The Montessori Toddler community offers very young children (ages 15 – 36 months) the unique experience of self-development in a tender school atmosphere of special understanding, respect, and support. Often this is the child’s first experience beyond the family, so it must be a nurturing place where the child can connect with an adult who makes him feel loved, and who fosters an ongoing relationship that supports his quest for independence.
The Toddler environment is focused on supporting the child as he acquires the skills to “do it myself.” Children are allowed freedom of movement to explore and manipulate the objects in the environment, and they are given the time they need to accomplish their work. Activities change and evolve as the child grows. The specially prepared Montessori environment allows the toddler to develop and refine movements, increase language, and launch into social relationships with peers. The freedom to explore is tempered by three basic ground rules that will be beneficial for a lifetime—respect of self, respect for others, and respect for the environment.
Bright Light Montessori’s Toddler Program is designed to give children ages 15 months to 3 years a warm, nurturing ‘home away from home,’ where they are supported in:
- taking their first steps toward independence,
- developing their powers of speech and communication,
- strengthening fine and large motor skills, and
- learning to work and play in a beautiful, cooperative community setting.
Time in a Toddler classroom follows the natural rhythms of home.
The Morning Work Cycle: During the morning work cycle, children may explore the many beautiful Montessori materials in the classroom or garden, receive individual or group lessons from the teacher, or participate in small group activities such as singing, dancing, story-telling, gardening and food preparation.
Oral language development is emphasized throughout the morning as the Teacher and her Assistant offer each child new vocabulary, encourage conversation, model good syntax and share stories, songs and poems.
Large motor skills, fine motor skills and coordination are enhanced by the child’s work with specially designed Montessori materials, while activities such as dancing, gardening, washing, sweeping and sing-alongs provide opportunities for further refinement of movement.
Independence is consciously nurtured in myriad ways: children work with increasing independence as they master classroom materials; learn to tie their own shoes and put on their jackets; and take care of the classroom by sweeping, preparing food, washing, folding, gardening, scrubbing, and more. The children are also supported in toilet training and feel great pride as they learn how to take care of themselves.
Snack and Lunchtime: The Montessori classroom recognizes the importance of these daily activities. Children help prepare the food, set and clear the table, and wash up the dishes – all the while acquiring new vocabulary, honing motor skills, absorbing social norms and taking great satisfaction in their contribution to the life of the classroom.