Our toddler classrooms are made up mostly of Practical Life materials, with many “pre-Montessori” materials that are typically used for toddlers even in non-Montessori settings (i.e. puzzles, stringing beads, etc.). Cultural lessons are presented during the morning Circle Time and include learning about weather, the calendar, and basic names of objects in the classroom, in nature, and in the home. Our toddlers are taught to put away their belongings, eat independently and drink from an open-faced cup, and clean up after themselves. Our students quickly take on an “I can do it” attitude as they settle into the learning environment and work with a variety of educational materials designed just for them.
The toddler program at our school focuses on social interaction with other children; development of language, practical life skills (to include toilet learning in Toddler 2), fine and gross motor coordination, and artistic expression through a variety of art, music and movement activities. This curriculum in the Toddler 1 and Toddler 2 classrooms prepare students for advancement to the Primary class, which we call The Children’s House.
Our school day begins promptly at 8:30 a.m., and a typical day in our Toddler Class consists of a morning Circle Time, morning snack, the Montessori Work Cycle, outdoor time, lunch, nap/rest period, afternoon snack, and then the afternoon Enrichment Activity. The school day ends at 4:30 p.m. Care is available for children who arrive before 8:30 a.m. and those who remain with us after 4:30 p.m. Before Care activities consist of free play and socialization; however, there is a structured curriculum for the After Care program.
Our toddler curriculum works to further refine gross and fine motor skills, as well as language skills; however, in the toddler program, we begin to introduce Spanish as a part of the language curriculum and introduce lessons in practical life, sensorial, culture (social studies and geography), math (counting and number recognition), science, and the arts (art, music, cooking, gardening). This is the age of independence, and our Transition and Pre-Primary teachers’ main objective is to encourage independence.
Children in this classroom are very capable of doing things themselves, and we encourage them to do so. Dramatic play is incorporated into the classwork, and there is a quiet place for students to read as well. The materials are refreshed regularly and routines are established early on to keep the students engaged and focused while at school. Lastly, the students in our toddler program are taught how to properly clean up after themselves. The teachers guide them in clean-up activities but are mindful not to clean up for them.