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Toddler Program

The Toddler Program is for ages 18 months-3 years.


This stage of life is characterized by tremendous physical and cognitive growth. Toddlers learn by exploring rich environments with their five senses and lots of active interaction with adults.

You've experienced this when your child unexpectedly runs toward something new and exciting, or stops to point to every bug, flower, twig, piece of dirt, tree, animal, and unexplained gooey thing on a walk.

Toddlers also have a driving, inborn need to be independent. They are aware that they don't have the skills but they sure are willing to try. Maria Montessori said "No one can be free unless he is independent: therefore, the first, active manifestations of the child's individual liberty must be so guided that through this activity he may arrive at independence."

The Montessori Toddler classroom provides a safe, home-like environment for your child to learn to care for themselves and others and to become independent. The work is tailored to the child's natural development, and they do it joyfully.

  • Language development -- Each class is rich with materials that help your child grow their vocabulary and communication abilities. Plenty of one-on-one work with teachers offers constant opportunity for active conversation to build their verbal skills.
  • Gross motor development -- Children need to move, and the class welcomes and encourages this movement. Class materials, physical education, dancing, music, and free play all help your child grow stronger and more coordinated.
  • Fine motor development -- These skills involve small muscles in the fingers, hands, and wrists and support your child's ability to dress and feed themselves, write, and more. Class materials provide many opportunities to practice these movements in different, engaging ways.
  • Social and emotional development -- Your child will develop independence, self-control, and care of self and others under the patient guidance of the teachers. They are given freedom with clear limits to practice appropriate behaviors and learn how to be part of a community.
  • Cognition and learning -- Your child's daily experiences build the neural connections needed for a solid foundation for learning. The Montessori environment is designed to encourage the exploration and freedom your child needs to build these connections.

Developmental Assessment

Families who enroll their toddlers at MIR are automatically given an "Ages & Stages Questionnaire" to help them get a complete picture of their child's development. If any concerns are identified, parents may be referred to their child's pediatrician or to appropriate specialists. Read the MIR Parent Handbook & Survival Guide for a complete description of our assessment process.

About the Teachers

Collectively, our three toddler teachers have more than 80 years’ experience working with young children. Two have been at MIR for more than 20 years and the third for more than 30.

In addition to meeting the educational requirements of our license, they hold their AMI diplomas for this age group. Some of the toddler assistants are also fully Montessori trained.

Program Options

Enrollment options for the Toddler program include 2 (Th, F), 3 (M, T, W), or 5 (M-F) days a week. They may also be enrolled for half-, full-, or all-day programs. The Half Day program meets 9-11:45 a.m. The Full Day program meets 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The All Day program meets 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Extended care options are also available. If you are interested in our Toddler program, please be aware that this is a school, not a childcare program. We follow a school-year calendar, with a standard school holiday schedule and closures for necessary staff training and class preparation.

"Children's experiences during their first five years are more consequential than we ever thought." -- Nobel Prize winner and University of Chicago Economics Professor James Heckman.