Toddler group

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 new born comes into the world and emerges as an individual.  During this time, the young child needs a very positive and nurturing environment, so the toddler group needs to provide a ‘home away from home’.  The Ocean View teachers may well be the first people outside of the family with whom the toddler has contact.  Our warm and consistent approach enables a loving and trusting relationship to develop. Learning at this stage takes the form of exploration of the environment using movement and senses, through which language is stimulated. In order to maximise learning, the environment must be safe, inviting and with many opportunities for experiences in nature. As the child grows, the importance of friendships develops and group play becomes important.

toddler group The children participate in a wide variety of activities in a loving, secure and stimulating environment, taught by our experienced Directress and mother of 3 adult sons, Umia Daya, assisted by Princess Peter.

The toddler environment is separate from the main school with its own classroom and garden.  The small group size ensures plenty of individual attention. 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 have free access to the garden and are supervised at all times.  Umia and Princess work individually with each child, presenting new material and monitoring development, which enables them to give regular feedback to parents

Daily Routine

The daily routine is flexible as we follow the needs of the children.  Children may be dropped anytime from 7.30 am and must be at school by 8 am.
7.30 – 9.00 a.m.
Arrive and begin work with educational games, puzzles,
‘activities of everyday living’ and the Montessori equipment
9.00 a.m.
Circle time with songs, rhymes and stories
Snack
Nappy changing and toilet routine
9.30 a.m.
Free outdoor play
Heuristic play
10.30 a.m.
Project work and art
11.15 am – 11.45 am
Clean up time, nappy changing and toilet routine,
Story and home time.

Curriculum Areas

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 activities, puzzles, art, music, outdoor play and story time.  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, handles, bangles, balls, small cardboard boxes and tubes, tins and a variety of bags and containers.  The possibilities are endless and our focus is to encourage the children to explore natural materials; to stimulate their senses; to experiment with cause and effect; and to build understanding.

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, sweeping and raking.

Montessori Toddler 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, the day and the weather as well as the current project.  Projects are used as a way of teaching the children about the world around them and interlink all areas of the curriculum.  Popular topics have been ‘me and my family’, ‘pets’ ‘transport’, ‘farm animals’ etc.  The circle situation encourages turn-taking and the development of vocabulary.

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’.

montessori-77Art 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.

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 Annari van Jaarsveld.

Free Outdoor Play: With a wendy house, dressing-up clothes, babies, 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 the careful supervision of Umia and Princess. The toddlers also enjoy gardening activities and Bonga has many little helpers when he rakes the leaves every morning.