Toddler

Ages 18 months – 3 years

WHY A MONTESSORI TODDLER CLASS?
Current research confirms the importance of learning in the first three years of life. How and what children learn affects them throughout their lifetime. A toddler is a child in transition between babyhood and the preschool years, with unique needs and abilities that can be well met by the Montessori toddler environment and the specially-trained adults within it.

CLASSROOM ORGANIZATION
The multi-age Toddler class consists of children between the ages of 18 months and three years. A university-degreed and Montessori-trained head teacher is supported by highly-qualified assistants. The staff-child ratio is 1:4.

In the Toddler classroom, everything is child-sized. Low shelves, chairs, tables, and coat hooks allow the children to gain mastery over the environment. Lower fixtures in the lavatory help with toilet learning. The room is deliberately kept simple to prevent sensory overload, and consistent routines provide a predictable structure from which to explore. Snacks, lunch, and nap, if applicable, are part of the daily plan.

GROWING AND LEARNING
DHMC’s Toddler class is designed to provide a secure and caring environment that allows each child to progress at his or her own pace. The children experience a wide range of activities that foster the development of language, large and small motor skills, and social competence. In the Montessori Toddler class, children will learn:

  • That they are loved, respected, and safe.
  • That everyone has needs, wants, and feelings.
  • That they can communicate their needs and wants and trust that they will receive a positive response.
  • That they respect one another.
  • To behave in culturally appropriate ways.
  • That they are competent learners.
  • To concentrate and focus on their exploration, activities, and interests.
  • To develop verbal language.
  • That everything has a name.
  • How things work
  • To care for their physical needs—i.e., undressing, dressing, toileting, washing hands, wiping noses, and learning to eat correctly.
  • To develop physical coordination.
  • To identify the special kind of person they are becoming.

THE MONTESSORI TODDLER CURRICULUM

Practical Life experiences fall into several categories:

  • Navigating the classroom (entering the room; carrying, unrolling, and rolling a rug; carrying a tray; carrying a chair; opening and closing doors, etc.)
  • Self-care (putting coats on, taking them off and hanging them up; practicing various clothing fasteners on the Montessori dressing frames; handwashing; toilet learning, etc.)
  • Care of the environment (food preparation—pouring water and milk; spreading cheese, jam, or honey; slicing bananas and hard boiled eggs; baking—setting the table; washing dishes; raking leaves; classroom care—dusting, sweeping, watering and washing plants, mirror polishing, napkin folding, feeding classroom pets, etc.)
  • Grace and courtesy (saying “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me”; listening when others are speaking; making polite requests; greeting others and introducing oneself; serving food to others, etc.)

Sensorial activities involve a wide range of hands-on manipulative materials and puzzles aimed at helping children refine their senses of sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell.

Large motor activities include crawling through tunnels, carrying and pushing heavy objects, climbing, rocking, spinning, swinging, riding, and throwing balls. The gross motor room, the gymnasium, and the outdoor environment all provide opportunities for large muscle practice.

Language is developed through singing and finger plays, music, naming and other vocabulary and sound activities, books and photographs.

Mathematical awareness is developed through counting and number activities.

Eye-hand coordination is enhanced through cutting, pasting, sewing, pegboards, hammering, and art materials such as clay, crayons, chalk, and paint.

Social skills emerge as the children learn to separate from home and function in the toddler community.

The Toddler playground offers an outdoor environment specifically created for this age group.  It provides for the toddlers to run, jump, swing, slide and enjoy the outdoors in a safe, fenced-in area on the school grounds.


In short, the Toddler class provides a warm, nurturing, stimulating environment specifically tailored to the needs of 18 month to 3-year-olds.

Half-day Toddler classes meet from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-3:30 p.m. Day care is available for enrolled children between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

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