Fantasy is anything that is not based on reality. At a young age, giving the child real experiences until they reach an age to distinguish fantasy. TV and great fairy tales or fantasy stories with beautiful illustrations and great quality paper, but they can be introduced after the child has a good grasp of reality, which is usually after five years of age, when the brain cortex is mature and they can make a distinction between real and unreal situations.
Since the moment the child enters the Montessori environment we are introducing them and setting the foundation for them to eventually use the toilet independently when they are ultimately ready to do so. We start this by familiarizing the child to diaper changes standing up. When the child begins in our environments at the age of 18 months they are already mobile and changing them while standing gives them a respectful experience.
In the Montessori Community, we provide opportunities for the child to participate in the activities of the community. We provide real work for the child to feel that he/she belongs. The child’s self-construction helps build his/ her self- esteem and coordinated movements.
From birth, we change from an environment of water to land. To interact with the world and every area of the brain can be stimulated in new ways. No environment is good forever. If we understand this point, we will also understand the importance of the present environment.
Helping toddlers control their impulses and understand what is expected in many situations can seem like a long process. This process can be more smooth if one keeps in mind the basic needs of the child. Children need to be involved in activities that are purposeful, interesting and challenging. When their environment is set up this way the child becomes increasingly independent.
The Montessori method was a result of Dr. Montessori’s direct observation and experimentation of the child. Dr. Maria Montessori observed the unknown manifestation of the child. Everyone who wanted to follow the methods of Dr. Montessori needed to see every child with the same eyes.
At this age the toddlers are at a stage we call a “sensitive period” for language. This means that their minds are rapidly absorbing and seeking language. Through much study, Maria Montessori came to learn that this sensitive period lasts from birth up until age six.
When we think about the child and the exercises of care of the person, we have to take into consideration what it is that the child needs to accomplish to be able to care for himself. Here in the Toddler Environment we give him/her the necessary items to allow them to do it themselves.
During this stage of life toddlers are observing everything around them, and everything parents are doing at home. The children are eager to try to do the same daily tasks that mom and dad do throughout the day. Maria Montessori quickly observed this as well and began to teach children daily tasks that we call ‘practical life activities’.
Sometimes adults look to children as if they are an empty vessel that needs to be filled with the world’s wisdom. Montessori believed that wasn’t the case, that they grow through their “inner teacher, inner impulse”. Our jobs as teachers is to create the environment, to make this space for the child to develop their own unique pathway of learning.
The basic principles of the Montessori Method centers on “following the child”. The child’s curiosity directs them in different ways. They have an inner impulse asking for new experiences, discoveries, and knowledge. Maria Montessori learned that children have an interest in manipulating materials with their hands.
Natural development is attained through successive levels of independence at this age. Independence means not needing the unnecessary help from another person to do what you need to get done. "Help me do it myself" is the need that comes from within the child.
We are excited for a new school year. The start of the new school year has gone smooth as our returning students have jumped right into routine and with our brand new students being guided by their older peers! We are happy to see all those who could make it to “Meet the Teacher” night and our first class meeting. We are eager to also meet the rest of our new students as the school year goes on.
Children are free to move and explore as they are developmentally ready. The Montessori Toddler environment is specially prepared to accommodate our toddlers who have a fully developed sense of mobility. There is plenty of open floor space with low shelves to encourage independence and exploration. There are plenty of opportunities to rely on themselves rather than relying on the adult.
Art and music are known as activities of expression! These activities in the classroom can help the child communicate their feelings. Children are given art activities with almost no limits or boundaries; this gives them the opportunity to explore and continue to grow their creativity.
This month we had the chance to focus more on caring for our environment. Throughout the classroom there are many activities and materials that the child can collaborate with one another and also work by themselves to take care of our environment; indoor and outdoor.
One of the main topics we focus on in the Montessori classroom is Practical Life. In the toddler environment, we also put an emphasis on teaching “Care of Self” which also falls into this category. The child’s independence is one of the main goals we strive to achieve, essentially we help them help themselves!
“The child, merely by going on with his life, learns to speak the language belonging to his race. It is like a mental chemistry that takes place in the child.”
We give the children the freedom to move around as much as possible in the environment from kicking a soccer ball on the playground to balancing on a balance beam in our outdoor environment. These movements that are practiced are critical to have developed at this age.
Maria Montessori taught that the most influential stage of concentration is during the “first plane of development”, from birth to three years. It is fascinating to watch the toddlers in the environment become concentrated on such minimal things we adults don’t stop to notice.