Infant/Toddler Immersion Programs "The Nest"
We speak/sing in both English and Spanish as this is a highly absorbent period for language! Baby sign-language is used simultaneously where it is appropriate. As the child grows in the environment they may be ready for more complex spoken language, laying the foundation for more conversational language in both English and Spanish between staff and each other.
Toddler Program (18 months - 3 years) "The Child in Transition"
The Toddler Program emphasizes providing ever expanding social, physical, and intellectual opportunities for the young and older toddler to challenge themselves. The classroom provides simple daily living exercises designed to meet their growing need for independence (i.e. "I'll do it myself!"). Potty training is begun when parents and staff agree that the child is ready. Constant observation followed by appropriate responses and additions to the environment to meet her/his ever-expanding needs for self-development. As the individual toddler shows his/her need for more independent activities, they are introduced to more challenging exercises that support success in her/his endeavors. This process lays a foundation in all areas for future learning that builds confidence, problem solving skills, and social skills.
FAQ about MONTESSORI programs
"The human being develops with the greatest intensity during the first three years of life. To this period, more than any other, it is imperative to give active care."
Dr. Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori, a pioneer in child development, was one of the first educators to believe the first 3 years of life are the most crucial to human development. The Montessori Infant/Toddler program offers the very young child a tender, nurturing environment and support for the self-development of his own emerging potential.
Dr. Montessori defined this early stage of life as going from the "unconscious absorbent mind" (Infant) to the "conscious absorbent mind" (Toddler). This gradual transition from unconscious to conscious learning is done by absorbing the influences of the environment layer by layer, mirroring brain and body growth. Montessori teachers are assistants to this growth, supporting the growth of each individual child through careful observation and preparing the environment daily to meet the child's evolving needs& develop themselves.
Simply put, it is to "follow the child." The essential Montessori principle is that children hold the key to their own self-development, knowing what it is they need to focus on at any given time. Dr. Maria Montessori called this the child's "inner guide". In a Montessori prepared environment the young child is given the "freedom of movement" to choose from the environment that which she needs for their own development at every stage of learning.
Critical to the Montessori approach is the prepared environment, which is a safe, "ordered" environment that speaks to the young child's strong need for order. The Montessori teacher, a trained observer, prepares the environment daily according to the individual needs of each child. In short, the room and materials are evolving with the children's needs.
While we do offer 2 and 3 day programs, we do believe the Montessori emphasis on 5 consecutive days is particularly important at the 0-3 and 3-5 age groups in order to allow the spontaneous learning of the child to flow smoothly. Further, the development of trust that occurs between the caregiver, child and the environment allows for stronger emotional and social development. Consistency and order are critical to the young child 0-5 years, and allows more opportunities for him to pursue his developing interests. To the end, if you only need 2 or 3 full days because of your work schedule, we encourage you to combine this with the remaining days as half days.
This is a time of great sensitivity to language, spatial relationships, the approach of self-discovery and nurturing behavior. The Montessori approach involves the infant in their care with a supportive, nurturing approach which develops trust between the child, their caregiver, parents and the environment.
The toddler mind is more like that of an acute observer or scientist, eager to learn, explore, try new things and master new skills. He is empowered with the need 'to do it myself". The freedom of movement and developing their strong sense of order at this stage is critical to their development. Scaled down furnishings, activities at his level, nudge the young child toward self-sufficiency.
Daily oral and written communication between teacher and parent is critical to you and your child. The development of trust between child, teacher and parents is a key concept at Milford Montessori. Besides daily written reports in which the teacher documents care-giving needs such as diapering, feedings, etc., we want to share your child's milestones big and small with you by sharing our observations. You will know exactly how your child's day progressed and be able to follow their own self-development.
There will be a parent orientation before attendance begins. The gradual separation of each child from their primary caregiver (mom, dad, etc.) is fundamental to developing an easy transition. The parent is invited to attend a gradual orientation period of 1-3 days where possible in the classroom.
A key concept to Montessori schools is developing a sense of community. At the 0-3 age groups this begins with developing a sense of "family" in the Montessori environment. Critical to the development of this concept is a mixed age group at each stage of development; 0-3; 3-6; 6-9; and so on. Children interact through a variety of activities such as music and movement, art experiences, gross motor activities and outdoor play. Through interaction, values such as respect for self, respect for others and the environment are instilled. They learn signs and words to express their feelings toward others in a respectful way. The is achieved through role playing and modeling,
As Dr. Maria Montessori profiled in the “Absorbent Mind", the child is absorbing everything from the environment through the five senses. The mind of the 0-3 child is highly absorbent for language as their audio discrimination at this stage is very high. We now know the exposure to another language at this sensitive period is not only beneficial to brain development, but forms an inner path to facilitate the learning of future languages.
The Infant: The Montessori teacher involves the infant in their own daily care and routines with simple words, then phrases in sign language, English and Spanish. While singing or speaking softly, "Do you want to eat? Quieres comer?” (while simultaneously signing the word "eat'); "Do you want more?" Quieres mas?" (while simultaneously singing the word "eat"); Repetition is very important. This is engaging the child in eye contact and preparing them for what happens next! Phrases are added as the child develops more comprehension and knows what to expect.
The Toddler: This is a great age for interactive conversation. Knowing the toddler will gradually repeat your last words, phrases are used more and more, expanding the vocabulary by emphasizing the new vocabulary last. "Do you want to play with the ball?" Quieres jugar con la pelota?" etc. Gradually the child uses both languages simultaneously, first in phrases like "Can I play with the pelota?" Quiero play!" I personally can testify how much more quickly young children learn another language, with the various experiences of children from foreign countries learning English in the classroom. It was never taught, but rather absorbed through immersion. Many children have benefitted from Spanish, sign and English from infancy.