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.

Independence is a conquest; one must acquire it physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Freedom can be attained with independence with discipline and responsibility. The more the child can explore his environment with confidence, the more he can master developmental tasks and establish new skills which help to support his widening sense of independence. In order to achieve independence, an individual must work towards the fulfillment of his own potential.  A person must be able to realistically judge his own abilities and limitations and become truly free within the community to which he belongs. With the material inside the classroom, there is opportunity with freedom, with limitations, of course. Cooperation with other members of the child’s community (adults and children), respect their need for independence is also very important to develop.

In the ages 0-3 years, the child has an unconscious absorbent mind, whereas 3-6 years-olds have a conscious absorbent mind. During his sensitive periods, the formation of his ego begins at this time as well as the creation of his mental faculties such as memory, order, will, reason, intellectual thought, and mental structure. You may notice the child asks a lot of “what” questions. When answering the child a lot of vocabulary should be used to broaden his horizons to new words. What the child sees is what he believes as imagination does not exist at this age just yet. If is not right in front of him he will not see it in his mind or understand it. 

How can You Help at Home?

To help the development of independence in each child is our job as adults and parents. Trusting that your child can do it by him/herself is key. Take the time to make time for the challenges that can come across like putting on his/her own shoes, pulling up their own pants, putting their own toys away, etc. Be conscious not to "hover" by being patient and pointing out what they did correctly or with intent and purpose rather then what they missed or did wrong.  This is vital to their continued success and motivation. Through our consistency, we help our child be more independent every day.

 
 
Posted
AuthorRebeca Flores

Welcome Butterfly and Hummingbird Families!

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.

This school year will be one of growth and adventures for each of the toddlers. Throughout the year, the children will have the opportunity to be nurtured by their own efforts and experiences as they have the freedom to making discoveries hands on. The peaceful environment is set up to fit the needs of the toddlers, as they are free to choose their own work and explore the environment as they desire.

The first three years of life are the most essential in the development of the child and their potential. During this time is when their language, movement, personality, and trust are developed. The toddler environments meet the needs of the child to instill independence, psychomotor development, and language. During our class meetings this school year parents will be able to get a glimpse of what the toddlers are working on in the class so it can be practiced and reflected at home!

We look forward to continuing great relationships and building new ones with each of the students and their families this year!

 
 
Posted
AuthorBecky Buendia

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.  

On the playground, there are climbing stairs and slides to increase mobility in their legs and arms independently. Children at this age learn these tasks easily and take pride in their ability to do so independently.

The consistency of their daily routine develops these gross motor skills as well as their independence such as:

  • how to choose a work from the shelf
  • how to carry the work to a table
  • how to set up the material on the table
  • how to manipulate the work with her hands
  • how to complete the work
  • how to return the work to the shelf

They perform them over and over with a sense of accomplishment and develop high self-esteem. As demonstrated above, the Montessori child needs to have space in order to move and work. Some children enjoy working on the floor on a mat that clearly defines their space while others prefer to work at a table. Some work lends itself better to tables. Still other work should be done while standing, such as washing dishes or painting. It is through this continual movement that motor skills, both large and small, and their minds develop.

 
 
Posted
AuthorRebeca Flores

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. 

Through art, the toddler can develop or tune their fine motor skills. We love seeing the children do the art activities in the class. They are focused on the process of what they are doing. As their “inner child” is directing them to develop their self they are concentrated on how they hold the markers, what shapes they choose to glue, how the brush moves with paint on it, and so much more. Unlike the adult, they truly aren’t concentrated on the final product they simply enjoy the act of working and developing their skills. 

The art activities are set up quite simple. For crayons, markers, or paint, they are given the choice to use two or three different colors. For gluing activities, we have a limited amount of shapes set up for them to choose. As you are familiar with the classroom every activity is on a tray or basket, near the tray they have the paper set up for them to choose. For example, if the child chooses to work on painting with waters colors the tray is set up with the materials needed and the sheets of paper are nearby. The child chooses one sheet from a basket of only 2-4 papers. They are free to use as many sheets as they please and when the run out they know where to get more. 

This is something that can easily be implemented at home! Instead of giving your toddler a box of 64 crayons try to minimize the amount so they do not feel overwhelmed and can easily choose between a few colors. This can be done with most art activities, like feathers for a collage could just be a handful instead of the whole bag. This will also limit messes that could get overwhelming for the child to clean up! Please remember that at this age the important part for the child is the process, not the results.   

Toddlers have the natural tendency to dance, wiggle, and make music! Music is just as important as any other topic in the Montessori classroom. The children have access to using musical instruments on a daily basis. There are a variety of instruments that get switched out every couple of weeks. This allows the child to be in contact with many instruments from around the world. Along with the instruments we also teach the children songs with movement. Moving around in the classroom gives the children the opportunity to exercise their gross motor skills and express their unique spirits. 

As the children learn the lyrics to songs this also helps them with the development of their language. It is always a joy to see a child who is happily working on any activity in the class while singing a song they have been learning!
 

 
Posted
AuthorBecky Buendia

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. Through this independent work the child can build their self-esteem as well as their self-construction. The prepared environment is what allows our toddlers to take part in these activities. The materials in the environment are set up meticulously throughout the class and are arranged beautifully in the morning before the children arrived and checked throughout the day to reassure the cleanliness and beauty of the classroom set-up. The children are always invited, not forced, to use these materials.

Some Care of the Environment materials are:

-Watering the plants        -Unloading dishwasher

-Sweeping/ mopping       -Wiping a Table

-Dusting                            -Flower Arranging

We want the child’s impact on the prepared environment to be visible to him and to his environment. We refrain from following the child to fix his mistakes. If the child has cleaned up the water from the table but did not clean it completely, we make our best effort to leave it alone and have that child or another child recognize the water and allow them to clean it up.

 
 

Self-construction:

The child does these activities for himself at first. He recognizes the water on the floor, the paint on the table, the dishes are dirty, etc. His maximum effort will give him the ability to concentrate and grow. It brings the child lots of joy to finish these tasks and the adult certainly can recognize his efforts and contribution to the environment.

We must, therefore, quit our roles as jailers and instead take care to prepare an environment in which we do as little as possible to exhaust the child with our surveillance and instruction- Maria Montessori
— The Tao of Montessori: Reflections on Compassionate Teaching

Parents and the Home Environment:

Parents are more than welcome to ask about how they can help their child have a prepared environment at home as well. A variety of child-sized materials can be provided at home such as shovels near the garden, towels/mop at his level to allow them choose what interests them the most. Shelves for their toys are great for keeping their materials in their own place and having them put them away once they have finished using that material. It can be done! Through repetition and consistent guidance, the child will enable himself to help maintain their environment beautiful.

Posted
AuthorRebeca Flores

There are many forms of communication such as body language, sign language, universal symbols, music, dance, oral and written language. Body language is the first form of language we are able to communicate with. As an adult, we focus very much on spoken language rather than body language from a person and it may get a bit frustrating when we are not told what is wrong in a verbal manner even if it still emerging within a child. This is the time when the child may become frustrated when the adult does not understand their meaning. Though it can get frustrating on the adult’s end as well we should genuinely show interest in what the child wants and simply say to them “show me” and the child at this age will also create some way of asking/showing what everything is by either pointing or verbalizing.

Children act and react by what they have seen as well as what they hear. At this age level, it is very important to use full and exact words of what you are meaning to say. ( i.e. Dog instead of doggy, or tissue rather than Kleenex.) The child is absorbing everything he hears to begin or continue to develop his language communication but also himself as a person. 

In the classroom, we help develop the child’s vocabulary, body language, oral language, and music and dancing. Some of these forms can be done simultaneously such as singing and dancing. When developing their vocabulary, we use a three-period lesson.  The three-period lesson is a multi-sensory experience.  More neural connections are made in the brain because more senses are used which increases the possibilities for vocabulary to be stored in long-term memory.  The children use the sense of touch, sight, and sound to absorb language in a three period lesson. 

 
 
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.
— Maria Montessori
Posted
AuthorRebeca Flores

During this stage of life toddlers are observing everything around them, and everything that you are doing. They 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’. These activities in the class are some of the most essential pieces of Montessori education. This area helps with independence, order, coordination and concentration.

Food prep is a wonderful practical life activity that teaches the children many different aspects. In the toddler class, there are a few food preparation activities out on the shelf each day. Food prep helps with self-care, as the child must wash their hands before beginning the activity. In the first few exposures to a food prep lesson, the child will do the activity with the teacher as they will learn the proper steps to getting the food ready. As the teacher sits near the child working, she encourages independence allowing the child to continue to do the activity on their own. With activities such as cutting, peeling, picking, and pouring, the toddler continues to develop their fine motor skills as they do the preparations. Grace and Courtesy is tied in as they learn that the food is prepared for all their classmates. The toddler has the opportunity to serve the food to their classmates during snack or lunch time.   

Do not tell them how to do it. Show them how to do it and do not say a word. If you tell them, they will watch your lips move. If you show them, they will want to do it themselves
— Maria Montessori

During snack time in the class the child serves their food on their plate, pours water into their drinking cup, then places it on a tray, followed by walking over to their snack table to finally eat it. As they serve the food, they learn to use tongs by opening and closing it, practicing their motor skills. They also learn how to properly measure the appropriate amount of water to pour into their cups. Then as they walk over to the table they learn how to balance these items on a tray as they are on the go. There are only two chairs on the snack table which gives the toddler the opportunity to learn to be patient and to take turns.  

Lunch time is also a great time for the toddlers to learn Grace and Courtesy. Each day the children set the table for their friends and classmates. They follow the order of setting out places mats, plates, utensils, napkins, and each lunch box in their chair. After they have set their food out on their plates they learn it is polite to wait to eat until all their classmates are seated. As they eat lunch they practice the use of utensils and napkins. They also learn table manners like chewing with their mouths closed, speaking after swallowing their food and asking to be excused when going to the bathroom or cleaning up after their meal.  

 
 

Many of the activities mentioned above can be supported and continued at home.  Allowing your toddler to help make meals, to help prep for them as well is an impactful way to include your toddler in family activities but also a profound way of helping them to build their skills, focus, and movements.  As we round out the 2016 with our Winter Break, keep these activities in mind to have your toddler help you over the break.  

Thank you for your continued support and trust.  Have a safe and wonderful Winter Break with your families and friends, 

Ms. Becky and Ms. Claudia

Ms. Rebeca and Ms. Leydi 

Posted
AuthorBecky Buendia

 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. Within these first three years of their life are what will prepare them for the future. The child becomes so alert with himself with all these movements that he is making. Movement is also a great importance for mental development; it is a means for expressing personality.

As we have talked about the increasing concentration of the children, it requires great concentration for the child to practice these intricate movements of his own body. When the child is concentrated on a work, it takes a great deal of concentration and focus on the movement he needs to make to achieve what is asked of his body; so great patience is required on our part, as adults. 

It is a wonderful experience to watch the children in the environment observe and recognize their body movements. Through the material out for the children to use, they can experience the movement of their fingers such as cutting paper with scissors, the pincer grasp for holding and pulling grapes, and many other materials to get their hands and bodies moving and practicing their inner potential. The practice of these movements are not only heard in their silence but seen in their eyes; the focus and the will to master these movements in the hands and bodies. 

 
It follows that the child can only develop fully by means of experience on his environment. We call such experience ‘work’.
— The Absorbent Mind. Pg. 80
 
Posted
AuthorRebeca Flores

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. Recently, a child was working on stringing beads when she realized there was a small spec of glitter on her finger. She put her work down and stared at this little shiny dot. As she touched it with her other hand it stuck and she moved it back and forth. This is something we get to experience daily in the toddler environments. We cherish moments of concentration in the classroom and do our best to not interrupt their newly defined sensorial experiences. 

A child’s concentration in this stage of life is a precious thing. Sometimes as adults we are quick to jump to their assistance. A grunt as they are trying to put on their shoes we instantly want to help or when they spill something on the floor we think it would be quicker if we just cleaned it up. When we are too fast to intervene, we are taking away the opportunity for the child to concentrate and continue to learn independently. 

During this important time, the toddlers begin to develop a sense of self which then leads to self-control. We focus on teaching them how to act purposefully, control their bodies, and follow the accepted rules for behavior.  

Until a child learns to focus their attention, their mind is a fluctuating field of sensory inputs, emotions, random thoughts, desires, impulses, and dreams. Attention is the force that, when brought under the control of will, allows all that activity to organize itself.
— Maria Montessori

The practical life activities are essential building blocks in the toddler classes that help build independence, learn sequential order, practice movements, language and much more. All the activities in the environment assist the children to increase their concentration and focus, some of them become consumed in their work up to twenty minutes at a time!

Maria Montessori said, “The first essential for the child's development is concentration. It lays the whole basis for his character and social behavior. He must find out how to concentrate, and for this he needs things to concentrate upon. This shows the importance of his surroundings, for no one acting on the child from outside can cause him to concentrate”. 

 
 
Posted
AuthorBecky Buendia
 

Our first quarter is over and off to a wonderful start; on to the next! It is so great to see so many personalities in one room growing together. We have continued with our daily routine and have begun to get familiar with one another; new names are being learned and new bonds are being made. So many helping hands in one room!

Grace and Courtesy 

The children's efforts toward exactness and precision are truly beautiful and amazing to see! We are amazed by their concentration and seriousness, combined with their joyful sense of pride as they move toward understanding their world. 
Our new students are doing so well with the routine as they continue to adjust to the classroom. They have all been practicing grace and courtesy as they patiently wait for all their friends to be seated for lunch before eating! We are also very impresses how well they are doing with setting the table, the use of their utensils, and their desire to share the food that they prepare in the class. 
From such a young age they understand that there is, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” All the students that have been in the class from the previous year or the first couple of weeks help our new comers to keep order in the class. 

Care of the Environment

This month we have focused a lot on taking care of our environment. We are serving milk for others for lunch, cleaning water off the floor with a mop & swiffer, folding laundry, watering our plants and many others. Our toddlers are all so eager to lend a hand in taking care of our environment. Learning to take care of the environment gives the opportunity to develop their gross motor movement and equilibrium. It also gives them the chance to relate with nature while taking care of our plants 

As we work through our care of the environment exercises and grace and courtesy, we will continue to develop the independence, their sensitive periods, and movement & equilibrium inside each and every child in the classroom as the year goes on. 

We must clearly understand that when we give the child freedom and independence, we are giving freedom to a worker already braced for action, who cannot live without working and being active.
— The Absorbent Mind, Ch. 8 pg. 91
 
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AuthorRebeca Flores
 
 
 
 
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AuthorBecky Buendia

 

 

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AuthorBecky Buendia
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AuthorBecky Buendia
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AuthorBecky Buendia

✼ H A P P Y  S P R I N G ✼

 

Enjoy this video of the children working in the environment! 

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AuthorBecky Buendia


 

 

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AuthorBecky Buendia

♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥

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AuthorBecky Buendia

 

We hope you enjoy this clip of the children working!

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AuthorBecky Buendia

H A P P Y  N E W  Y E A R!

 

 

❤ Miss Becky, Miss Rebeca and Miss Maria

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AuthorBecky Buendia