Toddler Montessori Curriculum
Montessori Scholars Academy offers the Montessori curriculum during the Toddler Years (approximately 18 and 36 months of age). Children in this level form a community and have ample opportunities for social experience with peers younger and older than them. The pillars of the Toddler Curriculum are the strong link between physical activities and intellectual development, as well as the pursuit of independence, all within a nurturing, safe and loving environment.
The classroom offers opportunities in the following areas:
Practical Life:- Great emphasis is placed on the development of the child’s practical life skills. This portion of the curriculum includes activities such as lacing, spooning, pouring, food preparation and scooping. The child is offered work with wet and dry ingredients, as well as with different textures. The Practical Life area is designed to help develop their attention span and focus, gross motor skills, spatial awareness and hand-eye coordination. The activities shared in the Practical Life area are also opportunities for development of a child’s social skills due to the constant interaction with their peers.
Although at this stage children are perfecting their gross motor skills, many of the Practical Life area work materials allow for growth and refinement of fine motor skills as well. Parents will notice that their children will start caring for self and the environment, by trying to clean up, dress and preparing food by themselves.
Language:- Montessori Scholars Academy’s Toddler curriculum understands that language acquisition happens everywhere in the environment, and this is why language development for children in the toddler classroom is not limited only to the Language area. Guides read to the children often through the day. In this classroom, the toddler is introduced to the Sand Paper letters, one letter at any given time associated with an object from the shelf. This way, there is always a strong reinforcement between the sound, the symbol and the tangible object. Conversation skills are developed by the use of other materials such as the Globe and the Barn with animals. Children gain knowledge, vocabulary and language components. Growth and development of language is achieved by repetition of activities, so toddler children often use and reuse the same materials many times. In the repetition, they seek mastery of the skill, and at the same time build their confidence.
Sensorial:- The Toddler Community is offered basin and simple materials, such as the color tablets, stairs, knobbed cylinder blocks, geometric tray and solids, brown stairs and the pink tower. The brown stairs and the pink tower allow the toddler to classify from thickest to thinnest and from smallest to biggest. The geometric tray and solids helps the child learn the basic shapes. The color tablets help the child identify the different colors, while also teaching him/her how to match. The knobbed cylinder blocks help the child develop his/her pincer grip while learning to sort based on size.
Math:- The sand paper numbers are presented in the toddler environment with the purpose of developing numeral recognition. This is done in progressive sequence, so only a few sand paper numbers will be available on the shelves at the beginning, to allow for mastery before advancement to other numbers. Counting, numeral and quantity recognition are basic math skills developed in this classroom by practicing counting activities, in which concrete objects are used to match with the numbers being counted.
Art:- Objects and themes from nature are the focus of art in the Toddler Montessori room. Children are allowed to experiment with paint and sculpture using objects from nature wither as models or as tools. Children can collect leaves or flowers and utilize them in their works of art, or use them as inspiration. In a specific holiday or season, natural elements such as pumpkins, fall-colored leaves, hollies or fresh spring flowers, are options toddlers have to do art.
Free Play:- Weather permitting, children in this community play outside every day. This is crucial for the development of reflexes and muscle tone. When there is bad weather, children plan organized games with the guides inside, allowing ample opportunity for movement.
Grace and Courtesy: Good manners and positive behaviors are learned since the time of birth. In the toddler years, the Guides in the class model courtesy and grace, and expect good behavior from them. There are no punishments for misbehavior, but will be gently reinforced with the consequences of their actions. Their behavior is then redirected to something appropriate for the current frame of mind. Proper communication used by the teacher models the expected language. Children understand the expectation and learn respect through the limits set by their Guides. The teacher also gently insists upon the use of kind words such as “sorry”, “please” and “thank you”.