Once a week my toddler ( 2 year old) and I attend a Montessori toddler class together. I did this with my now 4 year old as well before she transitioned into the Montessori Children’s House for 3-6 year olds. Keep in mind that parents are discouraged from taking photos during class as it can interrupt the work cycle. Being the end of term I did take some quick photos but ensuring that my toddler was not distracted by me doing so. I rarely ever take photos as I know the class teacher takes some photos at the end of term and passes them on to the parents.
The reason why I am writing this post is mainly for people who may have never been inside a Montessori classroom and are interested in knowing what materials they have in the toddler classroom. My 4 year old asks me for specific details on what my son does during class each week as I think she likes to reminisce a bit about her former classroom. She still remembers all the materials and the layout of the classroom, so it’s a lovely conversation to have with her as she will then proceed to tell me about her day in the Montessori Children’s House. It’s nice to reflect back on our time together in this environment.
My 2 year old’s time in the classroom; Firstly we entered the classroom and my son looked for his name badge in a basket. There are two baskets; one with boys names and one with girls names. Even though my toddler is not reading he recognises the sticker that is on his name badge. After I put his name badge on his shirt, he puts his bag and shoes in a shelving area, whilst I sign on (our names and date of class we attend) and then he goes into the area that is designed for the toddlers (approx 18months- 3 years). The first thing he does is say hello to the fish;
After doing so my toddler then spotted something new on a nearby table;
My toddler called it The Very Hungry Caterpillar (from the book by Eric Carle). I believe a parent brought this caterpillar in to show the children. My son thought it was the most amazing this he had ever seen. He asked me to take a photo of it to show his sister.
After looking at the caterpillar he wanted to go to the outside area and do some collage.
This is a photo of my eldest when she was in the classroom as I didn’t take a photo of my 2 year old painting with the liquid watercolours that day. I thought I would add it just to show you the paint set up. The type of paints is rotated approx every few months.
In the outside area my son also played in the sand sensory play tub with another young boy and then he wanted to go back inside the classroom. To just sum up what is usually in the outside area; a water, sand and sorghum sensory tubs, a paint station, a leaf rubbing station, hammer and tap activity, a balance beam, some plants to water, an outdoor cleaning tools stand (rake, dustpan and brush, broom) and a collage station. There is also a ball, a Quoits game, a wooden rocking horse and a wooden cart/walker to push. Most materials in this space stays the same, but there is just a couple of activities that are rotated.
Once back inside, we went to the story reading area and read two books; one on trucks and one trains. After this, my son played with the schleich farm animals in the barn which is set up on a large table. Used mostly as a language activity.
Next he wanted to do some flower arranging;
This was the set up for the day.
My son collected water in this little jug from the tap by the sink and is pouring water into one of the vases.
Now he is choosing the flower he would like to put in the vase. After he does this he carefully takes the vases with the flower and a doilie and finds a table to put it on.
No photo, but next he goes to the food prep shelf and decides to do the cereal activity. Everything he needs is on a white melamine tray with handles which he carries over to a near by table. He slowly takes a bowl and spoon off the tray and then a container that is holding some small cereal grains in it and then picks up the small jug and asks me to get some milk from the fridge. I half fill it with milk and he carries it back to the table. Once at the table he scoops out the cereal with a spoon into his bowl and then pours the milk. After he has eaten the cereal, all items are washed up in the sink and new items (bowl, spoon and jug) are put on the tray and the tray is put back on the shelf for the next child.
Next he spends 20 minutes playing with this playdough. There was some flower shaped cookie cutters, a small rolling pin and a pastry cutter for use.
Next he did a transport puzzle and then some large bead threading.
Some opening and closing practice.
Some language work.
Next we had some morning tea. My son collected a placemat and set the table including a glass of milk which he poured himself from the drink station.
Next was some time in the movement area with some gym mats and play with some sensory play balls.
After this there was just enough time for one last activity/work so my toddler chose to play with this car track.
After this was group singing time (nursery rhyme singing, some movement songs and a goodbye song). After the goodbye song the children collect their belongings, put their name badge back in the basket and head out the door. The end of the session.
Each session my toddler has favourites he likes to do, but also likes to try something new each time. Last time we were in the classroom my toddler wanted to do some Practical Life activities (washing dishes, cleaning the windows, watering the plants, hanging up the wet cleaning cloths on the line) etc, but this time he didn’t want to do those types of activities. One finds that by the time you child get’s closer to three years they have mastered most of what is on the shelves. It’s great to have access to lots of different materials for my toddler to try. It really gives me a good idea of the things he is interested in at this age and stage.