Toddler Program – (Ages 18 months to 3 years)
Montessori School of Maui maintains one toddler classroom with twelve students guided by a teacher and teacher’s assistant. Value is placed on the growth of independence, self-regulation and care, and social skill and language development. Through the preparation of the environment and the choices available to the child, learning by young children is best facilitated.
This environment that is carefully prepared allows the children to discover qualities of the world. Affording developmentally appropriate activities, the young children are empowered to thrive and become self-directed. The development of physical, cognitive, social, and emotional skills is supported because they are immersed in a world that is created just for them. All furniture is their size and materials are at their level so they have ready access to what interests them.
The growth of the mind and body is inseparable. Once children begin to coordinate their movements, they must perfect them through practice. The spoken language for toddlers will increase in variety and syntactical complexity taking place quickly on the heels of this so-called explosion.
The love of one’s environment comes naturally to children because it meets their needs. Just as children have a need to explore their environment, they have a similar need to explore relationships they share with others. Often occurring in parallel, the children learn to expand their use of language with each other, which is ultimately considered to be part of the environment.
Learning to share space with others supports the children’s social awareness and requires the need to learn and develop language skills. Awareness of the needs of others helps to develop empathic capacities also. Community building skills help toddlers see how their actions affect others. Giving words about the feelings and appearance of friends teaches awareness and helps to improve vocabulary, enables communication, and enhances community.