(18 months – 3 years)
The Toddler House is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day
The Toddler program accommodates the young children starting at 18 months of age. Children use a variety of materials specially designed for the Montessori classroom to assist in the important work of developing language, fine motor and gross motor skills. The toddlers also work extensively on social skills.
“Infancy is a period of true importance because when we want to infuse new ideas, to modify or better the customs or habits of a people, to breathe new vigor into its national traits, we must use the child as our vehicle….Out of this truth comes the importance of nursery schools, for it is the little ones who are building mankind and they can work only on the materials we give them.” — Maria Montessori
The Toddler community provides a small group Montessori experience to the young child. Our classroom allows up to 10 students with one Montessori teacher and one assistant. In this setting, the children come to feel the classroom is their own peaceful, special space where they play a meaningful role in their own care and the care of their environment.
The Toddler Classroom
- The Toddler House is carefully prepared to meet the unique needs of this age. All furniture is a size that allows maximum independence and the toddler materials are designed to be attractive and inviting to the child.
- Areas of Learning Areas of learning include large muscle movement and fine motor exercises for hand-eye coordination.
- Practical Life exercises such as pouring, sweeping, dusting, buttoning, zipping and table setting are introduced early, providing opportunities for children to care for themselves and their environment.
- Lessons of Grace and Courtesy are practiced daily to help the children learn to be considerate of others and function successfully in a social setting.
- Adults in the Toddler House are the children’s models. They conduct themselves in the way they expect the children to conduct themselves. Children at this age learn not only through individual lessons and independent practice, but also through their attention to what the adults in their lives do.
A strong teacher-parent relationship is essential to the success of the Toddler program. Daily informal communication, formal conferences and parent workshops are part of our ongoing commitment to enhance these relationships.
Our Frequently Asked Questions
Transition To School- Eighteen months seems so young to be starting school. Will my child be comfortable without me there?
This classroom experience is often a very delicate time for the child as well as the parent. A phase-in period may be required, based on the needs of the particular child. Parents may be asked to stay with the child daily, sitting and observing, until it is no longer needed, and the transition is complete. Patience, observation and gentle encouragement are provided in the classroom to make this step a rewarding one for all.
Toilet Training- Does my child need to be toilet-trained to enter the Toddler House?
It is fine for new toddlers to still be in diapers when they begin the Toddler program. The Toddler House staff will work with your family to determine readiness for toilet training and will help you through the process when it is time.
Moving from Toddler House to The Casa
There are many factors to consider when determining readiness to move up to The Casa (Primary). These include but are not limited to: toilet-trained, able to follow a 2-step direction, ability to sit up comfortably on the floor (cross-legged), fluent use of language, and the understanding of using words versus bodies to solve problems. The teacher in the Toddler House is trained to look for signs of readiness and will initiate a discussion with the Casa teacher and the child’s parent.
When a child is ready to graduate from the Toddler House to The Casa, the following requirements must be met:
- There must be adequate space available in the primary classroom to accommodate this student
- The student must already be attending school 5 days per week
- All parties must agree that it is time – the parents, the Toddler teacher and the Casa teacher
- The student must be almost toilet-trained.
If all the requirements are met, the procedure is as follows:
- The child is invited to visit the Casa for a period of time each day for 1 to 2 weeks.
- If the child seems to be enjoying the Casa, the child is invited to join the Casa class and to begin arriving at the Casa gate. The child has the option of visiting the Toddler House.
- Assuming the child is comfortable, the transition is complete!
If you believe your child is ready to move from the Toddler House to the Casa and the Toddler Teacher has not yet approached you regarding this, feel free to bring the idea to the teacher’s attention. We will follow the same steps as above. If both teachers agree that the child is ready, we will proceed with the transition. If you feel your child is ready, but the teacher does not agree, you may contact the Program Director for a second opinion. The opinions of the teachers will be upheld unless there are clear developmental issues that need to be addressed.
The Toddler House
Aldea Montessori supplies morning snacks for your toddler. However, a parent may bring in uncommon fruit or vegetables for the children to experience- such as kiwi, papaya, star fruit, etc. The toddlers love bringing in something to share with their friends. Aldea is a nut-free environment and many of the children have food allergies, so please avoid pre-packaged foods. If your child has a food allergy, please feel free to send appropriate snacks for your child to consume.
Toys / Misc. Items
Please do not send toys to school with your child. We do welcome any items that relate to nature or science. “Sippy cups” and pacifiers are not permitted.
Toddler clothing should be simple and appropriate – please no belts, snaps, buttons or zippered pants/shorts. Clothing may get soiled and frequently stained. Toddlers get dirty! Sneakers or flexible shoes are preferred. Sandals are discouraged because of the small rocks in the play area. We do not allow children to play on the playground with flip flops, plastic shoes, high heels or rain boots because this is too dangerous. All toddlers need an extra set of clothing including shorts/pants/skirt, shirts, socks and many pairs of underwear, if toilet- trained. Children not toilet-trained will need diapers (24 pack) and wipes in a flexible package (not a box). These items need to be brought to school the first day. If a child has a bathroom accident or gets wet outside and has no extra clothing, the parent may be called to come pick up the child or to bring some clothes.