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Lower School (Primary - 3rd Grade)


Welcome to the Primary Program

Two years of primary precede the Kindergarten program, beginning with 3-year-olds. While there are many benefits to a multi-age classroom, the most significant is that it promotes peer learning: younger students learn directly and indirectly from their older peers, who in turn gain a deeper understanding of the material and are able to practice their leadership skills. Montessori materials guide students from simple to more complex skills and concepts. The Primary classes blend reading and math readiness skills with practical life skills. The academic program includes world cultural studies, science exploration, art, social skills and play. Primary students enjoy light-filled, spacious, and inviting indoor and outdoor classrooms, and a beautiful garden that they tend throughout the seasons.


List of 4 items.

  • Reading and Language Arts

    The development of fundamental reading and language arts skills is integrated into every area of our Montessori inspired curriculum. Materials are sequenced left to right to train eye movement. Fine motor tasks train the fingers to hold a pencil. Sensorial materials develop the visual discrimination required for reading. A wide variety of activities and materials foster pre-reading and beginning reading skills: building awareness of the sounds that make up words (phonemes), brainstorming activities to build vocabulary, journal writing, basic decoding skills, sight words and high frequency words.
  • Cultural Studies

    We use the Montessori philosophy and a global perspective to present the world to our students, exposing them to the magnificent diversity of human culture, ecosystems, and living creatures on our planet. Our cultural curriculum develops a respect, understanding and appreciation for our Earth and all its inhabitants.
  • Math

    The math curriculum in the Primary classes uses Montessori methods and materials. The children develop a firm understanding of mathematical concepts through the use of manipulative materials; they always start with a concrete, hands-on experience, before advancing to the symbolic and abstract.
  • Science

    Young students have an innate sense of wonder about all living things, which we foster and encourage daily utilizing the five senses. Students become keen observers through hands-on study, science experiments, and learning about growing vegetables and flowers in our gardens. Through studies of subjects such as ecosystems and the web of life, teachers aim to spark inquiry and curiosity daily.

Daily Schedule

8:20-8:40 Arrival + circle time

9:30 Snack

9:40 Work time

11:00 Lunch and sharing

12:00 Recess on the big playground

12:30 Story time

1:00 Afternoon work time

1:50-2:00 Dismissal, enrichment classes, or aftercare

*Art and music are infused within our program, along with dedicated specialist class time weekly.

Whole Child Approach

  • Social
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Creative
Our instruction recognizes the present and future need for children to become keen problem identifiers, problem solvers, critical thinkers, and creative innovators. These skills are introduced to very young children and honed as they grow older.

Program Options

  • 4 or 5 days
  • Extended morning care available from 7:30 a.m. - 8:20 a.m. and afternoon care from 2:00–6:00 p.m.

Current Parent

With every detailed report card we receive, we note that the teachers know our children the way we know them- their “glows” and “grows” are consistent with what we see at home.

Primary Videos

Primary Faculty

    • Teaching Assistant

      Kyle Donohoe

      Teaching Assistant

    • Teacher

      Kelley Gallardo


    • Teacher

      Kathleen Hazelton-Leech


    • Teaching Assistant

      Chandi Hemapala

      Teaching Assistant

    • Teacher

      Michele McCulloch


    • Teaching Assistant

      Lisa Scarsella

      Teaching Assistant

Non-discrimination policy: We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, gender identification, disability or other category protected by law. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the School's non-discrimination policies, including its Title IX policy:
Name: Laurie Kelly, Title: Accounting Manager, Office Address: 305 Montford Ave. Mill Valley, CA 94941, Telephone Number: (415) 384-4232, Email Address: Laurie@marinhorizon.org
For assistance related to Title IX or other civil rights laws, please contact OCR at OCR@ed.gov or 800-421-3481, TDD 800-877-8339.