My greatest frustration with a five year old
Mops and brooms!

Today at Montessori Parent-Toddler

Otis arrives at school
Otis arrives at school and hangs his bag on the hook. 

Otis hanging bag on hook
He takes his snack out of his bag (today it's strawberries) and walks inside where he is warmly greeted by the teacher. Otis takes his snack to the snack table. He likes to have his snack straight away so he washes the strawberries, slices them (we slice together with a serrated knife) and puts the waste into the compost. At the table (not shown) he sets his placemat, name setting, fork, napkin and drink. Today for the first time he pours his drink (from the little white pitcher) without spilling a drop. 
Otis preparing snack

Otis washing strawberries
It's only Otis's third time in the class. He is getting used to the routine and now knows where most things are located. 
Otis putting waste into compost
After eating he takes his dishes to the sink (it's child sized), wears a smock and washes the dishes. He needs some direction with this as he prefers to play with the water. Placemat and napkin go into the laundry basket. Otis usually rushes outside after snack but today with his left over strawberries he tries the strawberry slicer. He receives a lesson from the teacher and tries on his own. 
Otis being shown the strawberry slicer
Wow, this is fun. 
Otis using strawberry slicer at school
After packing away the strawberry slicer Otis explores the room. He is often drawn outside to the sandpit or bikes. Today he tries window washing for the first time. Inside the ball tracker is a favourite.
Otis using ball tracker
Otis also likes to play with the barn, to read in the reading corner and he uses many other materials.
Otis using material
Otis looking at rainbow marble tree
The room is divided into sections. There is a practical life area with materials in trays such as pouring, flower arranging and juicing. Today Otis enjoyed sponging (and needed a change of clothes afterwards). In this area there is a mop and broom hanging from low hooks which are also used frequently by Otis. There is an art area (partially shown below) which we haven't really explored yet with an easel and various painting and other supplies.
Art shelves
The shelves are full of wonderful and interesting materials. Below is the language area. You can see where my love of model animals comes from. 
Language materials

Although you can see plenty of materials in the photographs you cannot see the atmosphere. The joy of children quietly and sometimes not so quietly working. Parents and grandparents who intermingle to discuss and share. The child who has a sense of peace and calm who can choose their own material, take it from the shelves, work with it at their own pace and return it when finished. The subtle lessons in grace and courtesy. 

The session ends with group time. Children sitting in a circle (with their caregivers) on the mat on the floor. Sharing music and song. Fingerplay and a book. Recognising each special child in the room. Then of course the tired but enthralled children leave for home. Otis sleeps in the car. Speaking to other parents and for myself I'm not sure who enjoys the class the most - the parents or the children. 
If you run a Montessori toddler program please feel free to leave a link in the comments section or share your details.
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