Ages 2 to 3
Think about your child….. Observe…… At this age, what makes your child happiest? Chances are he or she is attracted to the surroundings which are constant in pattern and arrangement, and activities that are routine and have order. You are already setting boundaries for his or her activities. At the same time, you’ll probably find your toddler noticing what adults don’t – tiny objects, hidden corners and faint noises.
The first few years of a child’s life are the most formative years. It is a time when children effortlessly absorb concepts and habits. It is also the period when roots for a love of learning are established.
Another of Montessori's contributions was the discovery of the sensitive periods. A child passes through special times in his life when he easily incorporates a particular ability into his schema if allowed to practice it exhaustively during this
time. She referred to it as, ". . . a passing impulse or potency." Her prescient understanding of these critical periods is now confirmed by scientists and even the popular culture, with Time magazine calling it "Windows of Opportunity"
Regardless of what they are called, the sensitive periods are critical to the child's self development. He unconsciously knows that the time to learn a specific skill is now. The child's intensity reflects his need for that particular acquisition in order to live. However, once the period passes, he'll have to learn the skill with much more difficulty at a subsequent time.Adults often do not realize that a child has sensitive periods, perhaps because they do not remember them in themselves. But a thwarted sensitive period will manifest itself in a cranky child. Montessori viewed these "tantrums of the sensitive periods (as) external manifestations of an unsatisfied need."
Once the child has mastered walking, his hands have become free to work. He's entered a new phase of his life, that of Homo(man) Faber(working); one who uses his hands to affect his world. He now focuses on work to refine his hands. Montessori observed that mental development occurs through movement but only if, " . . . the action which occurs is connected with the mental activity going on." The child wants to use a scissor, to pick up tiny objects and to refine his eye/hand coordination so that his hand truly becomes an instrument of his mind.
Another step in sensitive period is that for language. No one teaches the child to talk. His language, " . . . develops naturally like a spontaneous creation."
According to Montessori philosophy, children absorb their environment unconsciously and enjoy learning most during the first three years of their lives. You can help channel your child’s natural curiosity into positive learning experiences in one of The Montessori School’s toddler programs.
Classrooms are carefully planned to meet the needs of toddlers and organized for their convenience. Areas of learning are defined, yet the space is open to allow plenty of room for social interaction and activities required for growth and development. Teachers lead classes using age appropriate Montessori materials and activities that are designed to arouse their interest and involvement.
Areas of learning include large muscle movement and fine motor exercises for hand-eye coordination. Practical life exercises such as pouring, sweeping, dusting, buttoning, zipping and table setting are introduced early, providing opportunities for children to care for themselves and their environment. Lessons of grace and courtesy are practiced daily to help toddlers learn to share things and be considerate of others.