Our Toddler Community is fully recognized by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and is designed for children from 16 to 35 months old (ages are approximate). The Toddler Community is a half or full day, year-round experience. The class meets Monday-Friday from 8:30-11:30 a.m. for a half day experience or 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. for the full day experience. Maximum enrollment in this program is 12 children. The child should be a stable walker at entrance.
The Oak Hill Montessori Toddler Community is designed to eliminate unnecessary transitions, allowing children to remain in the familiar and protected setting for the full day. Children find their classroom to be an extension of their home environment, providing a range of activities to server the child's developmental, physical and emotional needs. This means no
transition to different staff members, a different community of children and different environment like a traditional "day care" setting. Research indicates that these transitions are very difficult for young children, who require consistency and order in their day.
The children who enroll in our Toddler Community program will find that it is an extension of their home environment. After the three-hour morning cycle, the children may play outside in the beautiful outdoor environment created especially for them. They have a lunch which encompasses family rituals; the children share responsibility for setting the table and for cleaning up after meals. After lunch the Toddler room becomes the nap or rest area. The afternoon portion of the day also provides opportunities for outside play and care of the outdoor environment.
Purpose and Goal
The Oak Hill Montessori Toddler Community encourages, assists, and protects the normal development of each child. A safe, beautiful and ordered environment is prepared to respect, support and respond to the young child during the vital early years. We seek to help the child follow his or her natural path of development, to gain independence, to be motivated from within by a natural curiosity, to interact with the environment as an active explorer, and to cultivate the child's own natural desire to learn. Children are encouraged and assisted to develop skills, build confidence, develop coordination and language skills and gain independence.
Our goal is to meet the individual needs of each child. We accomplish this through a carefully prepared environment, an appropriate balance of developmental ages within the community and the expert guidance of an Assistants to Infancy trained adult and one assistant.
During the early years of life, Dr. Montessori believed that "the first thing the child's education demands is the provision of an environment in which he or she can develop the powers given by nature." A safe, beautiful and ordered environment is prepared to respect, support and respond to the young child's basic needs for independence, exploration, and the building of trust and self-esteem. All furniture and materials are carefully selected to meet the developmental needs of the young child.
Young children experience a biological necessity to move. The young child develops movement, independence, concentration and task orientation through practical life experiences such as watering plants, carrying chairs, preparing snack and washing dishes.
Children are encouraged and assisted to develop skills in caring for themselves, such as dressing and undressing. Through their own observations, children often develop an interest in using the toilet independently. Simple, easily manipulated clothing assist the child in developing his/her independence.
The Toddler Community environment is divided into many different areas that provide interesting, purposeful activities. The young child absorbs the world around him/her through the five senses, and a rich environment caters to the child's senses. The beautiful materials attract the child's interest and fulfill the child's natural urge to explore the world. Gradually, the child lengthens his/her span of concentration. The materials also assist the child to refine eye-hand coordination. Children are encouraged to experiment with paint, clay, glue and crayons.
Language activities are also very important as the young child is in the most sensitive period for acquiring language. The child's language is enriched through conversation, songs, poems and stories as well as beautiful materials that help promote language development.
Each day some of the children assist in the preparation of a nutritious snack while others help in the setting of a beautiful table. The children and adults gather together each day for a "family style" meal. The children also assist in cleaning up and taking care of the environment.