I am a huge advocate of Montessori Parent-Toddler Programs. I loved the first program I attended with Caspar many years ago. There is only so much Montessori you can learn online and in books. Getting a first hand experience is invaluable. If you have a toddler and are even just slightly the littlest bit interested in Montessori I encourage you to check out a program near you.
- The room, the shelves, the materials are ready prepared. There is no preparation on your part the teacher/group leader has done the hard work for you.
- Your child is exposed to a wide range of activities. It's unrealistic to expect that anyone could provide all of these activities or all of these materials in a home environment.
- You have the opportunity to observe your child using the materials, how they use them, which are their favourite. This can provide inspiration for similar activities or extension activities at home.
- You get to build a community with like minded parents. Sharing ideas and experiences can be really helpful especially when you have children of similar age.
- If you are considering Montessori schooling a Parent-Toddler Program is a great introduction. Your child will become familiar with the environment. You can see if Montessori is a good fit for both you and your child.
- You can ask questions. The teacher/group leader will have extensive knowledge on Montessori. Have a question it's likely they know the answer. Toilet learning to sleep - their knowledge extends further than the classroom.
- Often these programs have a library, suggested reading or useful brochures. They can be a great resource especially if you ask the teacher/group leader for recommendations.
- You can focus on your child uninterrupted. No need to worry about cleaning the dishes or hanging out the washing, this is special one-on-one time.
- Some programs have purpose built facilities. Children have the opportunity to use real toddler sized sinks and toilets which can be really empowering.
Live in Canberra or the ACT region? The Canberra Montessori School is opening a new Parent Toddler Program in Forde. The next open day is this Thursday 20th September, 9.30-11.30am, at the Forde Community Centre, corner Francis Forde Boulevarde & Zakharov Avenue. I hope to make it with Otis so if you want to catch up/meet there please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In London (Winchmore Hill)? Have a look at the I Can Do It! toddler classes run by Rochelle.
Thinking about setting up your own toddler group? Rachel wrote a fantastic post How to host a Montessori parent/toddler group which includes lots of detailed photographs. I'm not sure if it's wider issue but if you are interested in attending a parent-toddler program be prepared to go on a waiting list. Many programs are very popular (and run with small class sizes) so the sooner you get on the waiting list the better.