“The most important period of life is not the age of university studies but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six…at no other age has the child greater need of intelligent help.” -Dr. Maria Montessori
Our toddler program reflects the importance accorded to this time in a child’s life, and the respect and dignity with which he should be treated. The activities and schedule are designed to help the toddler:
- Develop abilities to concentrate and to be patient
- Develop abilities to be independent
- Develop skills of self-discipline and self-control
- Develop emerging social skills
Community of Learners
All of these skills and abilities are approached developmentally. The same sets of behaviors are not expected from an 18-month-old in the same way they are from a 3 year old, because the 18-month-old is probably not developmentally ready. However, the multi-age classroom allows the younger children to observe these behaviors, which leads to mimicking, and eventually learning, while it simultaneously offers the older children the opportunity to be role-models for the younger, an excellent means to reinforce appropriate behaviors.
Self-Reliance & Independence
In the toddler classroom, the children are taught how to do work on their own. This is in contrast to the emphasis of many preschools where too much is done for the child. Children begin, even at this age, to learn how to solve problems on their own – to learn how to learn. As they are able, they are responsible for the care of their environment. The skills they learn in this area, called Practical Life exercises, accomplish more than just the obvious, however. For example, when a toddler learns to clean a table, he is also developing a sense of order, and working on his ability to concentrate and to follow a complex series of steps.
Kindness & Respect
Finally, the atmosphere is always one of kindness and respect. The children learn to respect the work and space of others. The teachers recognize that the innate dignity of the toddler and treat him accordingly.
Adapted from the website www.MontessoriConnections.com. Used with permission