Practical Life:- Practical life skills play a major role in the development of a toddler child. This curriculum area would consist of scooping, pouring, spooning, lacing and food prep activities. The child would work with wet and dry ingredients with different textures. The Practical Life area would help develop their gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and increase their attention span and focus. Working in this area also tremendously helps develop their social skills. For a toddler, although the focus may be on developing his/her gross motor skills, many Practical Life area work materials aid the growth of their fine motor skills as well. Children learn how to prep their food, dress themselves and clean up after themselves, which is basically caring for self and the environment.
Language:- The Montessori classroom is rich in language because learning the language is not limited to the language area. The children are read to very often during their work time. They are also introduced to the Sand Paper letters, but only one letter and associated objects are out on the shelf, at any given time. The letter sounds are reinforced as the beginning sounds of tangible objects that they manipulate. Some other materials like the Globe and the Barn with animals are used build their conversation skills. Not only are those materials used to gain knowledge but also to learn basic language components like opposites and build their vocabulary. Toddlers seek and need repetition for their growth and development. They tend to use and reuse the same material many times, seeking comfort and building their confidence at the same time.
Sensorial:- Simple and basic materials like the pink tower, brown stairs, knobbed cylinder blocks, geometric tray and solids, and color tablets are used in the toddler Montessori classroom. The pink tower and brown stairs help the child sort from smallest to biggest and thickest to thinnest. The knobbed cylinder blocks help the child develop his/her pincer grip while learning to sort based on size. The geometric tray and solids helps the child learn the basic shapes. The color tablets help the child identify the different colors, while also teaching him/her how to match.
Math:- Numeral recognition is worked on by using the sand paper numbers. Only a few sand paper numbers will be out on the shelves at the beginning. Basic Math skills such as counting, numeral and quantity recognition are introduced through counting activities, which uses concrete objects to match with the numbers.
Art:- In a toddler Montessori room, art work is mostly done based on a theme or objects from nature. For instance, after the teacher takes them out for a nature walk to collect leaves, they may work on leaf rubbing in the classroom using the leaves they collected. During the holiday season, they may make their own candy canes or paint their own dreidels.
Free Play:- Children will be taken outside to play every day, except in case of inclement weather. Playing outdoors is an important part of growth and development, as it improves their muscle tones and reflexes. In case of bad weather, they would still play organized games with their teachers in the classroom that affords them a lot of movement.
Grace and Courtesy:- It might seem ludicrous to expect toddlers to behave with grace and courtesy. However, children do learn by example, and their teachers will be their role models for good behavior. Teachers will be very clear with each child on their expectation of good behavior from them. A toddler will never be punished for any misbehavior but s/he will be gently reinforced with the consequences of their actions. For instance, if a child uses a work material as a weapon, then that material will be taken away from him/her and s/he would have to apologize for their actions, and consequently her/his attention would be redirected to something more suitable for that current frame of mind. The teachers will model by using appropriate language for all communication. They will also set limits and kindly help the children understand and respect them. Words like “please“, “sorry“ and “thank you“ will be gently insisted upon.
All the materials present in the classroom will be in their most basic forms so as to entice the toddler to work and not overwhelm the child. The toddler Montessori classroom is a prepared environment that will meet all of their developmental and social needs. The toddler Montessori teacher plays the role of part caregiver and part guide, who acts as a loving anchor for these young children and helps them, discover their love for learning.