The Toddler Community
For children ages 18 months - 3 years, the Toddler Community provides what Dr. Montessori referred to as "il nido," the nest for young children. Here we support the development of social skills, sensory exploration, independence and self-expression in an unhurried atmosphere of love and respect.
The Toddler Community is exactly that: a community where a group of toddlers, exploring the world together, working in a carefully designed environment, can learn much more than any of them could alone.
The classroom is a place of respect. Everything is child-sized, from the custom-made tables and chairs to the shelves, vases, plates and utensils, even (and especially) the toilets. Young children have a drive toward independence; they seek out activities that develop motor skills, build hand strength and refine movement. Running, carrying, climbing, grasping knobs, doing puzzles, handling paintbrushes and crayons, pushing carts, taking walks - all of these build skills and confidence. Control of their own bodies heralds control of self and a growth of self-confidence: the ability to dress, eat and toilet independently are important steps.
Social skills are another area of challenge and growth. Children celebrate classmates' birthdays and other special occasions, learn each others' names and families, care for classroom pets and plants, and develop important skills of empathy and being part of a group.
The Toddler Community offers an environment rich in opportunities for physical, sensorial, intellectual, and social learning. Children may spend part of the morning learning new words, new skills in physical coordination, and exploring new sights and smells by cutting up fruits or vegetables. The environment, materials, and culture of the classroom are all carefully coordinated to offer children multiple opportunities to grow and mature at a time when both bodies and minds are developing at the swiftest pace in all of life.
The Next Step
When they are ready, in terms of personal independence and social readiness, students move up from the Toddler Community to the Primary classrooms (ages 3-6).