Beginning with Montessori
Montessori Toddler programs offer so much more than childcare. The classroom design fosters your young child’s emerging independence and desire for exploration. The environments are designed to promote your child’s growth in all areas of development. Additionally, Montessori Infant & Toddler programs provide support and guidance for families through programs that may include parent education and parent/child group experiences.
During the first 3 years of life, your child develops more rapidly than at any other time. During this phase, your child absorbs large amounts of information from the environment through observation and experiences. These are the years that lay the foundation for later learning—and the stronger the foundation, the more the child will be able to build upon it.
Overview Video of our Montessori Toddler Experience
What Will Your Child Learn?
Montessori Infant & Toddler programs offer a curriculum that emerges from each child’s unique skills and interests. Based on daily observations, teachers introduce new materials and activities that pique curiosity and stimulate learning. Learning objectives for your child at this age include developing skills such as language, concentration, problem solving, visual discrimination, and physical coordination.
The routines of everyday living are the foundation of Montessori Infant & Toddler programs. Activities promote independence, order, coordination, and concentration, as well as support social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. These learning activities are included below.
A Toddler Class (18 months – age 3)
A Montessori classroom for toddlers safely supports your child’s drive to do things alone, developing confidence and a sense of competence. The environment is language-rich, with adults using proper nomenclature rather than baby talk so that the children are exposed to and develop a broad vocabulary. Adults also support toddlers in communicating with each other. A range of books allows children to explore on their own or read aloud with an adult.
In this learning environment, children work independently, observe others, explore freely, and express their curiosity and creativity. A self-care area fosters toilet awareness and independence in maintaining personal hygiene (such as learning how to wipe one’s nose and wash hands independently). A sleeping area with individual floor beds/mats that allows toddlers to exercise autonomy in preparing for rest and allows them to get up independently once rested. There is also an area for gross motor activities to help children coordinate their movements, and low tables that enable them to help prepare, serve, eat, and clean up their snacks and meals.
Caring for the Environment by Plant Washing
The Montessori Classroom Environment for Infants & Toddlers
Explore through discovery
A Montessori environment for very young children gives your infant or toddler the freedom to safely explore and learn through discovery. The setting is calm, inviting, and homelike, with soft rugs, a rocking chair, books arrayed on low shelves and toys in baskets. Colors are muted, the atmosphere peaceful. The space is organized, clean, and uncluttered.
The classroom is a community in which respect for the independence and character of your child is paramount. Caregivers are consistently calm, gentle, soft-spoken, patient, and trusting. They demonstrate respect and compassion by using eye contact, kneeling to the level of the child, addressing your children by name, and speaking before touching or moving them. The result is a calm, soothing atmosphere in which consistent caregivers create an emotional safe haven for those in their care.
Learning materials, such as the ones in the photos on this page, are easily accessible. These materials are designed to foster concentration, problem solving, and a sense of achievement. Children select the material that interests them, use it for as long as they would like, clean it up (with assistance when needed), and make another choice.
Equipment that supports gross and fine motor skills, such as low ladders with railings for children who are just learning to walk, are available for toddlers to try. Child-sized furniture, utensils, and other tools enable children to make independent choices and complete activities, which builds self-confidence, concentration, and critical thinking skills.
Montessori Learning Materials
While Dr. Maria Montessori did not develop learning materials for infants and toddlers, some have subsequently been designed in the spirit of her work. The materials go far beyond plastic squeak toys for chewing on and plastic blocks for banging together. Rather, they offer authentic and meaningful learning experiences.