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The toddler program is designed for children ages 18 months through 3 years old. This time period is one of great importance. Children at this age are entering a sensitive period, which means they are predisposed or sensitive to learning a specific skill set. Toddlers are sensitive to developing independence, language, sense of order and motor skills. The toddler program introduces curriculum around these areas, which include food preparation and grace and courtesy, to help children build a strong foundation not only for the classroom, but for life.
Toddlers have recently realized they are separate from their caregivers. In a respectful and gentle way, our teachers support the child’s natural development while encouraging independence. We will promote a child’s sense of self, as well as respect for others through a prepared environment that promotes independence and ability to attempt and master new skills. Some of the skills include self-care, such as putting on and taking off their own shoes, socks, jackets; feeding using proper utensils, glasses, and pouring drinks; choosing work and toileting independently.
Toddlers begin to work on expanding language skills and are eager to communicate and build upon their independence. Toddlers will engage in singing and rhymes, games, reading and other integrated learning and art activities to promote language. Teachers will introduce and promote grace and courtesy through their actions while promoting the use of please, thank you, and basic manners. Language helps the child go from concrete knowledge to abstract knowledge. The classroom will use the three period lesson. For example, in the first period the teacher might say “This is a ball.” In the second period she might say “Show me the ball.” In the third period she might say “What is this?” The three-period lesson will be used to help toddlers begin to identify objects, colors, animals and those around them.
One of the biggest transitions for toddlers is the shift from the unconscious to the conscious absorbent mind. For the child to begin to make sense of what s/he is experiencing, things must be consistent. Things can now begin to have a sense of place and eventually purpose. To aid in this development of sense of order, the classroom will be prepared with simple, size appropriate materials, ready for children to use. Children will be encouraged to complete a full work cycle; choosing work, carrying it to a desired work space, and then returning it for the next person to use. This skill will be continually developed and used throughout the child’s life.
Gross and fine motor skills will be developed and strengthened through opportunities in the classroom. There are many opportunities to develop gross motor skills through movement around the room and outdoors, such as climbing, jumping, lifting and other large body movements. Works such as practical life and food preparation also focus on fine motor skill development through sorting, threading, hammering, opening and closing and utilizing a multitude of works that improve hand and finger strength.
Toddlers will learn through play, repetition and guided choices in the prepared Montessori environment. There are many different options to fit each family’s specific needs. The toddler program offers two, three, or five-day options, each available full day, 8:30am-3:30pm, or morning only, 8:30am-12:00pm. Those who stay all day will enjoy lunch together and then nap in the afternoon. Students will engage in work in the classroom and enjoy outdoor time when the weather permits. Extended care is also available.
We are excited to continue to grow as a Montessori community and hope that you will join us! Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or to schedule a tour.
For additional information visit the American Montessori Website for a look inside the Infant/Toddler classroom: Infant/Toddler