12 Months – 3 Years
Students are accepted into the Toddler program as early as 12 months (new students) or when assessed as sturdily walking from the Infant Nido. They remain in the program as developmentally appropriate until around the age of 3 years. When developmentally appropriate patterns are apparent (e.g., clear organization in work habits, impulse control), the students visit and transition into the Primary Montessori program. Each of the programs follows a similar model of transitioning students when they demonstrate developmental readiness, social-emotionally and cognitively.
Toddlers are encouraged to move freely between their inside and outside spaces. This fosters independence, yet guides have very trained eyes and know where all students are at all times.
Rest and inactivity are foreign to the toddler’s nature; something that every parent of a toddler knows first hand. The prepared toddler environment is a place where the very young child is able to act upon his natural energies and curiosity. We all know the toddler is in constant motion and objects just seem to leap up into his hands. The toddler is encouraged to touch and handle and explore everything in his surroundings. His attention span is limited, so the prepared environment provides a wide variety of materials. The child is given freedom in the indoor and the outdoor environments to select activities that satisfy his needs. We encourage this within appropriate limits.
We also encourage independence. The toddler wants to do things by himself. Unfortunately, in today’s hurry-up pace, there is not always time or patience to allow the small child to complete the job at hand all by himself. The toddler prepared environment and program are designed to be convenient for the child. The prepared toddler environment is his place, a place to feel at ease and at home. It is our aim, as the aware adult, to remove the obstacles that frustrate the child by building furnishings to his size and having materials at his arm’s reach and at his eye level.
The work the toddlers do in this room prepares them to advance to the Primary level with the skills they need to succeed.