"From the earliest days of life, the youngest among us are accorded with measures of commitment and esteem that echo our deepest understanding of respect."
The Toddler-aged child needs to have the opportunity to explore movement, acquire language and develop independence in a specially prepared environment. In Montessori, there is a strong connection between intellectual activity and physical movement. There is an emphasis on creating opportunities to pursue independent, precise motions. These form the basis for later intellectual endeavors.
Developing spoken language and learning communication skills are both critical in the early years of a childs life, thus vocabulary is consistently presented to the children and the adults encourage conversation as well as model appropriate syntax. Stories, songs, and poetry all support the language work in the classroom.
The young child is very sensitive to his or her surroundings, absorbing and integrating elements, therefore the classroom and the outdoors are established and maintained with an emphasis on beauty, order and simplicity.
The childs sense of self and understanding that he or she is part of a caring community are fostered. When children begin school, they are gently introduced to the rules of community, respect for others, respect for the possessions and work of others, sharing, taking turns, etc.
The Toddler Program, with a certified Montessori teacher and a trained assistant, serves a community of 12 to 14 children between the ages of 14 months and 2 ½ years. The children attend school five days a week from 9 a.m. until 12 noon.