Thoughts & Reflections
We thought the youngest Primary children were small, until the Toddler Program was started. Oh my, these were babies! They’re so little! And yet, so incredibly capable. We were reminded of the magic of Montessori, which we might have forgotten over time being with children of the same age group. It’s astounding, what children can do, even at very young ages, even before they can talk, with a bit of time, a careful model, and opportunity to practice.
We see children picking up dropped pieces of a material, casually returning it to the shelf or to the child who dropped it, and going on with their business.
We see children making connections. A gift of toddlers, is that you can See the paths forming, you can See the light bulb alighting.
We see children attending to their own needs, carrying out a multi-step process to serve themselves snack, and tidying up after themselves.
We see dramatic growth every day. When children begin in the toddler room, often they’re pre-verbal, though sometimes they know precisely what they’re saying and we have to catch up. Most begin in diapers. They’re typically coming from babyhood, home with a primary caregiver or a nursery-type setting where all their needs were met for them. Here, they begin to have opportunities to identify and meet those needs themselves.
And they grow.
We start to see what we call, “readiness;” indications a child is ready to move to the Primary classroom. We see stronger language. We see an interest in using the toilet, if not full independence with toileting. We see strong concentration that lasts for a significant period of time. We see a child nearly always returning a material to the correct place on the shelf, ready for the next person to use.
This is our sign, it’s time! It’s time for you to move!
But still, we Follow the Child. We observe and we wait. One day the child might seem completely ready and the next not so much. There isn’t a one-day window; it’s a simmering pot, moving toward a rich boil. When we start to see signs of readiness, we pay closer attention, and look for how we can meet this child’s changing needs.
When the day comes that they’re ready to move to their new classroom, we tend to stage it in short “visits.” You might go for an hour, and then for two, and we plan on the transition to the new space taking a full week.
But still, we Follow the Child. If you don’t want to go back to the Toddler classroom, marvelous! You can stay in the Primary classroom from here on out. If you’d rather start your day greeting your “old” teacher in the Toddler classroom and then going to your Primary classroom, even for a month or more, wonderful! We can do that too.
For, when they’re ready, they’re Ready. We’re doing this now. That was fun, and this is the new appropriate challenge. I’m Ready. Let’s do this. This is why we wait. We watch and wait. We wait and see. They will show us.
Written by:Charlotte Wood