INFANT & TODDLER MONTESSORI
Starting children in a Montessori education early yields incredible long-term benefits, as children learn more from birth to 3 years old than any other stage of development. The Montessori infant environment is safe and nurturing, perfect for the rapidly developing minds of these young learners. The ultimate goal of the infant and toddler Montessori classroom is to foster the child’s growing desire for independence and exploration.
The first duty of the educator, whether he is involved with the newborn infant or an older child, is to recognize the human personality of the young being and respect it.
CORE ELEMENTS OF INFANT & TODDLER MONTESSORI EDUCATION
The Learning Environment
The Infant & Toddler Montessori Classrooms introduce developmental activities in a warm, caring & safe environment. The daily schedule balances routine with the flexible interests of children age infant-2 years old. The teacher prepares and maintains an inviting learning environment that is not only beautiful, but meets the ever changing needs of the child. Infant movement is never inhibited by bouncers or seats. Balancing freedom and discipline within the Montessori environment helps intrinsically motivate a child's life-long love of learning.
The Montessori Teacher is educated in human growth and development, as well as teaching strategies that support and facilitate the unique growth of each individual child. By treating the child with dignity, the teacher acts as a guide linking students to the environment. The teacher recognizes and supports sensitive periods in the child’s development.
The Infant & Toddler Montessori material acts as an aid for the child’s total development with sequential components that help children learn at an age appropriate pace. By fostering psycho-sensory motor development, the child’s natural progression of development unfolds by sharpening and fine-tuning their senses, helping them reach their full potential. The hands-on approach also helps young children learn how to problem solve.
Moving through sensitive periods from Infant/Toddler to Early Childhood begins with focusing on the foundational building blocks of language, order, small objects, toilet learning, grace and courtesy, motor development, self-help skills, independence and building trust. These components are necessary for learning concentration, coordination, and order when moving into the primary Montessori school setting. Weekly and monthly extension programs such as Animal Science, Spanish, Music, and Gross Motor Skills are embedded in the Country Day World School program and provided to all students.
Designed to simulate purposeful tasks in everyday life, Practical Life lessons hone important psycho-socio development skills that also give children a strong sense of purpose and meaning. Helping themselves and their environment includes, but is not limited to, Toileting, Care of Environment, Nourishment, Grace & Courtesy, Conflict Resolution, Food Preparation. For example, our young students learn to pour their own drinks and sweep up their messes, which helps hone fine-motor and practical life skills.
The prepared environment is tranquil yet rich in Montessori materials with visual, auditory and tactile appeal in mind. The sensorial materials allow the child to explore their environment in a concrete way. Children will clarify, classify and define materials using all five senses. Sense of order requires opportunity for repetition and refinement of senses such as taste, smell, sound and touch. This also provides an introduction to early numeracy skills, such as one to one correspondence and basic counting.
Visual: Moving from Broad Stair
to Knobbed Cylinders to Pink Tower
to Red Rods and Counting Trays
Auditory: Sound Cylinders
Haptic: Rough & Smooth Boards
to Thermic Bottles
Olfactory and gustatory: Smelling
and Tasting Bottles
Stereognostic: Mystery Bag
Fine & Gross Motor
The Infant & Toddler Montessori environment is set up to allow for the freedom of movement. Repetitive activities refine skills and promote hand eye coordination. Opportunities to refine fine motor skills, such as the pincer grip, are practiced in all areas of the classroom. Areas to practice gross motor skills that promote the continuation of a child’s developing confidence, core strength, concentration and dexterity are found both inside and outside the classroom.
Laying firm foundational skills fostering the development of speech and writing helps children succeed as they move from the prelinguistic to linguistic phase of development. The Montessori Method supports language development by modeling oral language, reading books, using American Sign Language and music, as well as providing an enriching language environment. The functional material pairs with a child's perceptiveness and capacity.