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Age group from 14 months to 3 years
The Toddler Class offers young children, ages 14 months to 3 years, an opportunity for self-development in a loving atmosphere of respect and support. The classroom provides a specific structure that fulfills the social, physical, emotional, and psychological needs of children of this age. Toddlers complete individual work and group activities. Everything in the environment is proportional to the child's sizе, safe and aesthetically pleasing for children.
Language ‘Not only does it fuse men into groups and nations, but it is the central point of difference between the human species and all others. Language lies at the root of that transformation of the environment that we call civilization’(M.Montessori). Through language humans can transmit ideas, knowledge, emotions, instructions, etc.
Children initially communicate by using body language and by crying, but as they grow they start using words. These words will be as rich and as fluently expressed as the words they have heard around themselves in the first years of their lives.
From the moment of birth children are taking in our words and the way in which we are using them. When children come to the toddler class they are usually able to say a few words and are saying new words every day.
During 18–24 months the child is the phase called “language explosion” and later between 2 and 3 years the child is in another leap in language growth.
In order to support communication and language development we:converse, sing, and read books because the more language is available, the more child’s brain will absorb and use; make time for him to say what he needs to; listen and respond; ask open-ended questions:Why? When? How? What?; tell stories and encourage the children to do the same when they start using sentences; do not correct children when they over generalize.
When they cannot say a complete sentence or name an object, we provide the words for them and thus helping them to develop communication without being afraid.
‘Every living being has its own characteristic movements, and its own pre-established goals, and in creation there is a harmonious balance between these different activities which are co-ordinated to achieve some purpose.’(М.Моntessori)
Freedom of movement from the moment of birth is vital to building child’s intelligence.
How do we support free movement and development of coordinated movement?
- We create an environment that encourages the child to move;
- We allow time for the child to practice moving at his own pace and rhythm;
- We provide outside time every day in order to develop gross motor skills;
- We provide practical life and other independent work in order to support the refinement of fine motor skills
‘Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence.’(M.Montessori)
Independence is the ability to do things for ourselves and think for ourselves. The child becomes independent through his own activity. Learning to make small choices helps the child become independent adults who can make big choices, think independently and be self- confident.
We support children’s independence in the areas of dressing, sleeping, toileting, eating by:
- practicing activities to help the child be independent in care of self and allowing time to dress and undress by themselves;
- providing a nap–time routine;
- choosing the right moment and following child’s signals that he is ready to remove the diapers;
- showing how to use the silverware, lay out a table and clean after meals;
‘No one who has ever done anything really great or successful has ever done it simply because he was attracted by what we call a ‘reward 'or by fear of what we call a ‘punishment’… Every victory and every advance in human progress comes from an inner compulsion’(M.Montessori)
Helping the child to learn how to take control of himself is one of the most challenging parts of being a guide and parent.
How we foster self-discipline?
- Provide practical activities such as cleaning and washing help the child feel part of the group and become aware that they are responsible for their actions;
- Allow to make choices for themselves so they start thinking for themselves, which leads to making choices about their own actions;
- Allow children to make mistakes
Age group from 3 years to 7 years
According the Montessori educational philosophy, children between ages 3- 7 work in one environment which is organized in several main educational areas – exercises of practical life, sensorial exercises, language and mathematics. They are meant to promote independence and concentration; help with development of the will and social skills. Gardening, arts and gross motor skills activities are also provided.
Complex Problem Solving
Through the materials children are working with, they acquire skills needed in real life situations. For example, the Exercises of Practical Life (EPL) have social values because by using real objects children begin to understand that they are real products of the customs and social habits of the society.They help with learning to solve complex problems in a task they are doing or in their relationships. Children grow confident and not afraid of failure.
Getting along with one another promotes positive classroom attitude and instills a love in learning. Social skills are the child's ability to cooperate and play with others, pay attention to adults, and make reasonable transitions from activity to activity. The healthy social and emotional development will allow the child to develop relationships, master the ability to initiate, discover, play and learn. Through social skills children develop persistence and attention, emotional intelligence, and self-regulates their behavior.
Children work together and develop non-sexist perspective. We give the children the opportunity to develop social skills as we:
- let them sort things out between themselves;
- offer lessons of “Grace and Courtesy” to provide the language children need to solve a conflict or make a compliment, etc. ;
- promote cooperative and fair play with others;
- help them become aware of other children’s feelings and develop sense of respect for others.
Discovery and Creativity
Each material is initially presented to the child by the guide and then the adult steps back to leave the child to discover what else he can do with that material. The Sensorial area supports the discovery and creativity as well as all the art exercises included in the Exercises of Practical Life.
We respect child’s perspective and choice and thus nurture his creativity. They develop a life-long interest and eagerness to learn, look for, and discoveranswers by themselves without waiting for ready solutions.
"The first essential for the child's development is concentration. It lays the whole basis for his character and social behavior. He must find out how to concentrate, and for this he needs things to concentrate upon. This shows the importance of his surroundings, for no one acting on the child from outside can cause him to concentrate. Only he can organize his psychic life." (The Absorbent Mind, Maria Montessori).
Concentration is the key to the natural development of the child. When the child is concentrating, he becomes detached from the environment around him. Mental order and coordinated movement prepare for concentration.
Doctor Maria Montessori saw that concentration was not something that could be taught or enforced, but that it was, instead, a vital characteristic of human growth and a demonstration that innate psychic needs were being satisfied.
The design of the materials calls for exactness and precision, which pulls the child into repetition and deeper concentration.