Is there an option for my child to stay longer than 11:30am in the Toddler Community program?
The TC Program is only a half day program and there is not an extended day option for children enrolled in this particular program.
Do parents attend the Toddler Community program with the child?
The Toddler program is a drop-off program and parents do not attend class nor need to stay on site during the class time. To help children with the transition to school and with separation, a phase in process is put in place before your child officially starts school to help ease them into the classroom experience. This process involves a home visit from your child’s teacher, an individualized mini-visit to the classroom, and a slow start schedule for the children the week school begins.
What does a typical day look like for a child in the Toddler Community program?
Children arrive around 8:30am and are allowed to choose their own activities or “work.” The teacher gives the child an individualized presentation of the work so that the child understands its purpose. Children move from one activity to the next at their own pace, rather than the adult directing them from stations. The classroom is seen as an extension of the home and children are able to move about freely, in a safe and productive manner, to explore and engage with the various materials and contribute to the classroom community in purposeful ways. Children help to prepare the community snack and will gather mid-morning to transition into this shared meal-time. Throughout the morning, children are encouraged to use the toilet but are not required to be toilet-trained. At the end of the morning, children will often participate in a gathering to sing songs, dance, or read a book before the transition to go home.
Can you elaborate on some of the activities and materials the children will be working with in the Toddler Community classroom?
Children in this program begin at the age of 2 years old and may turn 3 at some point in the school year. The classroom is designed for children to learn through movement and hands-on exploration. Children are active explorers and the classroom environment is prepared with much thought to this age group specifically. Independence is fostered by providing purposeful work through everyday activities such as preparing food, polishing, table-scrubbing, and practicing self care skills such as dressing, undressing, toileting, hand-washing. Large and small motor skills are refined through stimulating materials such as drawing, painting, cloth-washing, puzzles, and beading. All the activities the children work on serve both a direct and indirect purpose. For example, a child who chooses to make biscuits is indirectly building his hand muscles as he kneeds the dough. Children love to be a purposeful member of the community, and their everyday experiences in our Montessori programs allows them to have this need fulfilled.
What opportunities are there for parents to be involved in the program?
There are a few different ways parents are involved in the program, with the goal of learning more about Montessori and how you can support your child’s development. Parents are encouraged to attend evening parent education meetings several times throughout the school year to learn about Montessori philosophy, child development, and gain practical parenting tips. These meetings are casual, supportive, and informative. A few times in the year, parents are invited into the classroom. Parents are invited for an Open House, as well as special visiting days just for Mom or Dad or another guest. Parents are also encouraged to observe in their child’s class at least once in the school year to see the classroom in action.