Education Starts at Birth
Children’s Garden has developed a Montessori Program that is specifically designed to meet the needs of toddlers. Our Toddler Community has two classrooms, The Nest and The Branch. Each classroom has 14 children enrolled and three teachers. These rooms are designed for a mixed age group of children from 1 year to approximately 3 years of age. The central goal of our toddler rooms is to provide the children with opportunities to expand their understanding about themselves in relation to their world. Toddlers thrive on positive interactions with loving adults, as they explore the world around them. We feel their imagination and curiosity are their best tools for exploring and discovering their world. This program was developed in conjunctions with the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies based in Boulder, Colorado.
One of the things that you will discover about the All Day Montessori Program is the closeness that the children, parents, and teachers grow to experience. It is common for children to start in the Toddler Community and stay with us all the way through second grade.
As you enter our program, the teachers in your child’s room will spend time getting to know both you and your child. We believe in working together as a team to provide the children with a consistent environment in which to grow and develop. Communication with parents is very important to us, so fell free to share information and concerns about your child. We work hard to keep you informed and ask that you also keep us informed. Parent are also provided time for parent teacher conferences. There scheduled visits give us time to discuss your child’s progress and set new goals.
Primary Caregiver System
To provide the best possible care for your child, we have adopted an approach known as the primary caregiver system. With this approach, one teacher will focus on your child; she will keep your child’s records and track your child’s progress.
Each teacher certainly observes, interacts with, and enjoys all of the children, and each teacher is the primary caregiver for a specific number of children in each classroom. When any teacher is absent, one of the Toddler Departments regular substitute teachers will become your child’s Primary Caregiver for that day.
This special relationship fosters an awareness and understanding of each child’s unique development. The children’s personal attempts to communicate and their delightful personalities are fostered better than when known only as a member of larger group. Your child’s Primary Caregiver will be able to provide you with information about your child’s eating, socializing, physical and cognitive behaviors. Likewise, if you have any questions or concerns that you would like to have watched over during the day, feel free to discuss these or leave a brief note for your child’s Primary Caregiver.
A few weeks after your child starts in our program, your child’s primary caregiver will schedule an intake interview. The interview will take approximately 30-45 minutes and will be scheduled at a mutually convenient time. Your child’s primary caregiver will go over important points from our Toddler Program Handbook, listen to you expectations, and just try to get to know you. This is a very relaxed talk, so please enjoy and feel free to express any concerns or ask any questions that you may have.
The years from birth to age three are particularly important for brain and language development. The staff works very hard to provide the children with an environment that includes rich vocabulary with lots of time for descriptive language, interaction, and conversation. In addition, basic hand signs are taught and encouraged. Having this non-verbal way to communicate before verbal skills are developed reduces a young child’s frustration and encourages future verbal interactions.
If your child has a specific special need, we will meet with you before your child’s first day to discuss how we can reasonably accommodate that specific need. Parents, teachers, and administrators will work together to outline a reasonable course of action as well as write an accommodation plan.
Montessori Toddler Curriculum
As caregivers it is our responsibility and privilege to be able to spend quality time with your children. We love playing with them on the floor, signing, talking, and encouraging their exploration of the environment in our classrooms and outdoors. Our being emotionally present to the children and responding to their attempts at communication develop their self-esteem. We fell it is important for toddlers to be able to spend time together as well as individual time for discovery learning. Materials and manipulative activities are available on open shelves so that the children can make their own selections. This also helps them to feel an emerging sense of independence. Learning to be an independent person able to meet many of their own physical needs also adds to their self-esteem.
When a child seems out of sorts we attempt to identify their feelings. The children are offered choices when they show that they are upset. This opportunity helps them to communicate with us. Observing the children is our best tool for identifying their needs.
Fostering Independence at Morning Drop-Off
An important aspect of learning for toddlers is learning how to do daily tasks for themselves. Because this is strongly encouraged in the classroom, such behavior should also be included as part of your daily transition to and from school. When you enter the room, please allow your child to carry in his/her own lunch box and put it on the shelf after you place perishable items in the refrigerator (please remember to label them). Next let your child hang up his/her jacket and put any other items in their cubby.
If you are in a hurry or it seems that your child is unwilling to follow the morning routine, remember that toddlers live in their own time. We have all day, so the job will be done when the time is right for your child.