(newborn – 2 years)
Our mini-toddler environments embody Maria Montessori’s vision of a “Nido” or nest; they are peaceful, loving places where very young toddlers can explore and feel secure. Teachers speak in gentle tones, the daily pace is unhurried, and décor is understated and homelike. Each child in our care is an individual to be nurtured with affection and respect. As is customary for Montessori environments, every detail is selected with the child’s whole development in mind.
At Cold Lake Montessori we have two Toddler environments: one for younger infants/toddlers (newborn – 2 years), and one for older toddlers (19 months – 3 years). The purpose behind the divisions in our toddler program is to separate children who are outgrowing the developmental challenges of the younger infant/toddler stage and/or beginning to walk from those who are not yet fully exploring their environment and/or mobile. Because we “follow the child”, a younger toddler may transition to the older toddler environment based upon his/her curiosity and mobility, not just his/her age, or they may move directly into our primary class for children 2.5 yrs – 4.5 yrs. Move-up ages may vary by several months. Please note that space availability is also a factor.
The Prepared Environment
A child’s early years are a time of great sensitivity to bonding in order to establish trust in the world, as well as language, order, sensorial impressions, and development of coordinated movement, both fine- and gross-motor. The mini-toddler room reflects the child’s development of movement, independence, and capacity for active exploration. Because an infants brain is wired for language acquisition, our environments offer rich opportunities for babies to learn through plenty of reading, singing, sign language and a running dialogue as your child’s caregivers explain the events of your child’s day. Our respect for each child shows in how we engage him or her in each care-giving opportunity, rather than merely doing things to the child.
In our newborn to 30 month mini-toddler environment, where crawling and newly walking babies have their hands free for exploration, you will see…
- low shelving with materials for fine-motor development and cause/effect, such as puzzles, rings on a post, and containers to open and close.
- opportunities for purposeful water play.
- a stair with low steps and a railing to practice climbing up and down.
- pull and push toys to promote gross motor movement.