Infant Community

Age 2 - 3 years

In Montessori education, we call the children’s play activities ‘work’. This is because we recognise and deeply respect that each child is creating all their basic human characteristics during the first 3 years of life.

Our activities are fun, enticing and engaging with lots of emphasis on independence and creative thought. Staff guide and encourage each child to choose their own work, one activity at a time. We help and support the children to finish a complete cycle of activity before beginning another.

Our infancy Community (I.C) shares the hall with our Children's House. The older children model effective behaviour and learning with the younger children which supports positive relationships and initiates self learning. Infancy children are prepared for transition to the Children's House from age 30 months.


Our classroom has designated areas for:


1. Practical Life: real-life skills (food prep, cleaning, washing, polishing), large motor skills (sweeping, washing, mopping, digging),

independence (self-care).


2. Manipulative toys: fine motor skills and logical thought processes (puzzles, matching, sorting, grading).


3. Art and Crafts: wide variety of media (including paint, chalk, clay, glue, crayons, pencils).


4. Songs and Music-making: child-friendly instruments and CD player


5. Language activities: reading corner and vocabulary enrichment games.


Other activities include: Natural construction blocks and logs, Dressing up and role-play, Car track with a variety of vehicles

Practical Life

Manipulative Toys - Dressing frames


Mealtimes

Are social, communal and nutritional experiences. Children are involved in all stages of setting up, serving and clearing away. We use quality tableware and individual place settings to create an appealing area where the children love to eat.

We want children to experience food in its natural form wherever possible. There are many movements involved in preparing food, which aid the refinement of motor skills. We give children the basic skills for preparing fruits and vegetables to eat. For example, first washing and then pealing a potato, cutting it into pieces and cooking it in different ways.

Meals are very much a celebration of our community life. Like everything else, we prepare the children with presentations and work collaboratively until they are gradually able to take on more independent responsibilities.

Toilet Learning

We have a gentle toilet learning approach: children wear cotton training pants during their awake time with us. We use pull-ups during nap times and the children change back into training pants upon waking.


Children are developmentally capable of beginning toilet learning as soon as they can walk confidently. At this time, your child will be able to gain control of their night bowel movements, followed by daytime bowel movements and then daytime bladder control. This happens around 12-18 months old. Toilet learning is a gradual process like learning how to walk or eat independently. We encourage children to take regular toilet breaks during the day and help them to recognise the physical signs of needing to sue the toilet.


Our main aim is to help your child associate the bodily sensations preceding any elimination with feeling wet afterwards and wanting to get changed. It is important for your child to experience the whole process and be in control of their own body.


Consistency and repetition are the key to success in life; if you are happy to continue using training pants at home, your child will find it easier to leave their nappies behind during awake times.


If you feel cotton training pants are too inconvenient we are happy to suggest manageable solutions, such as putting a nappy over training pants during long journeys.


You can read more about how we approach toilet learning on the excellent Michael Olaf Montessori website, and in this booklet by Sarah Moudry: Toilet Awareness.

Preparing Children to Transition to the Children’s House

The I.C. activities of Practical Life are an important way to help children prepare for life in the Children’s House from 3 years onwards. Learning gentle ways to complete cycles of activity, taking care of the activities and helping others will allow the children to transition successfully when we observe their needs changing.

Our small groups and individual lessons allow each child to feel valued and confident in their own abilities. They learn respectful ways to sit together, make choices, share and help as needed.

Each child will leave the I.C. at a slightly different age, depending on their individual needs. Some may be ready at 2 years 8 months and others at 2 years 11 months. We look for their interests changing towards more sensorial work and deeper exploration. Social and language skills increase and we see your child is ready for a new challenge.

Meet the Staff

Karen, Montessori Diploma 0-3 (AMI).

Karen is trained at the level 0-3 Montessori Assistants to Infancy at the Maria Montessori Institute St. Petersburg, Russia. Karen also holds an early years level 5 certificate. Karen leads the delivery of Montessori education and principles in the Infant Community and Nido classrooms.

Szilvi

Staff information coming soon