Ages 18 months - 3 years

The child has a different relation to his environment from ours... the child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear.
— Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
Photo by poplasen/iStock / Getty Images

The aim of the Toddler Community is to offer an engaging environment designed according to Montessori principles and practices that will promote the development of the young child's social skills, emotional growth, physical coordination and cognitive learning.

Morning Program:  8:30 a.m. - 11:35 a.m., Monday through Friday
Full Day Program:  8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

For more information on our early morning program, click here.

The Toddler Communities are led by trained Montessori guides and a team of assistants. The Morning Toddler Community generally has 10-12 students. In this small setting, the children's early experiences are carefully shaped to prepare the way for years of growth to come. The Full Day Toddler Community has two assistants in addition to the trained Montessori guide.

HRIMS accepts children into the Toddler Community with the understanding that it is a direct preparation for their continued experience in the Montessori environment. When they are ready, in terms of personal independence and social readiness, students move up from the Toddler Community to the Children's House classrooms (ages 3-6). This readiness is a gradual process and is determined by both the Toddler and Children's House teachers who are in direct communication regarding the progress of each individual child.

Entry into this environment ideally begins gradually, with parent and child coming in together for short periods of time until the child builds trust and a level of comfort in the adults and the new environment. This phasing-in also supports the parent/child separation process which is a primary task of the toddler period of development.

Parent Involvement
The teacher and parents work in partnership to ensure the optimal experience for the child. Regular communication between families and the teacher helps build a bridge from the home to the Montessori environment. The sharing of information about a child's new discoveries and milestones is essential to their overall wellbeing. All adults work together to understand new behaviors and developmental stages, to address challenges and to provide timely and relevant emotional support to the child.

The Environment
The Toddler environment is designed to be safe and nurturing, while allowing for the freedom of movement essential for the young child to explore his/her surroundings. The classroom is a place of respect for the young child. All the furniture is custom made and developmentally appropriate Montessori materials are available for exploration.

Gaining Independence
"Help me to do it by myself"

Young children have a natural drive and inclination towards independence. They gravitate toward activities that develop motor skills: running, climbing, carrying, and grasping objects. Control of their own bodies heralds a control of self, and the ability to dress, eat, and toilet independently. Children are expected to take on greater responsibilities for taking care of themselves and others with the passage of time.

Practical Life
The Practical Life area helps children develop real life skills while assisting in their physical independence, development of concentration and fine motor coordination. Activities like pouring, spooning, opening and closing, and stringing beads and other objects also strengthen fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and concentration.

Food preparation, setting the table, washing and drying dishes are all part of the daily activities.

The sensorial materials help the children become aware of themselves and the world around them. Stimulation of the senses also aids in the development of cognitive learning. Children explore materials that promote the development of the visual, sensory, auditory, and tactile senses.

The environment is rich in language. Vocabulary, nomenclature and terminology are all an integral part of the daily routine. Storytelling and reading enhance this experience.

Empathy, compassion, sharing, getting along and mutual respect are all part of the social awareness and development that takes place at this time. Group activities foster cooperation and friendships as children learn the art of working and playing together.

Outdoor Environment
The outdoor environment affords the toddler the opportunity for new experiences. Planting, nurturing and caring for growing things is one of many activities available. Play and games that promote gross motor skills are encouraged.

Interested in seeing the Toddler classroom for yourself?
Complete our inquiry form to schedule a tour.

Once the Toddler program is completed,
the child moves on to the next phase: