Toddler Community FAQ
Have questions about NNM's Toddler Community? Here are answers to a number of frequently asked questions:
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?
In both the 4 day and 5 day programs, children typically arrive around 8:30am and are allowed to choose their own activities or “work.” The teacher gives the child an individualized presentation of a purposeful work of the child’s interest or occasionally of the teacher’s choosing. Once a child understands the purpose of that work, the child can choose this work on their own for practice and repetition. On their own accord, children have the freedom to move from one activity to the next at their own pace, rather than the adult directing them. The classroom is seen as an extension of the home and children are able to move about freely, in a safe and productive manner. The environment is designed for children to explore and engage with various materials and contribute to the classroom community in purposeful ways. Children help to prepare the community snacks and enjoy mealtimes together as a group. 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 gather to sing songs, dance, read a books, and often will have time outdoors for recess!
After recess, half-day children transition to go home, while full day children return to their classroom for lunch. Hot lunch is catered to the school, and served family style. Children nap for approximately 2 hours, then enjoy an afternoon snack together. Children in the full day program, leave for the day at 3:30pm. For an additional cost, children can stay until 4:30pm or 5:30pm, and will have an extended work period and outdoor playtime during these times. At an additional cost, early care is also available as early as 7:30am, for children to have an optional cereal breakfast and begin their work morning in the classroom.
Can you elaborate on some of the activities and materials the children will be working with in the Toddler Community classroom?
The classrooms are thoughtfully prepared and designed for children to learn through movement and hands-on exploration. Foundational life skills are practiced through purposeful works, such as preparing food, learning to dress/undress, use the toilet, or help maintain the environment. Such activities are offered in engaging and meaningful ways to foster a child’s independence, concentration, coordination, and confidence. Large and small motor skills are refined through stimulating materials such as drawing, painting, cloth-washing, puzzles, and beading. 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, while also developing the whole child.
What opportunities are there for parents to be involved in the program?
Parents are encouraged to attend parent education meetings, offered 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. Parents are invited into the classroom for a Winter and Spring Gathering. Parents are also encouraged to observe in their child’s class at least once in the school year to see the classroom in action.