Our Toddler Community
“The first two years of life are the most important. Observation proves that small children are endowed with special psychic powers, and points to new ways of drawing them out – literally ‘education by cooperating with nature.’ So here begins the new path, wherein it will not be the professor who teaches the child, but the child who teaches the professor.”
The purpose of the Toddler Community is to encourage, assist, and protect the normal development of each child. The environment is designed to be an extension of the home. It is carefully prepared to provide interesting and purposeful work. All aspects of the environment are inspected to insure the safety and security of the child.
The beautiful materials attract the child’s interest and invite the child to explore the world around him. The child develops fine motor skills, exactness of movement and refines their eye-hand coordination through activities such as sewing, sorting, and cutting.
Language activities are also very important as the young child is in the most sensitive period of language development. The child’s language is enriched through conversation, songs, poems and stories as well as beautiful materials that help promote language development.
Through practical life activities such as watering plants, hair brushing, fastening clothes and food preparation, the young child has the opportunity to foster many skills that will support her independence. In this warm and caring community the children are given a beautiful presentation of all the activities that are seen in the child’s daily life. This allows for a respectful transition from the family social unit to the social environment of the young child.
Each curriculum area of the Montessori classroom emphasizes specific skills, but there is dynamic interplay among the areas, enhancing children’s natural learning process.
Practical Life activities form the cornerstone of the Montessori classroom and prepare the child for all other areas. The emphasis is on process rather than on product. Through the repetition of Practical Life activities, children develop and refine the basic skills that will serve them all their lives. The Toddler classroom offers the early Practical Life exercises, such as Pouring, Opening and Closing, Spooning, Bead Stringing, Polishing and Large Water Activities. These activities are aimed at enhancing the child’s development of fine motor control, hand-eye coordination, balance, sense of order, concentration and independence.
Around the age of two, children’s speech development experiences an explosion of words, soon followed by sentences. The Language materials in the Toddler classroom encourage the refinement and enrichment of language as the first steps on the road to writing and finally reading. Early Language materials and oral exercises like storytelling and reading aloud support the toddler’s need to be immersed in language. Activities include books, puzzles, naming objects like fruits, vegetables and animals, and beginning sound games.
Sensorial activities assist Toddlers in the great task of organizing, integrating and learning about their sensory input. We all learn through our senses, and this is especially true of very young children who are at the beginning of taking in and understanding the world around them. Sensorial materials include Knobbed Cylinders for practice with dimension, Color Paddles, tactile exercises like Rough and Smooth, Musical Equipment, Sorting and Shapes.
To help prepare the mathematical mind, Toddlers are exposed to the world of numbers through counting games and concrete materials. These exercises encourage the development of important pre-math skills such as order, sequence, visual discrimination, sorting, one-to-one correspondence and directionality. Toddler Math activities include stacking and nesting cubes, number blocks and puzzles, and sorting and counting materials.
You may visit the Montessori Pedagogy page for more information regarding the Toddler curriculum.