Montessori Toddler Program
The toddler years are a very critical period of time in early child development. A toddler’s mind is eager and his physical and sensory curiosity is boundless. Out of the house and often out of the crib, your toddler is ready to explore the greater world, even if his still-unsteady efforts give you palpitations! Since experimentation and play are how toddlers absorb new cognitive, physical, and sensory lessons, you want to make sure he learns those lessons in safety and with joy.
Compared to Other Montessori Preschools: A Mother’s Perspective
Feeding your toddler’s volcanic desire for learning is one of the primary goals of the Austin Children’s Academy’s 18-month to 3-year-old program. We design our dedicated classrooms specifically for the active but maybe not-that-steady toddler so that they can explore freely and without worry. We supply toys and learning materials brilliantly designed to engage their interest and use their capacity for play in order to learn the concepts that will move them forward in cognitive, physical, sensory, or academic development.
Austin’s Children’s Academy is an awesome school for your little one. Once we made initial contact online, we were contacted within a few hours to schedule our tour. While touring the facility, we were impressed at how genuinely happy the children and the staff were. After enrollment, that same happiness continued. My daughter was 18 months when we started, she is now 2 yrs old. She can count to 20 (up to 10 in Spanish), she knows her colors and most shapes. Any issues I had were addressed immediately by Mrs. Gupta, the owner. Estella and Sam are always available as well to assist and answer questions. I can’t say enough about this school, I was blessed to find them.
During the years your child spends at ACA’s toddler program, your child will mature in swift and wonderful ways:
- Language. An 18-month-old who enters our program will generally know only about a dozen words. By the age of three, toddlers will have gained a vast understanding of hundreds of words, speak many of them, and be able to ask questions, use less baby talk, and sing rhyming songs.
- Motor Skills. An 18-month old generally walks well and can climb some obstacles. By the age of three, children can kick a ball, balance on one foot, start pedaling a tricycle, and walk up stairs. In terms of small motor skills, an 18-month-old will hold a cup, point to things, and perhaps put on his or her own hat. By the age of three, that same toddler will have learned to work door handles, buttons, bottle tops, and be able to draw decent shapes and maybe even letters with a pencil, crayon, or marker.
- Independence. An 18-month old generally likes to stay near adults while playing. They depend on adults for much of their physical care. By three years old, that child demands more independence and will begin self-care such as dressing himself and using the potty
- Social Skills. An 18-month old may play parallel to another child, but by three years old he’ll be learning the basics of sharing, taking turns, feeling empathy, and cooperative play
To promote advancement through these early-childhood developmental milestones, the Austin Children’s Academy (ACA) embraces the Montessori Method of educational philosophy. The Montessori Method focuses on observational child-centered learning. By harnessing a child’s volcanic curiosity, our Montessori-certified teachers act as guides, not lecturers, to urge these young students in the directions their interests naturally send them. Happy children learn best when they are doing exactly what they want to do.
But don’t imagine that child-centered learning means that the toddlers rule the roost in any chaotic way. A visit to our facilities will quickly show how calmly and effectively our Montessori-certified teachers keep a sense of order in the classroom. They’re trained to handle toddler outbursts with love and understanding as well as turn conflicts between students into learning opportunities to help socialize the toddlers for cooperative play. Part of our program is to show children, by modeling good behavior, to respect themselves and each other.
Here at ACA, we have five general areas in which we hone your child’s development and start introducing them to the greater world:
Practical Life activities in a Montessori toddler classroom develop care for the environment and encourage motor skills, social skills, and self confidence. With this kind of confidence, children are eager to begin to problem solve in many different situations, which is a key academic and life skill they need as they grow older. A few examples of practical life work are washing hands, toilet training, brushing teeth, washing a baby doll, pouring liquids, manners training, dressing and buttoning skills, and more.
Language and Reading
Language and Reading activities include pre-writing and pre-reading skills and are based on the phonics method of reading development. Pre-writing activities are things like tracing sandpaper letters and numbers, using tongs to transfer small items, and arts and crafts. Pre-reading activities include listening to stories, handling books, learning the letters of the alphabet, and learning the sounds each letter makes. Teachers use songs, movement, direct instruction and one-on-one time with students to help children gain understanding in the language and reading category.
Sensorial exercises allow children to apply their senses to learn about the world. The specially designed Montessori materials help the child to distinguish, categorize, and compare different heights, lengths, weights, colors, shapes, sounds, temperatures, and textures. Attractive materials on the shelves engage children’s attention and ensure their full concentration on the learning activity. The sensorial category of Montessori work is an extension of what other types of classrooms call “hands-on” learning.
Beautiful Montessori materials introduce young children to mathematical operations and the base ten numbering system. Rods, beads, cubes, and stairs are common in the Montessori classroom. Not only are the materials colored and shaped beautifully for small eyes and hands, they also feel wonderful to the touch. Next time you get a chance, touch the Montessori materials in the classroom to sense this phenomenon for yourself. Screen time is kept to a minimum in this age group, but computer labs, audio systems, and television and DVD viewers are available for use when appropriate.
Cultural Studies: Geography, History, Science, Music, Art and Spanish
Cultural Studies are very important in the Montessori philosophy. Each unit, theme, and material is designed to inspire a sense of appreciation of the the planet and the world’s many cultures. Children learn country names, flags, maps, and holiday celebrations from all around the world through songs, dance, food, art, books, and pictures. The student body at ACA is internationally diverse, leading to children learning about other cultures and languages organically through their own social interactions. ACA offers Spanish lessons, opening children’s linguistic horizons even further. In Science activities, children differentiate between living and non-living things and animals and plants. The children plant their own seeds and plants each year and get a chance to care for and observe the plants. They participate in cooking days and perform personal experiments from day to day with materials like activity dough, water, liquid droppers, and paint.
Our Montessori-certified teachers are aided in these goals by the facilities of our larger school. The ACA has ten classrooms to accommodate infants and students from three months of age through kindergarten. The finely-crafted toys and educational materials in each designated classroom are Montessori-designed for very specific learning purposes. We have an indoor recreational room that can be used in bad weather, or for special activities such as gymnastics, dance, or art. The toddlers also have access to two play areas, monitored by camera, completely enclosed, and filled with age-appropriate outdoor equipment. In addition, we have open areas available for sports, water play, impromptu picnics, and even a stroll through nature.
If your child hasn’t experienced day care, then a toddler program will be your child’s first foray outside the home in the care of people who will be, at first, strangers. At ACA we understand the stress and anxiety this can cause in your children as well as in you as a parent. It’s difficult to release your child into someone else’s care, but our Montessori-certified teachers are trained to ease the transition and introduce our classrooms as a home-away-from-home. We want your toddlers to develop a sense of trust by bonding with our caregivers and finding joy in our classrooms so that they are as happy to arrive in the morning as they are to see you in the afternoon.
Another advantage that ACA offers is the option for students to age up into the next level without having to switch to a new facility. Rather than choosing a new school when your child reaches preschool age, which can cause new disruption, you have the option of just moving your toddler down the hall with his or her schoolmates so that he or she can continue, seamlessly, to develop the love of learning that it is our mission to encourage.
At ACA, we believe that communication between teachers, students, and the school is crucial, not just during the school year but also before that first day. We encourage you to call and arrange a tour of our facilities and speak to our lead teacher. Bring your questions, your concerns, and your own curiosity. We’re convinced that once you’ve toured our classrooms with their dedicated computer labs and libraries, walked amid our outdoor areas, and witnessed our teachers in action, you’ll agree that ACA has one of the best toddler programs in North Austin.
Curious to learn more?
Call us today to arrange for a tour and speak to our Director and teachers about whether ACA’s toddler program is right for your child.