With a uniquely prepared environment to meet the toddler’s many physical and emotional needs, this classroom is designed to meet the toddler’s growing emotional and cognitive abilities during this formative period for the development of personality, trust, independence, focus and problem solving.
The room is set up to not only appeal to a child’s natural curiosity but with toddler-sized furniture, it allows for maximum exploration and development of the senses.
The classroom has plenty of room for social interactions, grace and courtesy lessons which provide opportunities to learn about sharing, taking turns, being patient and being a good friend. Activities are designed to develop coordination and independence as well as to encourage group interaction and increased self-esteem.
The Montessori teacher provides warmth, tenderness, patience and the encouragement necessary for each child to reach their personal best. As this is usually the first time where toddlers have been part of a group environment, an emphasis on the importance of a peaceful environment is placed in the toddler classroom.
IN THE CLASSROOM
Practical life exercises use familiar objects drawn from experiences in the home. Children learn to care for their environment by being asked to pick up after they have finished with their lessons, help keep the classroom clean, water plants, etc. Caring for oneself includes putting away their own backpacks and lunch boxes, taking off and putting on shoes at naptime and washing hands. A dressing are allows the child to practice getting dressed, how to zip and how to button. Food preparation is explored through pouring and spooning activities, washing a variety of objects and setting the table.
The toddler discovers the world around him/her through the use of his senses. Sensorial activities help the child explore the world through the five senses. Activities include bead stringing, matching color tablets and cards, matching pictures, working on puzzles and comparing objects of different textures and sizes.
Language activities in the toddler program build on the foundation established in the first two years of life. An assortment of objects and pictures are matched to Dr. Montessori’s “sandpaper letters,” helping the child learn the phonetic sounds of the alphabet. Lots of singing, finger plays, stories and “conversation time” make language learning fun.
In addition, children are spoken to in both English and Spanish as we begin to immerse the ear to the tune of a different tongue.
Toddlers need a hands on environment for learning math concepts. The classroom is rich with many learning opportunities for manipulating objects which help the child begin to understand number concepts (quantity and symbol). A plethora of materials are available for the child’s choosing. Those same materials change with the seasons in order to keep the child’s interest piqued. Oranges, ducks and zebras are counted and matched to the number, spindle boxes teach the concept of zero and sandpaper numbers let the child feel the number symbols in order to make a correlation between the senses and solidify the lesson in the child’s mind.