Ages: 18 months to 3.5 years
The first few years of a child's life are crucial to his/her personality and intellectual development. Toddlers need not only love and emotional nurturance in a healthy, physical environment, but also an environment that promotes his/her very real need to learn. The school environment is the curriculum.
The purpose of the Toddler Program at Gibbons Park Montessori School is to encourage, assist and protect the normal development of each child and prepare him/her for the Casa program. The prepared environment helps each child foster his/her basic needs for independence, exploration and the building of trust. The class size is small and inviting to make it feel like home for the youngest child. Support with Potty Learning is another main focus of our classroom.
The toddler classroom is filled with Montessori sensorial materials which aid in the development of visual, tactile, auditory discrimination while also giving the child an opportunity to expand and enhance his/her vocabulary. A foundation for mathematical concepts is also found in these materials as the toddlers work at sequencing and building activities.
Physical and Motor
Through song, dance and freedom of choice, the toddlers have access to a variety of large muscle activities that offer them opportunities to jump, climb, balance, crawl, and skip. These exercises as well as creative art activities are offered for each child to choose. Fine motor skills are increased through work with small manipulatives in the classroom. This freedom in a safe place is crucial to the toddler program. However, it is tempered by two important limits that will be beneficial for a lifetime respect for others and respect for the environment.
Toddlers absorb language from the time they are born and during the second year they begin to speak and demand to know the vocabulary for everything in their environment. It is important during this period to give proper vocabulary to everything the child may come in to contact with. In the toddler classroom we are constantly providing vocabulary for each item or concept the children experience. Stories, songs, calendar study and classified vocabulary cards all increase this skill in the toddlers.
Toddlers thrive on independence. We want to foster a sense of self confidence and independence by “helping them help themselves”. The children will care for their environment by learning many practical life skills such as sweeping, rolling a mat, watering a plant and wiping a table. They will also gain the skills needed to care for themselves such as dressing and undressing, wiping noses, washing hands etc. . . . Grace and Courtesy is also an important part of the toddler curriculum: table manners, saying "thank you", "please", and other kind words.
Like our Casa program we encourage appreciation and understanding of other cultures and people. The children will be given a brief introduction to the continents through songs pictures and artwork. We will also introduce a new artist and composer each month. Children will experience the masters and the masterpieces from different parts of the world and listen to samples of music from a variety of composers. To give the children an appreciation of the world around them we also study animals, plants and other parts of nature.