Discovery of Independence
Meet The Teachers
“Imitation is the first instinct of the awakening mind.”
“Only through freedom and environmental experience is it practically possible for human development to occur.”
“The child builds his inmost self out of the deeply held impressions he receives.”
At Great Lakes Montessori, we appreciate the “No!” attitude of toddlers. It’s this assertion of autonomy that leads to the “yes” development opportunities like increased body control and expression of feelings.
It takes two years for neurons in cerebellum to mature (which is responsible for movement- such as sitting, crawling, standing, walking and running.) This is the time where toddlers are gaining not only self-mastery over their bodies; they are constantly interacting with their environment to learn new things, gaining confidence and independence.
When toddlers feel a sense of personal power (I can affect things) are they ready to move to the next critical task of realizing a sense of competence (I can achieve things). This is a crucial step out into the wider world as active learners and problem-solvers. Through competence, children develop genuine confidence and a sense of who they are in the world.
Like all learning environments at GLM, the Montessori-inspired space for toddlers is carefully planned to promote exploration, independence, order, and freedom of choice and movement. While it’s strategically organized with defined learning areas, it is open to allow plenty of room for social interaction and activities required for growth and development.
The toddler curriculum provides for both individual and group activities in the following areas:
Practical Life — Exercises such as pouring, sweeping, dusting, buttoning, zipping, and table setting are introduced early, providing opportunities for children to care for themselves and their environment. Lessons of grace and courtesy are practiced daily to help toddlers learn about sharing and how to be considerate of others.
Aids to Independence — These exercises help the child gain independence and develop the powers of focus and concentration, along with fine and gross motor movement.
Manipulatives — Manipulative exercises are designed to facilitate hand-eye coordination, small muscle control, and spatial relationships.
Math- Toddlers are exposed to beginning math concepts such as patterning, sorting, shape recognition, counting, etc. When exposed to these sorts of lessons/concepts at such an early age, the children fare better in the subject throughout their educational journey.
Language — Toddlerhood is a sensitive period for language. The materials in the GLM environment evoke a variety of words, while every experience throughout the day presents opportunities for children to incorporate new vocabulary. Children learn to use words and expand their growing vocabulary to express their feelings and needs. This is also the perfect time to provide a sequenced foundation of pre-reading skills. We present literacy activities during small group time as well as individual moments in comfy reading nooks, all to encourage a love of literature.
Science- Introduction to animals, plants, and weather, recognizing them in the world around us.
Peace — Peace lessons give toddlers the skills to work through anger and frustration in a positive way, while encouraging tolerance, cooperation, and respect for others.
Art — Toddlers experiment with many different art mediums and are encouraged to focus on the process, not the product.
Spanish and Music — Children acquire new languages most naturally at this age as all languages simply contribute to their word bank. During the infant and toddler phase of brain development, music is another “language” that stimulates mathematical ability and promotes vocabulary acquisition and speaking skills. From early exposure through our Music program, music appreciation and rhythm sense develop naturally.