Toddlers: 18 months – 3 years

Like all learning environments at Sunshine, the Montessori-inspired space for toddlers is carefully planned to promote exploration, independence, order, 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.
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.
Language — Toddlerhood is a sensitive period for language. The materials in the 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.
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 and Garden — Toddlers experiment with many different art mediums and are encouraged to focus on the process, not the product. In our shady outdoor spaces that are a natural extension of the classroom, children can dig, rake, climb, and practice large muscle control. Outdoor environments allow freedom to explore and express.
Spanish — 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. 

 "Help me to help myself." -Maria Montessori