Learning at MSD
16 months – 33 months old
Since 1981, Montessori School of Duluth has provided exceptional preschool, kindergarten, and elementary education to children in Minnesota’s Twin Ports. In 2019, we opened a new toddler program. Through the years, our goal has remained the same. We guide each child to become a happy, self-motivated learner with a positive self-image and global perspective. At Montessori School of Duluth, children learn valuable educational, social, and life skills. At the same time, children’s innate need for order, learning through their senses, and working at their own pace are fostered. Unlike traditional models of education where children are expected to adapt and change to fit the system, Montessori education changes to fit the child. In this way, we aid children in their discovery of our world, and guide them toward being passionate, lifelong learners.
Schedule of the Day
7:30 – 8:15 AM Before-care: free play
8:15 – 8:20 AM Transition from Before-care to classrooms
8:30 – 10:00 AM Morning work cycle
10:00 – 10:15 AM Morning snack, diapers/toileting
10:15 – 10:30 AM Music time
10:30 – 11:30 AM Morning recess
11:15 AM Dismissal for morning-only children, transition to lunch for others
11:30 – 12:30 PM Lunch (hot lunch program available), diapers/toileting
12:30 – 3:00 PM Nap
1:30 – 3:00 PM Afternoon work cycle and diapers/toileting as children wake up from nap
3:00 – 3:30 PM Afternoon snack
3:30 PM Dismissal, transition for those in after-care
3:30 – 5:30 PM After-care: free play
Our Toddler Community is designed to be an extension of the home environment, providing a range of activities to serve the child’s intellectual, social, and physical development. At MSD, toddlers are provided an opportunity to explore and learn freely within the classroom. All furniture and materials are carefully selected to promote independence, self-confidence, and a positive attitude towards learning. These materials refine hand-eye coordination, while connecting the child to a learning experience that encourages exploration, discovery, socialization, and play.
Dr. Maria Montessori believed young children to be particularly sensitive to learning from their environment. She referred to this experience as “work”. The classroom teacher guides the children by presenting carefully designed materials and then allowing them to work at their own pace. The following areas of work are presented in the Toddler Community:
Language – As this is the most sensitive period for acquiring language, each child’s day is enriched through conversation, songs, and stories. Children use pictures and small realistic figurines to learn different names of animals, things found in nature, and more about their world.
Practical Life/Fine & Gross Motor – Children of this age have a biological necessity to move. The young child develops movement, independence, and concentration through practical life experiences such as watering plants, sweeping the floor, and washing dishes. At snack and lunch time, children share the responsibilities of setting the table and cleaning up afterwards. These activities also refine fine and gross motor development.
Self-Care Skills – Children are encouraged and assisted in developing self-care skills such as dressing, undressing, and using the toilet.
Second Language – MSD offers American Sign Language (ASL), through a partnership with UMD.
Transition to Children’s House – Around the age of 3 — once a child is independent in the care of self, feeding, and toileting, is able to complete a full cycle of work, is communicating well, and is socially ready — toddlers transition into the Children’s House. Children that attend our Toddler Community typically experience a smoother transition into the Children’s House classroom when they are ready.
Why 5 days a week?
We strive to create an environment where order, consistency, and independence is valued. Children at this developmental stage do not have the understanding of time and benefit from a consistent schedule. When there are gaps in attendance the children may become confused by the routine, lose enthusiasm for work, and do not achieve the repetition required for mastery of skills.