The toddler community is a unique place for the youngest children at COLCMS. It is not a watered down version of the primary class, nor is it focused on academic preparation. Instead, it offers children a special time of self-construction in a gentle atmosphere of understanding, respect, and support.
Of fundamental importance is the separation of the child from his or her primary caretaker. As the toddlers become comfortable with their new environment, they learn to trust the teachers and the other children in the community. Often times, this is his or her first school experience, and it's very important to us to make sure it is a positive one.
Simple sensorial activities in the classroom respond to the toddler's urge to use all their senses - indeed their whole bodies - to explore everything around them. The toddler program also accommodates the child's sensitive period for language by offering many opportunities to expand their growing vocabularies. Conversations, stories, poems, games, and objects all nurture budding language skills.
Many activities in the toddler classroom highlight self-help skills that lead to independence. Children are gently encouraged to do things for themselves and problem solve. Since this is an age of very strong imitation, the teachers constantly model appropriate social skills, good manners, and consideration of others.
Through song, dance, and freedom of choice, the toddlers have access to a variety of large and small muscle activities. These activities offer opportunities to jump, climb, balance, cut, draw, squeeze, peel, pour, spoon and so much more. The freedom in a safe space is crucial to developing skills that will build a foundation not only for later academic work, but for independent life skills.
Pictured here are some Practical Life materials. The dressing frames, on the top, aid the child in learning how to zip, button, and snap. The middle and bottom shelves contain tools for taking care of the environment. You have probably noticed your child loves to help at home. The activities pictured allow the child to sweep, dust, water plants, and wash windows.
This is another Practical Life activity - dish washing. After using dishes for food preparation, snack, or lunch, the children wash their dish in the basin on the left. They place it in the drying rack on the right to dry. Later, the adults wash and sanitize the dishes. The children love contributing to the community in this way.
This is the art and music area. The children are able to explore making sounds with different types of instruments, as well as listening to music and singing together daily. Some of the art materials include gluing, painting, and using clay. Clay is wonderful for developing hand strength.
The fish tank is always a source of interest for the children. Feeding the fish is a great way to help care for living things in the environment. The toddlers love seeing the fish's fins move and their mouths open and close.
As we mentioned before, language is an essential component of the Toddler Community. This is the reading corner, where the children can 'read' their own special chair. We also spend time daily reading as a group and playing various language games.
We have a delightful group of toddlers in our community this year, and we are excited to grow with you in 2015-16! Thank you for joining us! If you'd like to read more about the toddler curriculum, please click here.
We are an AMI accredited Montessori school growing daily in spirit & intellect!