Infant & Toddler
The Infant Program
Love of Learning Montessori School is proud to be the first Montessori school in the state of Maryland to offer a Montessori Infant Program. Through careful and loving observation, we make ourselves aware of the special abilities the children have within, and give them the freedom to grow and to become who they are supposed to be. The focus of the infant program is to foster the development of basic trust and to assist the emerging personality by supporting the developing sense of self as a unique and separate individual.
In a Montessori Infant class, the child is respected as a total person. The quality of physical care provided, including holding and feeding, affects the developing personality. Basic trust between the child and the caregiver is built in an environment that responds appropriately to the child’s communication of needs to be loved, respected and accepted. Learning, which leads to the development of independence, occurs when children participate in their daily routines of care of self and care of the environment. Infants learn through their senses, which they do by watching and moving freely in the environment.
The Toddler Program
In a Montessori Toddler program it is important not to rush through snack, lunch, and using the bathroom to get to the “curriculum” because snack, lunch, and the bathroom are a vital part of the curriculum. The more skills the toddler can learn in these areas, the more we have helped him develop his independence. These and other selfhelp skills are part of “practical life”. Concentration is built by slowly lengthening or complicating exercises in all four areas of the curriculum: Practical Life, Sensorial,
Math, and Language.
It is essential that materials be beautiful, complete and attractive to the child. The key to building concentration and a life-long love of learning is the child’s desire to do the exercise. The child must be free to get the work and free to put it back. Montessori schools put an emphasis on multicultural studies, peace education and conflict resolution. One Montessori element that applies particularly to toddlers is that children need to have their most basic needs met before their important but less basic needs. To explain: a child who is hungry, has to go to the bathroom, or whose clothing is uncomfortable, or who feels anxious or unsafe can think about little else. When the child is in the environment in which he or she feels comfortable, is fed and has been to the bathroom, then the child is ready to exercise their natural curiosity and need for learning.
Practical Life is intended to ease the transition between home and school by building lots of practical, yet also domestic skills, such as pouring, carrying, tweezing, basting, funneling and washing items. Successful execution of these tasks builds the child’s self-esteem and independence while also developing fine motor coordination, particularly in the pincher grasp, which will later be used for writing.
Sensorial is the area of the curriculum that gives the child a means to organize his environment. It gives the child the opportunity to make comparisons: longer, shorter, broader, narrower, color names, etc. The child is building the mental framework of organization that will later enable him to understand such complex systems as biological kingdoms and systems of government. The child’s internal need for order is also the reason for teaching the child to take items from the shelf and to return them to the right place. In the Toddler class, many activities include one to one correspondence (as in put one pompom in each hole) and greater than/less than/as many as.
Activities with numerals and quantities are available to those who are interested in Math, but no pressure is put on the children to perform academically at this time. Likewise, much of the Language area centers on vocabulary enrichment, matching, and sequencing activities. There may be a few activities featuring letter recognition or letter sounds for interested children. The skills used in matching (visual distinction) and sequencing are considered pre-reading skills.