The Toddler Curriculum
Within the Montessori setting, Practical Life activities hold a central role, acting as a cornerstone for a child's comprehensive development. These activities revolve around everyday life processes, empowering children to acquire and refine crucial life skills. Naturally, children are drawn to tasks they've observed, igniting their eagerness to emulate and actively engage in daily routines. By involving children in their daily lives, we not only affirm their significance as integral family members but also cultivate their self-assurance and competence. Moreover, these activities foster the development of fine and gross motor skills, enhance eye-hand coordination, nurture concentration, improve balance, and deepen their understanding of sequencing. It is not uncommon to witness children astonishing adults with their authentic focus and achievements in challenging tasks.
Maria Montessori's vision was to offer young children a robust foundation for understanding the tangible world around them. Through immersive, genuine encounters with the natural world, children engage in a comprehensive sensory learning experience. Activities like tending to plants and animals, as well as recognizing the various life forms that share our outdoor environments, lay the essential groundwork for their future understanding and appreciation.
These explorations and intellectual connections awaken toddlers' curiosity, akin to the inquisitiveness of young scientists continually investigating their surroundings. In the end, this process bestows upon them a broader comprehension of nature and the universe.
Science & Nature Education
As the child begins to explore and move independently, the concept of duality emerges. This duality extends to the body, where the child recognizes the presence of two hands, two arms, two eyes, and two ears.
Within the Montessori approach, a range of oral counting gems and didactic materials is employed to introduce toddlers to the world of numbers. In the prepared environments, many foundational pre-mathematical skills are nurtured. These include the development of order, the understanding of directionality, the ability to discriminate visually, and the mastery of sequencing within various activities. Several Montessori materials in the mathematics section are organized in sets of ten, subtly immersing children in the base ten system of numeration without them consciously realizing it.
From the earliest stages of life, infants begin to engage their senses, including hearing, even before birth. Maria Montessori referred to the period from birth to six years as the "sensory explorer" stage. During this time, the child's profound fascination with sensory experiences drives them to learn, observe, and refine their senses.
Sensory exercises serve the purpose of educating and honing the child's senses through the use of specially designed sensory materials. These exercises help the child develop the skills of observation, comparison, judgment, reasoning, and classification of objects. Our educational environment places a strong emphasis on fostering and developing a range of senses.
Music & Movement
Music and movement are inseparable companions. When exposed to music, children's bodies instinctively respond with motion. This natural response not only fosters auditory discrimination and enhances memory but also enriches their visual perception and language skills.
Movement offers a canvas for symbolic expression, problem-solving, and spatial awareness, opening doors to developmental opportunities. Within this framework, children cultivate skills such as coordination, balance, gross motor proficiency, and self-awareness.
In the infant-toddler environment, music and movement activities encompass a range of engaging experiences, including singing songs, exploring diverse musical genres, dancing with scarves and ribbons, practicing yoga, and experimenting with musical instruments
Toddlers possess a keen awareness of the intricacies within their surroundings, and introducing them to the world of art enhances their visual perception. Art serves as a means of personal expression, allowing toddlers in our Montessori environments to access a diverse array of tools for creative expression. It is crucial to emphasize that the significance lies in the process of the activity rather than the final product.
Art activities for toddlers are intentionally kept simple and exploratory. They typically involve just one or two steps, ensuring that the focus remains on the experience of creating rather than the end result.
Typically, we observe a significant surge in language acquisition around the age of two. This phase usually begins with the mastery of new single words, starting with nouns and then progressing to verbs, followed by the emergence of short sentences.
What follows is a remarkable display of a child's creativity as they select words to convey their thoughts and meanings. Conversations become more frequent, albeit sometimes tinged with frustration. Given that a single word can hold multiple meanings, it becomes our responsibility to decipher and expand upon a child's intended message.
Within the Montessori approach, we design environments that facilitate successful communication for toddlers, recognizing this as a particularly sensitive period for language acquisition.