The Toddler Community at the Caboolture Montessori School is comprised of children between the ages of 15 months and 3 years. The young learners are introduced to a new environment where everything is placed in an orderly manner on shelves, being easily accessible and very attractive to entice the child to explore. The adult is an observer that guides the young mind by presenting some of the activities and then slowly but intentionally removing themself from the child’s proximity to provide space and time for personal experience.
This age group is transitioning in the most fundamental developmental time of their lives. The visible physical growth brings a need to move and to develop fine and gross muscle action. The more hidden transformation is happening in the brain of this young explorer. The neural pathways are developing at a phenomenal speed and with a ‘quasi’ instinctual momentum. The child can focus for long periods and repeat an action to satisfy their own need for mastery. Independence is the subconscious goal for the child between 0-3.
The environment for the Toddler Community is carefully prepared to meet language acquisition; hence the child is encouraged to express feelings and to name whatever surrounds them. The adult uses language carefully and purposefully, providing beautiful songs, poems and clear sentences. This prepared space offers the child an intimate familiarisation with their own culture and the support of their family. One member of the family stays at all times with the child and learns with them. The parent is still an important element in the security of the toddler and having this nurturing partnership with the trained Montessori educator links all to the skills required to meet the 0-3 age group.
The Montessori materials in this environment offer a single concept or skill for the child to focus on. The subsequent activities will add more complex skills and develop a more comprehensive ability. There is only one of each piece of equipment in the room and children are taught patience in a less intrusive and more practical manner, by waiting and observing.
This room is a safe space where socialisation happens for the first time in a structured way. Children may work side by side with each other and the adult supports their interaction if and when it happens by giving simple explanations to clarify expectations.
This early program prepares both the child and the adult for independent functioning, motivation to succeed and early skills that will foster learning in the next stage of development.