Ages 3 months - 18 monthsInfant Curriculum
The beautiful Montessori Infant classroom is a special environment meant to replicate the home where children are met with warmth, love, care and respect. The adults in the classroom aid the child as they develop hand-eye coordination, grasping skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, language, and coordination of their body through movement. Our peaceful and loving environments have developmentally appropriate materials and activities that support the child through each stage of infant growth. Because we “follow the child,” we provide a variety of environments where infants can explore based upon their curiosity and mobility. More learning takes place in the first two years than at any other time in a child’s life. The brain develops rapidly, and this growth is aided by the child’s physical experiences. The Montessori approach provides a specially “prepared environment” as infants explore the wonders of their ever-widening world.
Gross motor skills are the ability to make large body movements like rolling over, pull along with arms, crawling and walking. Fine motor skills are the ability to make small, detailed movements with hands and fingers. Use of motor activities helps develop hand-eye coordination, visual acuity and manual dexterity.
Social activities help the child to recognize emotions in others. For the infant, this is the beginning of communication through imitation, making sounds and smiling. Self-awareness and problem solving occur through social activities.
The infant takes in most of her information through the five senses. Activities designed to provide stimulation of the senses are provided through materials, songs and experiences.
The ability to focus and think are opportunities provided by problem solving activities, encouraging the child’s natural curiosity and offering matching materials and a variety of sizes and shapes. Infants quickly develop the ability to pay attention to many kinds of information at once. They learn how to perceive differences and details around them, and they quickly become used to something new.
Practical Life Skills
Allowing each child to participate in the everyday workings of the classroom shows the child is a valued and needed member of the community. This work develops independence and competence. Older infants will practice washing hands and face, wipe up a spill and care for the environment.
Communication has been developing since birth. Sign language, listening skills, producing sounds, and interactions all help to develop language. Sign language helps the child to express needs in a non-verbal manner. Songs, rhymes, stories and conversation guide the child to learning language.
Ages 18 months - 36 monthsToddler Curriculum
The Montessori Toddler environment is carefully prepared to aid the toddler in achieving independence. Children who are now comfortably walking leave the nest and move to a space that fits their growing physical needs. There is minimal furniture, maximum natural life, selected art placed low on the walls, and defined spaces to challenge the coordination of movement. We strive in the Toddler environment to encourage social interaction with other children, enhance the development of language and self-help skills, and music and movement activities. The curriculum also includes activities that allow the young child to develop fine and gross motor coordination and visual discrimination through the senses and learning materials.
The structure of the Toddler program supports developing confidence as each child learns to hang up their own coat, pour their own water, and clean up their own spills. An emerging conviction of “I can do it” grows within the child as they explore their learning environment and engage with a wide range of educational materials designed just for them.
The Toddler program is an environment prepared to meet the developmental needs and high energy levels of children who are transitioning from toddler to preschooler. Of particular importance in this program is preparation of children for the larger works of the Early Childhood classroom with a focus on self-care including grace and courtesy, internal self-discipline and the ability to make choices in the classroom.
Practical life activities encourage the child to take care of the environment with size-appropriate tools. The children care for the outside environment through gardening activities and for the inside environment through dusting, mopping, sweeping and washing dishes. The toddler is also directed to take care of himself by washing hands, hanging up clothing, managing personal items and toileting.
The toddler is encouraged to explore books and perform various jobs that ultimately increase his ability to concentrate and work independently while creating foundations for learning.
The toddler is refining both fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are heightened through practical life activities such as pouring, sorting, etc. Gross motor skills are heightened in physical activities like rhythm/music movement and outdoor play.
Language activities are developing at a rapid rate during the toddler years. Sandpaper letters help the child learn the phonetics of the alphabet. Naming cards and matching introduce foundations for alphabet and language. Stories, finger plays, singing, and spontaneous conversation time encourage both social and language skills.
The toddler uses hands-on materials for learning concrete math concepts. The toddler begins to understand number concepts, both quantity and symbol, and the meaning of zero. The child also begins to understand language used in performing simple single-digit addition.
The toddler is able to discover and explore the world around them through their five senses.
The toddler learns about the environment through the use of “trial and error.”
Lessons in geography introduce the concept of a globe and create a framework for whole-world to self-world learning.
The toddler is able to use various materials to express creativity and to enhance fine motor skills. Language skills are further reinforced through the child’s description of the art and its personal meaning. Social skills particular to gift-giving are introduced and coordinated with traditional holidays.
The use of sign language in the toddler program helps the child express needs in a non-verbal manner. This can help reduce the frustration level of the child who is in the earliest stages of verbal expression.