Toddler Program (16-35 months)
"I need to discover what I can do"
The Toddler Community supports the abilities of the very young child. Our program is a partnership with parents, who are the first and most essential teachers of the child. Our teachers, or more accurately "guides," are trained in child development. The importance of the period between sixteen and thirty-six months cannot be underestimated as research is helping us become more aware of the critical time this plays in the development of a child's cognitive abilities, social skills, sense of trust and personality. Montessori education is based on a deep respect for the latent abilities of the child.
The child develops by means of experience in his or her environment. We call such experience "work." It is this work which assists the child in construction of one's self. Independence, language, sensory integration, motor development, and order are the primary learning areas in which the toddler age child works to construct him or herself.
Our program supports the child's journey towards independence in a safe environment where the rhythm is toddler-paced and everything is toddler-sized, including low furniture, shelves, easily movable chairs, and artwork hung at eye-level. The sinks and refrigerator are real and accessible to the children. Through observation of other children, each toddler becomes curious about how to independently use the toilet.
The toddler age is the key stage in language acquisition. Our language-rich environment includes language materials and activities, music and song, reading and conversation.
Exploration and discovery are a primary need at this age. Our Toddler House provides an aesthetic and sensory-rich environment in which the young child is free to safely explore with the respectful assistance and encouragement of the adult.
Movement is the need of the young child. The developing brain is stimulated and enhanced through movement, both small and large muscle, which must be perfected through practice. Our gross motor area within the classroom allows each child to move seamlessly between large and small muscle activities as needed.
We support a child's need for consistency and order by having a place for everything and putting everything back in its place during clean-up time. Our daily rhythm alternates between active and restful group and individual activities. Our seasonal rhythm includes gardening in spring, harvest and raking in autumn, and cooking and snow play during the winter. Walks on our lovely 15-acre campus are taken all year long.
Our all-day program provides consistency in staff and continuity in environment. The self-assurance and independence gained through the work in the toddler environment not only prepares the child to move successfully to the next level (theChildren's House), but also lays the foundation for confident and joyful learning for life.