Pre-Primary (18 mos – 2 yrs)
Designed to gently transition children from home to school, the Turtle River Montessori program encourages exploration, cooperative learning, order, a sense of community among children and the opportunity for toddlers to become increasingly independent. Care for self and care of the environment are stressed during lessons on practical life and daily living. The children are particularly sensitive to language development, sensorial stimuli and movement at this age, so their environment is prepared to maximize language and gross motor experience. By working with the children’s natural tendencies, we show them that we respect their childhood, thus encouraging them to enjoy learning.
The classroom is carefully planned to meet the needs of young children, organized for the toddler’s convenience with freedom of choice and movement. Providing for both individual and group activities, 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..
The toddler curriculum includes large muscle movement and fine motor exercises for hand-eye coordination. Practical life exercises such as sweeping, grasping, washing, pouring, buttoning and table setting are introduced early. These provide 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 to be considerate of others. Another characteristic of the toddler class is the range of manipulative exercises, which includes knobbed puzzles, bead stringing and other basic Montessori sensorial materials. These are designed to heighten the child’s senses and are unique to the Montessori environment.
Our teachers are loving and warm, led by a Montessori Directress in the curriculum. Our spacious playground is suited for young children and gives them plenty of outdoor room to run, explore and socialize while they build physical skills. Enhanced by monthly topics, Circle Time gives little ones a sense of order and community which sets the stage for the development of self-esteem and self-respect. A true Montessori environment to nurture your little one—what could be more perfect?
Areas of Development
Learning useful skills for everyday life leads to independence and self-esteem. Teaching each child to feed, dress and groom themselves are basic life skills we are helping our toddlers to perfect. They prepare snacks, set the table and wash their own dishes. Sweeping, watering plants and feeding class fish teach them to care for themselves and their class. We provide social awareness within the class, set to the tone of compassion and peace. We assist young children to learn how to use the toilet by allowing them early on to be a part of the diapering process. We share these techniques with the parents and work closely in transitioning them out of diapers.
One of our goals is to instill greater social skills within our classroom environment. By fostering grace and courtesy, and encouraging simple sharing activities, young children become increasingly aware of their classmates and form friendships. Our circle time provides a sense of order and community, which sets the stage for the development of self-esteem and self-respect.
Language and Communication Skills
Teachers use correct “adult” language throughout their interactions with the children to help them learn new vocabulary and proper language structure. We introduce phonemic awareness of the alphabet by focusing on one letter per month. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words.
Our fine motor skill lessons utilize concrete manipulative materials to increase hand-eye coordination, help with focus and develop problem solving skills. In addition to that, each class has an area for large movement. In our gross motor environment, your child may safely jump on a trampoline, rock with a friend in a rocking boat or climb a short flight of stairs. Our spacious playground is suited for young children and gives them plenty of outdoor room to run, explore and socialize while they build physical skills. Physical activity usually helps children to sit and focus on lessons of higher learning throughout the day.
The goals of the sensorial materials are to provide lessons which stimulate and address all of a toddler’s senses. Sensorial lessons that interest toddlers contain objects of differing sizes, sounds, smells, colors and textures. The sensorial area is where we implement pre-math lessons, including sequencing, which prepares students’ brains for problem solving and mathematical thinking.
By providing mixed medium and blank paper, a child will explore their creativity with art rather than just color in a picture. Play dough provides a sensorial experience, stickers help a child strengthen his smaller muscles and cutting paper strengthens dexterity and reinforces hand-eye coordination.
Each child participates in our gardening program where they can dig, plant, weed, water, harvest or just enjoy the peaceful sound of our koi pond as they feed the fish.