Bellevue Montessori School’s Toddler Community
The Toddler Community is for children between 18 Months to 3 years of age (walkers). The primary goal of the community is to understand the need of each child and offer appropriate opportunities for encouraging exploration, independence, movement, play, language and social development. The Montessori Toddler community is comprised of a prepared environment and experienced adult offering opportunities to explore, build autonomy, and make connections to the world. Dr. Montessori saw that during the child’s first years, their absorbent nature is unmatched to that of any other time in their lives. Toddlers possess sensitive periods for acquisition of language, mastering movement, and building internal order. This time of rapid development creates a period of growth in which the child’s needs are dynamic and change instantaneously. Other remarkable qualities of toddlers include: living in the present and wanting to work with reality, exploring their world using all of their senses, rapid development of language, and learning through active play. The Montessori Toddler classroom environment is set up to meet the unique needs of this specific age group.
A Montessori Toddler environment includes the physical space, learning materials, our trained staff and the children themselves. Each of these elements create the perfect environment for your child to safely explore and learn through their own efforts.
Our Park Campus sits on the northwest corner of Hidden Valley Park, offering our students a lush green, natural atmosphere. Bright classrooms are filled with toddler sized furniture and materials that encourage exploration, independence, concentration and the birth of the child’s will. At this age, the work of life (reality) is of great interest to toddlers; learning how to dress oneself, use the bathroom, set the table for a meal, wash dishes and prepare food, etc. help the child to become independent, develop their gross and fine motor skills and build self esteem from their successes and frustrations in a supportive community.
We believe that each child is unique and should be supported to reach their potential. The toddler classes are led by nurturing, knowledgeable staff (Guides) who exhibit their skills and abilities to guide children in the ages of 18-36 months. Guides in the toddler program have Montessori training at the Infant/Toddler level and may also have an early childhood background with teaching experience.
Using their observational skills to determine each child’s individual needs, our Guides offer appropriate lessons, activities, and necessary support to allow children to work independently. As children this age are building their language, our Guides help them develop their language skills through oral conversations, reading books, telling stories, reading poems and singing songs. Language lessons and materials allow children to gain new vocabulary. Our staff also guide students through new social situations, helping them to recognize their feelings and to express them appropriately. Most importantly, our Guides offer your child the love, individual attention and support that they need to be successful and an independent thinker.
Toilet independence (learning) is an important acquisition of self-control for these younger children. We work in partnership with parents to minimize the struggles that result when toilet learning techniques are not consistent. We start with introducing all the skills a child will need to use the toilet independently such as: undressing and dressing, washing hands, sitting on the toilet, cleaning themselves after urinating, and flushing the toilet. All of these skills prepare the child for the moment they show interest in using the toilet. Children will then wear cloth training pants. A consistent routine without power struggles and offering gentle reminders to use the toilet will help the child to be successful. As toileting is a very personal time, our Guides are trained to explain what they are doing when assisting the child with clean-up and are ‘matter of fact’ if a child has an accident (soils their clothing). Children need acknowledgement in their successes and understanding without judgement during the learning process, as it has a huge impact on their self-confidence.
We are excited to offer half day, school day and full care options for toddlers in our community. We also look forward to offering Parent & Child classes to those interested in having a once a week Montessori experience with their child.
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