Yoga practice has quickly transformed into a favorite Toddler 1 activity! Throughout their mornings, students have practiced Yoga during group circle, as well as by independently engaging in the new “Yoga work”. First, the child carefully lays out their yoga mat and takes off their shoes. Next, they choose a pose from a box of yoga picture cards. Then, they practice the pose on their mat for as long as they like. Yoga offers the children a chance to explore the different ways they can use their bodies, provides a constructive outlet for physical energy and gives them an opportunity for a peaceful rest in the classroom whenever they feel they might need it.
At any given time in the Toddler 1 classroom you can witness at least one child deeply engaged in a book. Reading books is an incredibly important part of a child’s day as it promotes brain development and imagination while teaching children more about language, the world around them, and themselves. Having access to books to explore independently, in small groups, or listening alongside a reading adult are important pre-reading activities and opportunities for socialization.
As the T1 children continue to grow and mature, they have begun to explore feelings and emotions in a more articulate way. Recognizing and naming emotions is an important rst step toward helping young children manage their feelings. During an emotional episode, simply identifying a child's feeling as "angry," "sad" or "frustrated" can often help them to calm down and begin to control the emotion. A new piece of work helps the students to practice identifying common emotions. A series of picture cards displaying happy, sad, angry, silly, and other faces is set out with a small mirror. When a child chooses the work, they identify the feeling on the card and practice making the same face in the mirror. This activity often leads to discussions about what makes us feel certain things, and how we can behave when we encounter di cult feelings.
New Geometric Shapes
After mastering the introductory lessons and learning the names (cone, cylinder, cube, rectangular prism, sphere and ovoid) last week, the Toddler 1 students progressed to an extension that reinforces their knowledge of geometric shapes. The students match the blue Geometric Solids to a collection of real-life objects like an ice cream cone, a soup can and an egg shaker.
A new collage activity caught the interest of the Toddler 1 students. They enjoyed "dressing" a picture of a child by gluing warm winter clothes onto the body. In addition to the creative opportunities and exercise of fine-motor skills this material provides, it also stimulates language development by reinforcing vocabulary related to winter clothing and inviting the children to discuss their own experiences with bundling up for the cold.
New Painting Methods
This week the Toddler 1 students explored a new method of painting. Using a simple paper cup, students created different patterns and prints. They appreciated their own ability to create something unique and artistic by using an everyday household item.
Cutting with Scissors
A popular new piece of work in the Toddler 1 classroom is cutting paper strips with scissors. This challenging work requires eye-hand coordination, hand strength and coordination of several fine motor skills. With a pair of child-appropriate scissors, a bowl and a supply of thin pieces of construction paper, many Toddlers will happily spend fifteen minutes or more carefully cutting the paper strips into pieces. By having the opportunity to repeat this process for as long as they like, the students can become completely absorbed in this activity, stopping only once they have satis ed an inner drive.
Matching polar animals with their pictures was a popular Language activity in the Toddler 1 classroom. After exploring the animal figures and talking about their different characteristics and special traits, the students had the opportunity to match them with corresponding pictures of the animals in nature. Some students also like to point out the animals as they come across them in books, allowing for further conversation and vocabulary reinforcement.
Caring for the Baby
The Toddler 1 students have been taking good care of a much loved baby doll. Baby washing is a new Practical Life activity that requires the children to follow a sequence of steps and find long stretches of peaceful focus. This activity also allows them to develop empathy and practice being gentle as they carry out this exercise of daily life.
In addition to numeral and quantity recognition, an important component of the Toddler Math curriculum is exploring three-dimensional geometric shapes. The Geometric Solids are a traditional Montessori material and a particular favorite of many Toddler 1 students. The shapes are alike in all qualities (color, size, weight, texture) except for their shapes, which allows the child to focus thoughtfully on this single attribute. The children are excited to learn the names of the different solids, such as cylinder, sphere or rectangular prism and love to experiment with the many ways the shapes can roll, spin, stack and balance.
Pouring and Spoon Transfer
Practical Life continues to be a popular and integral area of the Toddler 1 classroom. These students gave their full attention to new pouring and spoon transfer activities. In addition to developing mastery of these real life skills, the students sharpen focus and concentration as they carefully and thoughtfully explore these materials.
Five Brown Buns in the Bakery Shop
A new Language activity is a runaway favorite in the Toddler 1 classroom. After noticing the children's enthusiasm for a circle time song, "Five Brown Buns in the Bakery Shop," a material was added to the shelf to give them an opportunity to act out this song on their own.
One friend gets to be the "baker" and sings a song while delivering a bun to a friend and asking for a coin. It is lovely to see the Toddlers interacting in a such collaborative and kind way, especially when it is initiated independently by the students themselves.
Happy Valentine’s Day
Toddler 1 students enjoyed a joyful Valentine’s Day presentation all about the different ways we can show and feel love. Then the students enjoyed making several Valentine-themed crafts throughout the week.
15 Years, 15 Hours
Over the past few weeks, the Toddler 1 students enjoyed welcoming some Kindergarten friends to their classroom. As part of their community service project for WFM’s school-wide 15 Years, 15 Hours initiative, the Kinders took turns helping out in the Toddler classrooms reading books, giving lessons or just keeping friends company while they worked. It has been a wonderful experience that allows our young students to learn from and connect to their older schoolmates.
The Toddler 1 students have been experimenting with various extensions of popular Sensorial materials. Work such as the Knobbed Cylinders, Knobless Cylinders, Brown Stair and Pink Tower encourages students to explore dimensional concepts like big and small, wide and narrow or short and tall. In addition to grading the objects by a single dimension (such as smallest to largest), they can now combine the materials to notice even more patterns in the way the objects relate to each other.
Lunar New Year
It was a special day in Toddler 1 when a class family joined us to share a presentation about Lunar New Year with the students. They read a story about the holiday, spoke about some cultural traditions and invited the children to make a craft involving the Chinese zodiac animals. To continue the celebration, a new work was added to the Toddler 2 Language shelves. This instantly popular material calls for the children to match the twelve animals to beautiful, abstract illustrations. While many of the Toddlers are used to matching animals with picture cards at this point in the year, this work adds a new challenge as the pictures are more abstract. The skill of being able to match items with less straight-forward representations is a new developmental step for most children this age. The students, of course, eagerly took on the challenge while exploring animals such as the pig, ox, ram and dragon.
Name to Picture Matching
The Toddler 1 students enjoyed a new Language material, with which they match classmates' names to their corresponding pictures. This is a fun way for the students to learn to recognize their own names as well as those of their classmates. Many of the Toddlers have begun to do this already, by identifying their friends' names on cubbies and shoe baskets, and this work builds upon their existing interest and knowledge. By color coordinating names and pictures, it also allows students to be more successful when matching.
Number Bingo is an exciting new activity in the Toddler 1 classroom. This material is a fun way to reinforce number recognition, as well as provide an opportunity for collaborative play between classmates. It is especially fun for them to proudly exclaim, “Bingo!” when their board is full.
Bring Your Parents to School Day
Thanks to our Toddler 1 families for joining the children for Bring Your Parents to School Day! It was an absolute pleasure to watch how proud the students are of their classroom and their work. We hope you enjoyed your time in the classroom!
Color Mixing Magic
Within the past couple of weeks the Toddler 1 students have enjoyed the process and “magic” of color mixing! Focusing on primary colors, the students experimented with different methods of creating secondary colors!
The Toddler 1 students mixed colors in many different ways: using paint at the easel, finger paints, large ziplock bags filled with paint, and in a group experiment in which colored ice cubes were added to a bottle of warm water. The students helped to shake the primary colors together to make orange, green and purple. As an extension of this project, children worked with the bottles on the shelf by matching the colors required to create the secondary colors. To further support this color mixing curiosity, they turned to the classroom bookshelf where they enjoyed books such as “Mix It Up” by Herve Tullet and “Mouse Paint” by Ellen Walsh.
Toddlers are learning "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” in music class. Here is Ms. Cristina’s version:
The Brown Stair
The Brown Stair is a traditional Montessori material designed to develop a visual and tactile awareness of the difference in size between ten rectangular prisms. The Toddler 1 student brings each prism, one by one, to his or her work mat, feeling the difference in size and weight as he or she carries it. Next, the student lines up the prisms from largest/broadest to smallest/narrowest until they resemble a set of brown stairs. The visual control is the difference in size between each rectangular prism, which allows the student to use trial and error to develop their problem solving skills and independence.
The Toddler 1 students explored a new pre-writing material in the Language area. Using a stylus, the children carefully moved a metal roller along a track shaped like a circle, square, triangle or diamond. This is a fun way to reinforce basic shapes, as well as develop the pincer grip that is necessary for writing.
Shape stencils became an instant favorite on the Toddler 1 Art shelf. In addition to fostering artistic creativity, this material also develops the hand strength and dexterity necessary for writing. The children are delighted to see the circle, triangle or square appear after using their most careful hands to make such precise movements.