TODDLER HOUSE

Children ages 18 months – 3 years meet from 8:30-11:30am.

Program choices include five-day (M-F),  or three-day (MTW or WRF). 

Maria Montessori, the creator of the Montessori Method, believed that children from birth through age six were the key to the development of human potential. Today, she is joined by a chorus of other voices from researchers to educators to strategically minded economists, each encouraging us to invest in the development and education of our very youngest children.

In the Toddlers’ House Program the beautiful environment and carefully chosen Montessori materials are designed to spark each child’s sense of wonder and to encourage a love of learning. Through observation and engagement with the children, the Certified Montessori teacher creates a responsive environment that meets the changing needs of each unique community of children.  This prepared environment offers them opportunities for quiet contemplation, joyful play, and the development of focused attention.

Visitors to the Toddlers’ House environment often comment on how large their adult bodies feel in the room.  This is because the space is designed so that each element is just the right size and shape for the small hands and bodies of very young children.  Imagine how wonderful it must feel for a toddler to finally have sinks and toilets that are easy to reach, tables and chairs at just the right height, and tools that don’t feel cumbersome in tiny hands.

Young children explore their world through all of their senses – observing, touching, tasting, listening, smelling, moving and constantly absorbing impressions of all that is offered.  The Toddlers’ House environment is filled with manipulative and sensorial materials that invite the child to explore and discover.   A variety of open ended art materials encourage self-expression and tactile exploration.  The beauty of both art and nature are integral to the environment both indoors and out.

Movement is crucial in an environment for children 18 months through three years of age who are in their sensorimotor stage of development.  Children are free to move from one area to another as they choose an activity, and all of the activities that the children may choose from involve some type of action.

Toddlers are socially becoming independent human beings.  To foster this newfound sense of independence, the environment provides many acceptable choices for the young child to make.  The slow pace of the toddler environment allows time for the child to do it herself.  One child, learning to pour, carefully sponges up her own spills.  Another, crows with excitement when he discovers he can put on his coat all by himself.  Learning self-care is an integral part of the young child’s routine at school.  The adults break complex skills such as toileting into small steps and give simple lessons that assist the children in becoming more successful.

In the Montessori environment children spend a good portion of the day in free activity.  Children have many opportunities to choose materials from the shelf and work alone or in small groups.  The freedom to move about and make choices creates an atmosphere which invites social interaction.  In the environment we do not provide one of each item for every child.  In fact scarcity of materials (two sets of markers instead of ten) is an important element in creating a community of children who interact and learn to resolve conflicts together.  Real sharing occurs every day when one small child is excited about digging, reading, singing or building with another.  The adults guide and support this community of children as they discover one another, learn to share space, negotiate conflict, and treat one another with kindness.

The toddler’s explosion into language is facilitated through an environment rich with songs, music, stories and conversation.  Vocabulary is enhanced through the exploration of objects and an array of naming, matching and sorting activities.

Giving children the words they need to express themselves is very important.  In the young child environment caregivers guide the children to use kind voices and gentle touches as they learn to communicate together.

Children demonstrate readiness for the Children’s House environment by showing effective communication skills, social emotional readiness, independence in dressing and toileting, and a strengthening of focused attention.

Toddlers go outside or in the gym each day for large muscle development and play activities including running, skipping, throwing balls, raking, shoveling, tumbling and jumping.