We strive to offer the predictability and structure that toddlers need, while allowing for freedom of choice and creativity in a prepared environment. In our classrooms the children learn to navigate the world of choices, friends, structure, freedom, and responsibility with great confidence, purpose and joy.
The toddler community has three classrooms. We have a range in age in our classrooms. This provides the opportunity for the children to learn from each other as well as the opportunity for the older children to act as leaders.
The prepared environment within each classroom changes with the age of the children in the room. The age range in our classrooms is approximately:
» BAMBINO I: 12 – 22 MONTHS
» BAMBINO II: 22 – 30 MONTHS
» PRE-PRIMARY: 2 – 3 ½ YEARS
The Prepared Toddler Environment
The classroom reflects the child’s development in the areas of independence, practical life skills, language skills, gross and fine motor skills, and sensory exploration. Your child’s independence is encouraged in every routine throughout the day. Because the Montessori method recognizes that children love to do things for themselves, the prepared toddler environment is arranged so that children can do just that.
The classroom has low shelves, enabling the children to choose what they want to work on at their own pace throughout the day, as well as low tables and chairs. A Learning Tower enables children to wash their hands with assistance. Because the teachers encourage the children’s participation in their daily routines of care, the children learn skills such as how to wipe up a spill, how to wash their hands, how to dress themselves, and how to sweep the floor. The children help set the table for meals and wash their dishes after they are finished eating. They also begin potty training when they are ready.
The Montessori classroom is always changing, as the materials (referred to as “work”) available on the shelves are changed on a weekly/bi-weekly basis to reflect changes in the children themselves. The work is carefully chosen based on Lead’s Teachers observations of what the children are interested in and ready for. Observation of the children allows for the Lead Teacher to introduce skills or concepts to individual children when they are experiencing a special interest (what Maria Montessori identified as a “sensitive period”) in a particular concept (for example, a child showing interest in learning how to write). As the children are able to learn what they are individually interested in, they develop a love of learning that will provide a strong foundation for the pre-school years and beyond.
The Lead Teacher develops a classroom lesson plan that outlines a unit and secondary unit of study for the week. Activities, books, songs, and art opportunities are planned to introduce the unit of study.
In addition to the classroom lesson plan, the Lead Teacher prepares an individual lesson plan each week for each child. The individual lesson plan outlines the skills or concepts the Lead Teacher will introduce or work on with the child that week. The following includes examples of what may be included on an individual lesson plan:
» Manners and social responsibility
» Practical life skills
» Independently completing a daily routine
» Language development
» Fine motor work
» Work that introduces colors, numbers, shapes, sizes, or letters
» Advanced work that introduces writing letters and words, math concepts including addition and subtraction, learning colors and numbers in Spanish, telling time, etc
La Montessori Nurtury’s toddler classrooms maintain a 1:4 ratio for classrooms with children under the age of two and a 1:6 ratio for classrooms with children two and older.
Each classroom has a Montessori-certified Lead Teacher that is the supervisor for the classroom and the main point of contact for parent communication regarding your child. Assistant Teachers are given on-site Montessori training during their first week of work as well as ongoing training at staff meetings. Prior to hiring a potential new assistant teacher, a classroom interview is also conducted in order to determine whether the candidate is a good fit for our center.
The toddler day begins with a time for free play during early morning arrivals. Breakfast is served family style at 8:30 a.m. During this early morning drop off time, the children are free to choose activities of their choice.
After breakfast the toddlers have an uninterrupted morning work cycle during which they are able to choose from the available prepared materials, and the Lead Teacher can observe and work with children individually. The work cycle is followed by time outside and a group line time. During line time, the children develop language skills and enjoy reading stories, singing songs, and discussing topics related to the classroom’s unit of study.
Lunch is served at approximately 11:15 a.m., and the toddlers are served family style at small tables and chairs. Lunchtime is a learning time while the children practice pouring and serving themselves and develop their language skills as they learn to ask for more, say please, etc. Next, the children have a quiet rest time on a cot, which usually lasts until approximately 2:30 p.m.
The afternoon time includes a snack, outdoor time, and child-directed play.
In summary, the main goal for our toddler classrooms is to establish a warm, nurturing atmosphere that offers creative, stimulating, and enjoyable activities that meet the needs of the children. Community and group interaction, independence, and freedom to explore are encouraged within a structured environment.