Mountainside’s Toddler Program is designed for the child who is 18 to 36 months old. Our specially prepared indoor and outdoor environment helps the young Toddler to become an independent and engaged learner. Young children go through sensitive periods of intense interest and growth, particularly for order and language. The Toddler community supports this growth through movement, exploration, and social engagement.
THE TODDLER PROGRAM FOCUSES ON THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
Toddler students learn how to handle books and enjoy listening to a variety of stories and storytelling activities. Around the age of two, children’s speech development experiences an explosion of words, soon followed by sentences. The Language materials in the Toddler classroom encourage the refinement and enrichment of language as the first steps on the road to writing and finally reading. Early Language materials and oral exercises like storytelling and reading aloud support the Toddler’s need to be immersed in language. The Toddler Guide and Assistant involve the children in using accurate language, including using words to resolve conflicts. Activities also include books, puzzles, naming objects like fruits, vegetables and animals.
To help prepare the mathematical mind, Toddlers are exposed to the world of math through their interaction with games and concrete materials. These exercises encourage the development of important pre-math skills such as order, sequence, visual discrimination, sorting, one-to-one correspondence and directionality. Toddler Math activities include stacking and nesting cubes, number blocks and puzzles, and sorting and counting materials.
Grace & Courtesy
There are four principles that Grace and Courtesy encompass: treating the child with respect, teaching the child to respect herself, teaching the child to treat others with respect, and teaching the child to treat her environment with respect. We speak to the children with soft voices and with mutual respect. We give the children freedom to choose their work and decide where they want to work, yet the guidelines and limits of the environment are understood by all. For example, a lesson should be put back where it came from before moving on to something new. Children are free to choose their work, but are not free to disturb the work of others. We call this “freedom with responsibility.”
Practical Life activities form the cornerstone of the Montessori classroom and prepare the child for all other areas. Through the repetition of Practical Life activities, children develop and refine the basic skills that will serve them all their lives. The Toddler classroom offers the early Practical Life exercises, such as Pouring oneself a glass of water, Cutting a piece of fruit for snack, and Washing the snack dishes after use. These activities are aimed at enhancing the child’s development of fine motor control, hand-eye coordination, balance, sense of order, concentration and independence. Because they are real work, they help the Toddler feel a sense of accomplishment.
The environment is prepared to support the developmental needs of the Toddler. Activities such as pouring, bead-stringing, pasting, cutting and sewing support the development of fine motor control. Throughout the day the Toddler students practice moving their bodies and developing their gross motor skills. Toddlers also have access to a covered porch and a large outdoor garden where they can climb custom built structures and engage in planned outdoor activities such as nature walks, running, climbing or visiting the animals on our Adolescent run farm.
At Mountainside, there is a lot of emphasis on the Care of Self. Toddlers learn important life skills such as: washing their hands, blowing their nose, independently dressing themselves, as well as, bathroom independence. Our trained staff supports the child in using the toilet and believes it is a very natural and gradual process that develops at the individual child’s pace.