Engaging and Encouraging From the Beginning
The earliest years of a child’s life are critical to the development of personality and intellect. Dr. Montessori was one of the first educators to recognize this. During their toddler years, children use their bodies, their senses, and their emerging problem-solving skills to interact with everything around them, making sense of the world in their own meaningful and effective ways. It is at this point in time where a child's verbal communication skills expand greatly, and through demonstrations and materials in the classroom they can improve their vocabulary and gain a higher understanding of language.
Every aspect of the Montessori curriculum develops certain skills within a child. Nevertheless, there is an intertwining dynamic within each focus, which overall enhances their natural learning process to its utmost potential.
Pre-Primary (Toddler ages 16-36 months) children who are 16-36 months on the first day of school. Toilet training is not required for this level.
The focus of Practical Life in the Montessori classroom prepares students for all areas outside of school life. The emphasis here is "process", rather than "product". Through the repetition of Practical Life activities, children develop and refine basic skills that will serve them all their lives. Our pre-primary classrooms offer early Practical Life exercises, such as dressing frames, hanging their coats, dusting, setting the table, pouring, opening and closing, spooning, bead stringing, polishing and large water activities. These activities are aimed at enhancing a child’s development of fine motor control, hand-eye coordination, balance, sense of order, concentration and independence.
Around the age of two, a child undergoes extremely rapid speech development, and makes this well known with a constant mouthful of words, which are soon followed by sentences. The focus on language in our toddler classrooms encourage the refinement and enrichment of communication, as well as begin a child's path towards writing and reading. Early oral exercises like storytelling and reading aloud support the student’s need to be immersed in language. Activities include books, puzzles, naming objects like fruits, vegetables and animals, and beginning sound games.
All of us learn and shape our understanding of the world through our senses. This is especially true for younger children who are just starting to take in and understand the world around them. Sensorial activities assist toddlers with organizing, integrating and learning about their sensory input. Sensorial materials include Knobbed Cylinders for practice with dimension, color paddles, tactile exercises like "Rough and Smooth", musical equipment, sorting and shapes.
To help prepare the mathematical mind, toddlers are exposed to the world of numbers through counting games and concrete materials. These exercises encourage the development of important pre-math skills such as order, sequences, visual discrimination, sorting, one-to-one correspondence and directional knowledge. Toddler math activities include stacking and nesting cubes, number blocks and puzzles, as well as sorting and counting materials.
Toddlers and Primary children are exposed to the sounds and rhythms of Spanish through games, songs, and activities. Lessons initially include counting, colors, and basic vocabulary.
Toddlers enjoy music classes and begin to learn concepts such as beat, meter, and rhythm. Toddlers learn to use their bodies with the rhythm of the music.
From their infant years all the way through middle school, children and students alike participate in regular physical education classes during the day. They practice moving their bodies and developing their gross motor skills.