundamental areas:

  • Practical Life – comprised of activities that children see their parents doing at home. These activities form a bridge between home and school. These activities enable the student to concentrate so that a set task, and work uninterrupted to develop precise movements. The activities are structured so the student can complete a cycle of work and feel satisfied and confident.

  • Sensorial – equipment that is designed to develop co-ordination and encourage the child to discriminate, order and classify. This development and refinement of the senses prepares the child for later work.

  • Mathematics – through the sensorial activities the student explores spatial relationships, distance, grouping and quantity. The role of numbers is developed through the concrete equipment such as number rods, counters, spindles and beads. The decimal system is introduced and the steps of addition and subtraction, followed by multiplication and division.

  • Language – forms the foundation for literacy. Sound is linked to developing fine motor skills through the sandpaper letters and extended to practical wiring opportunities. The development of reading skills is encouraged with the moveable alphabet, enabling the student to work methodically through the phonic the phonic words and onto the complexity of blends and phonograms.

Language is extended through the additional subjects: geography, cultural studies, science, history and botany.

cycle 1

"From the earliest possible age the child must be provided with things which may help to do things by himself"
Dr Maria Montessori