When your baby is a newborn, school feels like it’s a long time away.
But the old adage is true—it goes by in a blink, and in that blink your cooing baby will become an active toddler. Those fast-approaching toddler years are the best time to enroll your child in Montessori school.
The educational benefits of starting Montessori as a toddler
At White Bear Montessori School, the Toddler classroom includes children between the ages of 16 and 32 months, and we recommend starting your child in Montessori by 2.5 years of age.
Early enrollment provides a foundation in the Montessori approach from a young age, and surrounds the child with an atmosphere of respect and understanding that supports their social, physical, emotional and psychological needs.
In the Montessori classroom, toddlers are encouraged to learn and develop through:
- Practical life activities (sweeping, dusting, watering plants, raking leaves)
- Self-care activities (washing hands, getting dressed, toileting)
- Care for others (demonstrating grace, courtesy, respect)
- Socialization (often, this is their first structured interaction with other children)
- Art, music and movement
I can’t tell you how amazing it was to sit at the dinner table and watch my toddler eat with a real spoon and fork (although it was a small version that I bought specifically for her small hands) and then actually scrape her own plate and put it in the dishwasher.
That’s right. My almost 3 year old knew exactly how to hold the fork on top of her plate, under her thumb, and carry the plate to the trash bin. I won’t promise that she didn’t periodically spill things, but she sure did give it her best!
These practical life skills are a foundation of learning in our house. To this day, as 5 and 8 year olds, they set and clear the table, scrape their plates, help with the laundry, and they still love to clean windows with a squeegee just like they did with Laurie (their amazing Guide).
My friends think I’m a genius. I think Dr. Montessori was a genius!
The practical benefits of starting Montessori as a toddler
If you have tried to open enroll your child in another school district, you understand how hard this is to accomplish. However, when you start your child in the Toddler classroom at WBMS, you secure their spot through the end of elementary school.
And let me tell you, early in our experience, my husband and I wondered whether our investment in Montessori was going to pay off. Again, now that we are half-way through the elementary program for our oldest, we can’t imagine them learning anywhere else. They are curious, engaged learners who actually would rather go to school than stay home sick for the day. My children hide fevers because it means they will miss school.
Enrollment for the fall opens in late February, so we recommend that you contact our Head of School to be sure WBMS feels like a good fit for your family. You will then be prepared to submit your application when enrollment opens.
If you’re debating when to begin your child’s Montessori education, remember: Montessori builds independence and confidence while providing children with a sense of community— a beautiful complement to the needs of your growing, maturing toddler.