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The Little Hands toddler environment is carefully planned to meet the needs of 1 ½ to 3 ½ year olds. The classroom is designed to encourage exploration, independence, order, and freedom of choice and movement. The room is organized for the toddler’s convenience. Areas of learning are defined, yet the space is open to allow plenty of room for interaction and activities required for growth and development. These include large muscle movement and fine motor exercises for hand-eye coordination.The toddler curriculum provides for both individual and group activities. Practical Life exercises such as pouring, sweeping, dusting, buttoning, zipping, and table setting are introduced early. These provide opportunities for children to care for themselves and their environment. Lessons of manners and graceful movement are practiced daily to help toddlers learn to share and to be considerate of others.

Another characteristic of the toddler class is the range of manipulative exercise, which includes knobbed puzzles, bead stringing, and other basic Montessori sensorial materials. These are designed to heighten the child’s senses and are unique to the Montessori environment. Other activities included are music, singing, and storytelling.

The outdoor area is equally important with plenty of safe, tree shaded areas to run and climb and roll in the grass. A large covered patio provides space for the little ones to ride tricycles, and pull wagons to their delight. Gardens are planted and tended by the children and teachers and the vegetables and flowers become a part of snack and beautifying the classroom.

 

The lessons at Little Hands embrace the Montessori Method, while being age-appropriate. As with MCDC, the children’s work is out on shelves for them to select as they like during work time. This helps cater to the “sensitive periods”.Many of the lessons focus on the “pincer grasp” that toddlers are developing during this time. “Control of error” is another big facet of the materials here at LHM.

One lesson that focuses on both pincer grasp and control of error involves two mini-pitchers and pinto beans. One pitcher is filled with the beans. The point of the task is to get the beans from one pitcher to the other. The way they have to grip the pitcher works on the pincer grasp. As beans spill, they learn that that is okay (control of error) and that when we spill something we simply clean it up (practical life skills).