“Little children, from the moment they are weaned, are making their way toward independence” – Maria Montessori
Our Toddler Program is designed for 12 month to 24 month olds. Toddlers are introduced to age appropriate Montessori materials and they are invited to make choices from a variety of activities designed to support their growth and needs. With toddlers, we focus on the development of basic trust while supporting their emerging sense of self. Independence and order are encouraged, and self-confidence is enhanced through social and learning experiences. Music, movement, food preparation, snack, toilet-training, choices and outdoor play are all part of the daily routine for toddlers at WMS.
From birth through three years of age, young children are characterized by the ability to learn ‘unconsciously’. Our teachers are aware of the developmental needs of toddlers and we provide activities designed to support the learning of sequence & ordering, basic language concepts and fine motor control.
Order & Sequence Development
Sequence and order are important in establishing a sense of routine, developing more advanced organizational skills, and even in developing reading skills (reading and word formation is done left to right). We use activities that help toddlers develop a sense of sequence and order such as “stacking cups” which is an activity involving size comparison and arrangement by size. Snack is also presented in such a way as to incorporate order and sequence. New toddlers begin a few steps at a time, with the teacher offering only as much help as is necessary.
Language is extremely important to toddlers; it helps them build a link to the environment and the people around them. Toddlers want to know the names of everything and, for this reason, we include many concrete and abstract language activities throughout their classrooms. Language cards are a very popular activity and we have many sets available for children to choose and use.
When introducing language to toddlers, teachers use the ‘three period lesson’. At first, teachers simply name objects for the child. Later, teachers ask the child to show us the previously named object. And finally, teachers ask the child “What is this?” In addition to the above technique, we also place a strong emphasis on conversation, songs and books to help develop language skill.
Fine Motor Development
Development of fine motor skill is another area of emphasis in the toddler classroom. Puzzles are a great tool to help children learn how to manipulate objects and we have a large selection available so children always have something new to try as their interests change. In addition to puzzles, many practical life activities are promoted in this development area such as learning to control scissors and learning to hold writing utensils in the “pincer grasp.”
Each Toddler classroom is especially designed to provide a beautiful, nurturing environment for your child’s first experience away from home. The furniture is child-sized and the materials are meticulously maintained and carefully chosen to meet the developmental needs of children at this age.
The daily schedule is intentionally unobtrusive and provides plenty of opportunities for learning, cuddling, napping, or socializing. The children spend time both indoors and outdoors (weather permitting), and the teachers are well-qualified to observe and respect the individual needs and temperaments of each child.