The toddler years at Montessori Tides School are for exploring; seeing; touching; hearing; establishing trust; developing language skills; and taking the first steps toward independence.
For more than 25 years, our observation-based toddler program has been a learning environment that responds to the developmental needs of early childhood. It was Maria Montessori who first understood, “Little children, from the moment they are weaned, are making their way toward independence.” The child’s need to be independent, is the strongest drive of a toddler. While working to achieve it, Children have fun practicing and mastering new skills through the “exercises of practical life”. Most of the activities found in the Montessori Practical Life area of the classroom fit into one of three categories: care of self; care of the environment; or grace and courtesy. As you might have guessed, care of self involves things such as learning to dress and groom oneself. Care of the environment includes things such as dusting, sweeping, table washing, and care of plants and animals. Grace and courtesy focuses on basic manners, general kindness and respect toward others.
When it comes to arranging an environment that is practical, functional and inviting for the developing toddler, the opportunities are endless. Ms. Johanna’s Practical Life shelf includes this work that encompasses the whole child.
Work involving the transfer of items from one dish to another are beautifully displayed and purposed for independent functioning. These exercises generally involve two dishes and a spoon with which to transfer items. Ms. Johanna changes the activities frequently to provide variety and maintain interest to refine skills. Objects suitable for transferring include shells, balls, corks, or cotton balls. Transferring items from dish to dish develops control of small finger muscles to prepare children for writing, and it prepares them to use their skills in serving themselves at lunch and snack time.