Early Discovery: Toddler Program 18-36 Months

During the toddler stage, your child gains more confidence in their surroundings.  In mixed-age settings, they observe older children and their behaviors. They learn real-life tasks while exploring language, math concepts, and gross and fine motor skills.  Children learn these through sensory experiences provided by Montessori materials. Older children will adapt to leadership roles.

The Toddler Program encourages children to express their independence. They return materials to their proper places, can set the table and caring for themselves. Toddlers also learn to interact with other children in a respectful manner. MMIA encourages toddlers to develop their coordination. They can grow in their independence and self-esteem. Children at this age develop expressive and comprehensive language skills.

The MMIA Toddler community is kept small, intimate, and flexible with a variety of planned activities. In this environment, the needs of the children are adhered to at all times rather than a plan created by adults. There should be a feeling of joy in this environment as these young children are given freedom. They are not given license to do whatever they want, but they are given freedom within a structure that caters to their developmental needs.

You’ll find toddlers engaging in work. This the term that Dr. Maria Montessori used to describe the use of various materials in the school setting.

These can include the following:

Language-enrichment materials:

We embrace the Montessori philosophy that children can absorb language from their environment. These are the building blocks for their ability to learn how to talk, read and write. Most MMIA students are reading by the age of 4. The foundation starts in the toddler years.

Coordination materials:

Eye-hand coordination is an essential part of a child’s development. MMIA uses colorful, natural materials that promote eye-hand coordination. These can include a variety of activities, such as gluing.

Practical life materials:

Practical life skills are developed through a child’s day-to-day activities. A child can gain independence and confidence. They can prepare their own food and get themselves dressed.

The MMIA Toddler community is small and has a variety of planned activities. In this environment, the needs of the children are number one. There should be a feeling of joy in this environment as these young children have freedom. They are not allowed to do whatever they want. They have freedom within a structure that caters to their developmental needs.

The Absorbent Mind

Dr. Maria Montessori, drawing upon earlier philosophies, recognized that the period from birth to early childhood as the period of the Absorbent Mind, developed through Sensitive Periods. She divided them into four areas that your child experiences as part of their development.
The following is a summary of those four areas.


Babies are moving, stretching and exploring with their limbs, even before birth. Instructors of Montessori understand the importance of providing children the ability to continue that exploratory movement, using their fingers, hands, legs, and feet to connect with the intriguing objects surrounding them. We encourage an environment that provides infants with free, safe movement so that they can further develop eye-hand coordination. It’s important that a child is not constrained in their ability to move at the early stages of their development.  


Communication is key to a child’s development. As you speak to your infant, you may see them intent on watching your lips and expressions. This is evidence of a baby’s interest in language and the connections made through conversations and other sounds. In Montessori, the development of language is reinforced through a teacher talking and singing to an infant, practices that parents naturally engage in at home. Through imitation, children will start moving their own mouths and making sounds to develop their ability to communicate with those around them.


Touch, taste, sound, smell, and hearing are all new and important perceptions in the life of an infant. As such, the Montessori philosophy is centered on ensuring those sensorial perceptions are engaging without being overwhelming. We choose soothing music, natural materials and elements of nature to accommodate a child’s need for a welcoming sensorial experience of their world. We keep those elements simple, whether it is a classical tune played at a low volume or a chunky round wooden toy.


To help infants and toddlers make sense of their world, it’s important to develop an orderly environment that promotes familiarity and calmness. At Maria Montessori International Academy, we understand the need for children to be in an environment that is calm and welcoming. Throughout our schools,  we facilitate familiar surroundings by keeping items simply furnished and organized. As children develop, they learn the concept of putting objects back into their dedicated places. 

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“The education of even a small child, therefore,
does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life.”

— Dr. Maria Montessori