Early Learners Community – (18 months through 3years)

In the first 2 months of life, the infant, having moved from the comfort of the womb, learns to trust the new outside world.  During the rest of the first year of life, infants learn to trust in themselves: “I can do; I am able.”  In the next two years they confirm that they are able to act in the world: “I am worthwhile; I can contribute.”

The Montessori philosophy is unique in its approach to toddlers.  Some of the key concepts of a Montessori toddler class are: communicating respect for the individual child, the importance of freedom of movement to aid the child’s physical and cognitive development, and allowing the child to participate in daily routines of self-care and care of the environment.  All of these assist learning and the development of independence.

The Early Learner community is lively and spontaneous, but you will see the beginnings of concentration and genuine social awareness.  The program is rich with language acquisition and budding social skills.  The room is arranged to allow toddlers to move about freely, and to socialize among themselves.  The teacher moves peacefully about, conversing, encouraging or simply observing.  As the children become able, they take an active role in the running of class, preparing food and feeding themselves, as well as their toileting needs.  The materials look simple, but are very precisely designed to enhance gross and fine motor skills.  Most of the activity is individual.  There are two to three adults for each group of 10-15 toddlers.

An Environment Designed for Independence

Toddlers are intrepid explorers.  They require an environment worthy of their exploration, one that encourages but does not overwhelm.  They are constantly making new discoveries and are striving to perfect the skills that will allow them to pursue their explorations more independently.  Our job is to provide a supportive environment (space, materials, and staff) in which these things can take place.  Everything is designed to allow children to function independently, to whatever extent they are able, and so they will view themselves as capable individuals.  This sense of independence and self-reliance is fostered from the time children arrive at the Early Learner room – carrying in their own diapers, taking off their own coats, choosing their own work – until the time they leave – cleaning up their space, putting on their own coats.

Activities Practical Life Exercises

Care of self, care of the environment, and snack (including an introduction to forms of courtesy).  The early learners practice putting on clothes and help prepare snacks.  It is a wondrous sight-seeing a child not-quite-two carefully setting a table for snacks and then adding a bouquet of flowers.

Sensorial Exercises

Focusing on individual sensory qualities of the environment (sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste).  Food tasting and the tone bells are examples.

Language

Vocabulary building (overlapping with all other areas) and conversation.  The early learner environment is rich with language which is very exciting for them.  Real objects and photographs of common objects are used for learning names of things.  Abstract words are attached to experiences: “Would you like a sweet taste, or a sour taste?”  Stories, songs, conversations, simple explanations and questions add to their understanding.

Social Skills

Through daily interaction with each other and adults, the children learn appropriate language to foster interaction.

Music

Exposure to a variety of music such as Jazz, Classical, Blue Grass and more, singing with the children, and discovering rhythm and movement are examples.

Art

Discussion of pictures on the walls, as well as drawing on the chalkboard and expression of personal drama are the beginnings of artistic expression.

Physical Development

Movement is essential to children, thus special care is given in arranging the furniture and providing materials that encourage and help the development of movement.

Napping

Children who are enrolled in the full-day program will take an afternoon nap. Parents must provide a plain (no animated characters) crib sheet and small blanket for napping. We don’t allow pillows.

Lunch, Snacks, Diapers

  • The parents are responsible for providing a lunch for their child every day.
  • BRMS provides a morning and an afternoon snacks each day.
  • Parents supply all diapers, wipes, creams, and extra clothes for their children. (wipes are shared within the classroom community and parents are asked to bring them on a rotating schedule)

Areas of Interest

The cubbies are an essential part of the Early Learner Community. This is where all of the children’s extra clothing is stored. The cubbies are the first stop in the morning. This is where the child hangs their coat and book bag. Parents are encouraged to facilitate independence by allowing the child to put his belongings away himself with little to no adult interference.

 

Take A Tour of the Blue Ridge Montessori School  

Schedule and Tuition

View the most recent Early Learners schedule and tuition list.