Dr. Montessori’s discovery of the absorbent mind of the child from birth through six years was a vital contribution to education. She realized that the child’s mind unconsciously absorbs impressions from the environment. In this way, the children accumulate the material, which will later build up their conscious life.
In the Toddler Community the major task of the adult is to help the child towards functional independence: physical, emotional, and intellectual. As the adult enables the child to recognize him/herself as separate from the adult, the child begins to gain a clearer sense of self. Through activities, which help the child develop control, the child gains greater self-confidence.
The child at this age is especially sensitive to the acquisition of their language and culture. Lessons involving stories, books, songs, picture cards, objects and contact with the natural world are all incorporated into the curriculum to help develop the child’s oral language. Since this is usually the child’s first contact with other children, this is also a time for them to learn how to participate cooperatively in a group. Social harmony is achieved through helping the children learn how to move purposefully, put materials away and not interfere with another’s activity.