Maria Montessori named the phase of the child’s life from birth to three ‘The Spiritual Embryonic Stage’, which describes the process of development during which the newborn comes into the world and emerges as an individual. During this time, the young child needs a very positive and nurturing environment. The Ocean View teachers may well be the first people outside of the family with whom the toddler has contact. Our loving and consistent approach enables the development of a trusting relationship in which the child can thrive.
At this stage of development, learning takes the form of exploration of the environment using movement and senses. In order to maximise this, we provide a safe and inviting environment with many opportunities for experiences in nature.
The toddler facility is separate from the main school with its own classroom and garden. The small group size ensures plenty of individual attention and regular feedback to parents. We follow the parent’s lead with regard to potty training and the process is integrated in the daily school routine. Children do need to be fully potty trained before moving into the pre-school.
Children may be dropped anytime from 7.30 am, with the school day commencing at 8 am.
7.30 – 9.00 a.m.
Arrive and begin work with educational games, puzzles,
‘activities of everyday living’ and the Montessori equipment
Circle time with songs, rhymes and stories
Nappy changing and toilet routine
Free outdoor play
Project work and art
11.30 am – 12.30 pm
Clean up time, nappy changing and toilet routine,
Story and home time.
Montessori Activities of Everyday Living: These activities are designed to teach the child skills for independent living, as well as to refine motor control and develop concentration. The activities are set up on trays ready for independent use and repetition. Some examples of skills taught are: pouring, transferring with a spoon and tongs, pegging; all excellent for the development of fine motor control and concentration. The outdoor activities of sweeping, raking and scrubbing are also firm favourites and are excellent for gross motor development.
Montessori Toddler and Sensorial Equipment: These activities were specifically designed by Maria Montessori to stimulate and refine all the senses; refine motor control and to develop problem solving skills. They also provide a foundation for later learning in other curriculum areas, particularly language and maths.
Circle Time & Project Work: This is used as an opportunity to discuss news and project work, through which, vocabulary is developed. Projects are used as a way of teaching the children about the world around them and interlink all areas of the curriculum. Popular recent topics have been ‘me and my family’, ‘pets’ ‘transport’ and ‘farm animals.’
Story Time: The importance of language enrichment in the early years cannot be overlooked. Stories and poems are essential for young children to help develop listening skills, comprehension, vocabulary and an overall love of books. Discussion is always encouraged and as adults, our aim is to ‘speak so that the children will listen and to listen so that children will talk’.
Art Activities: Art is vital for all areas of development and should be lots of fun. Children are able to use age appropriate art materials on a daily basis. Painting, drawing, play-dough and sticking skills are taught to enhance creativity, fine motor skills and social and emotional development.
Music: At Ocean View, we place a lot of emphasis on music. There are daily songs and nursery rhymes at circle time, as well as a weekly music lesson with our school music teacher.
Heuristic Play: In the toddler group we introduce the children to ‘Heuristic play’, which we have found to be a valuable addition to the Montessori curriculum. Heuristic play involves giving the children carefully selected natural, household and recycled objects to play with in a free and creative way. In the classroom, you will see shells, cones, corks, ribbons, wooden blocks, bangles, balls, small cardboard boxes and tubes, tins and a variety of bags and containers. The possibilities for exploration are endless. Our focus is to encourage the children to experiment with cause and effect using their senses and to build understanding.
Free Outdoor Play: With a Wendy house, dressing-up clothes, dolls, prams, trollies, motorbikes, sandpit, jungle gym and swings, the children become involved in a variety of role play situations. Valuable social, emotional and gross motor development takes place during this time under careful supervision. The toddlers also enjoy gardening activities such as raking leaves and planting seeds.