Our Toddler House (ages 12 months – 3 years) is designed with the smallest hands in mind. Small tables, small sinks, small toilets are just a few of the features that allow the Montessori Method to thrive in even our youngest students, promoting independence and confidence. Many parents are amazed to learn how much their child can actually accomplish on their own when they are given the correct tools and the confidence to do so.
We have two toddler programs: 1) Entry Program for ages 12-18 months and 2) Pre-Primary for ages 18 months-3 years. In these age groups we take advantage of the toddler’s natural drive to act independently. In a small group setting, the children can learn from and help each other under the careful guidance of Montessori-trained teachers and assistants. The environment, as in all Montessori classes, is carefully prepared for these young children; all furniture and materials meet their needs. Art is hung at their eye-level instead of the adult’s and shelves are low to place materials in easy reach. Activities and lessons in the toddler room foster independence and support speech, motor and language development – preparing them for writing and reading. In an environment that offers appropriately sized challenges, children are expected to, and are happy to, take on greater responsibility, such as caring for themselves and others.
From birth to three years old, the child learns through the unconscious mind. Their innate focus is on language, movement and developing the senses. The young child is a sensorial explorer so nothing is processed through the intellect that does not come through the senses. The young child is also an unconscious learner. This is why children in this age group want to touch everything… that is how they develop a relationship with the environment. His/her unconscious work is the construction of self.
This is a time where the child is absorbed in the refinement and control of movement and with the development of language. Their environment should be designed to meet his or her needs for order, love and as much independence as they can handle at any given time.
The Toddler environment is divided into several areas, including language skills, fine motor movement and gross motor development. Practical life exercises include care of the environment (both outdoor and indoor), care of self and refinement of manners. All activities and lessons are designed to develop independence and coordination and encouragement to contribute to the group, which leads to increased self-esteem.
Both Dr. Montessori’s observations and modern brain imaging show that the young child’s brain has enormous promise and potential. Within their first six years, children develop from having no verbal language to fluency in their native language. The toddler environment supports this tremendous growth through the use of Montessori lessons, such as language nomenclature cards, books and spoken vocabulary exercises.
Each toddler is given opportunities to explore their independence and connection to the world using their extraordinary capacity for learning. It is with these tools and practices that we are able to build a solid foundation for Dr. Montessori’s philosophy of life-long learning.
"The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences."− Maria Montessori