Curiosity. Exploration. Confidence. Growing Independence. Young children are compelled to observe and explore their environment. Based on a deep understanding of child development, MSGH provides a prepared indoor and outdoor environment that creates opportunities for observation and exploration, and encourages children’s natural sense of adventure.
MSGH’s Toddler Program is designed to give children ages 15 months to 3 years a warm, nurturing ‘home away from home,’ where they are supported in:
- taking their first steps toward independence,
- developing their powers of speech and communication,
- strengthening fine and large motor skills, and
- learning to work and play in a beautiful, cooperative community setting.
Time in a Toddler classroom follows the natural rhythms of home.
The Morning Work Cycle: During the morning work cycle, children may explore the many beautiful Montessori materials in the classroom or garden, receive individual or group lessons from the teacher, or participate in small group activities such as singing, dancing, story-telling, gardening and food preparation. The Toddler environment is a bilingual community, where our teachers speak only English and our native Spanish-speaking assistants speak only Spanish. This provides our children with a true language immersion experience.
Oral language development is emphasized throughout the morning as the Teacher and her Assistant offer each child new vocabulary, encourage conversation, model good syntax and share stories, songs and poems.
Large motor skills, fine motor skills and coordination are enhanced by the child’s work with specially designed Montessori materials, while activities such as dancing, gardening, washing, sweeping and sing-alongs provide opportunities for further refinement of movement.
Independence is consciously nurtured in myriad ways: children work with increasing independence as they master classroom materials; learn to tie their own shoes and put on their jackets; and take care of the classroom by sweeping, preparing food, washing, folding, gardening, scrubbing, and more. The children are also supported in toilet training and feel great pride as they learn how to take care of themselves.
Snack and Lunchtime: The Montessori classroom recognizes the importance of these daily activities. Children help prepare the food, set and clear the table, and wash up the dishes – all the while acquiring new vocabulary, honing motor skills, absorbing social norms and taking great satisfaction in their contribution to the life of the classroom.
Naptime: Lunchtime is followed by naptime. After sleeping mats are placed on the floor and favorite ‘snugglies’ are retrieved from cubbies, low light and soothing music send the children off to sleep. Children who awaken early are free to choose indoor or outdoor activities before dismissal time.
Parents of prospective students are encouraged to experience a working Montessori classroom for themselves by planning a visit during the school year. Visiting parents receive a full tour of the school and observe the classroom during the morning work cycle while the children are immersed in learning activities.
Teachers: Toddler teachers augment their undergraduate or graduate-level experience with a diploma earned at an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Training Center. Each classroom is also supported by a Teacher’s Assistant who is a native Spanish speaker.
Classroom Composition: MSGH has three Toddler classrooms, all of which are carefully balanced by age, gender, cultural background, and children’s maturity and activity levels.
Half-Day, Full-Day and All-Day Programs: MSGH’s half-day Toddler Program runs from 8:30 to 11:30; the program includes snack and ends prior to lunchtime. The full-day program runs from 8:30 to 3:00, and the all-day program runs from 8:30 to 5:30.
Early Morning Care: An early morning care program is available from 7:30 to 8:10.
Transition to the MSGH Primary Program: Children transition from the Toddler Program to the Primary Program when they are developmentally ready. Children generally move between ages 2 ½ and 3 and may transition at any point in the academic year.