The Earth Tortoise School

  A Montessori Community for Infants and Toddlers

"Since he must develop through his movements, through the work of his hands, he has a need for objects with which he can work that provide motivation for his activity." - Maria Montessori

Practical Life

Toddlers are developing the skills they need to become contributing members of their community. Through small activities such as mastering how to spoon beans from one bowl to another or pour water from cup to cup, toddlers are refining their hand-eye coordination and dexterity as well as learning the skills they need to be independent. Caring for the classroom is a large part of each day as children water the plants and sweep the floor. Preparation of snacks and meals, setting the table, and washing the dishes afterwards help them understand a process form beginning to end. And at this "ME do it" stage, children get the opportunity to care for themselves, learning how to dress themselves and use the bathroom.

Sensorial
Children are learning everything through their five senses and the sensorial materials in the classroom allow them to practice using these senses to sort and understand the world around them. Grading from biggest to smallest, roughest to smoothest, matching colors, exploring tastes, textures and smells teaches them to notice smaller and smaller differences in things, vital to later intelligence.

 Math
Subjects that are usually thought of as being "academic" are approached in a very natural, casual way as children begin to show interest. Children have a need for order in their lives and will come to a place in their development when they want to understand categorizing and counting. Counting and sorting are done throughout the day with everything such as counting buttons on your shirt to naming the numerals seen in the environment. As the children get older and ready for more, the math curriculum allows them to explore quantity with hands on materials.

Language
Children are in a sensitive period for language from birth through puberty and at no time is this more apparent then during the toddler years. Communication is a huge and ever-present part of each day as we name everything in the environment, talk with the children in simple yet not "dumbed down" terms, provide exposure to a huge variety of objects, pictures, books, and songs. We use baby signs and encourage the children to do so too until their spoken vocabulary expands.

 Cultural
The toddler is ready to explore the world outside their closest family unit. And they will meet a world rich in flavors, textures,and colors. As children look out they are filled with a love for life and it is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the diversity around us. We will explore culture through familiar pictures of children and families, beautiful clothing, new tastes as we prepare food form around the world, music and dance form different cultures, and create art inspired by the beauty of others.

Art and Music
Not only will children have the opportunity to explore different art and music medium everyday, these will also be wrapped up into each day's routine and theme we are exploring at that time. Daily gatherings are filled with songs and who knows what might inspire a spontaneous outburst throughout the day....

Nature Appreciation
Children are natural beings, at home outdoors. An outdoor classroom allows them to spend as much time outside as we can provide; gardening and harvesting allows them to see and appreciate where their food comes from and feel proud of the fruits of their labor. We study parts of plants and animals, talk about the weather, and encourage respect for all living things