The primary focus of the Montessori Day School Toddler Program is to prepare an environment that supports the physical, social, cognitive, and emotional development of each child through a variety of hands-on activities.  The children are given opportunities to work individually and cooperatively in group settings.

Toddlers are in a developmental stage that Maria Montessori called a period of “unconscious absorbent creation.”  In the toddler’s process of embodying the world, adults influence attitudes, characteristics, personality traits, speech habits, mannerisms, and how children come to think about themselves in the world.  The teacher prepares the toddler’s environment with enriching aesthetics, materials, and furniture in order to encourage independence and nurture curiosity.  It is here in the Toddler Program that the child begins to cultivate a love for learning and a desire for exploration.


During the toddler years, a child’s speech development explodes with words and is soon followed by sentences.  Every aspect of the toddler classroom allows for growth of language and vocabulary with activities such as books, objects, and storytelling–immersing the child in language.  All of the language materials in the classroom are stepping stones towards reading and writing.

  • Vocabulary Cards
  • Stories Read Aloud
  • Size and Shape Discrimination Exercises
  • Sandpaper Letters
  • Isolating Initial Sounds
  • Tracing Shapes and Objects
  • Naming Objects


Numeral recognition is worked on by using the sandpaper numbers. Only a few sandpaper numbers will be out on the shelves at the beginning. Basic Math skills such as counting, numeral and quantity recognition are introduced through counting activities, which use concrete objects to match with the numbers.

  • Counting Songs
  • Spindles Boxes
  • Sorting
  • Matching Numerals to Quantities
  • Sandpaper Numerals
  • Concept of Time-Daily Routine, Times of Day (morning, afternoon, evening), Seasons


Sensory materials educate and refine the child’s senses and assist toddlers in the great task of organizing, integrating and learning about their sensory input.

  • Dimension: Knobbed cylinders
  • Visual: Color paddles, sorting, shapes
  • Tactile: Rough and smooth, differing textures
  • Sound: Musical equipment, sound cylinders
  • Smell: Seasonal smells


Science for the toddler includes activities that allow the child to manipulate and observe physical properties of an object.

  • Physical Science: Sink and float, magnetic and non-magnetic, color mixing, light vs. heavy
  • Life Science: Plant care, animal care, life cycles, nature walks
  • Earth Science: Weather, seasons, rocks, land, air, and water

Practical Life

Practical Life exercises and materials are designed to contribute to the development of both fine motor and gross motor skills and assist the child in becoming independent and self-sufficient.  Practical Life activities form the cornerstone of the Montessori classroom and prepare the child for all other areas. The emphasis is on process rather than on product. Through the repetition of Practical Life activities, children develop and refine the basic skills that will serve them all their lives.

  • Preliminary Exercises: Control of movement, spooning, pouring, tonging, control of movement
  • Care of Environment: Sweeping, clothespins, rolling a rug, squeezing a sponge, opening and closings lids and latches, gardening
  • Care of Person: Dressing frames, combing hair, washing hands, food preparation
  • Grace and Courtesy: Shaking hands, greeting others, walking around the rug, tapping a teacher on the shoulder/leg

Cultural Studies/Peace

Peacemaking and conflict resolution are a daily part of our Montessori curriculum.  Through the exploration of geography, different cultures, and emotions, toddlers gain a sense of place in the world in relation to themselves and to others.

  • Silence Works, Country Flags, Continents, Gentle Works, Peace Advocates


The toddler arts curriculum focuses on the use of varying materials that encourage both fine and gross motor development and following the ever-changing needs of the child.  With the arts, the primary goal is the process, not the product as toddlers explore many materials and allow for many different learning styles.

  • Visual art: Gluing, painting, cutting, stamping, play-dough, tracing, collage
  • Music: Singing, rhythm sticks, instruments, musical cues for transitions
  • Movement: Instructional songs, climbing stairs, carrying rugs and trays

Please email to schedule a school visit. An interview of a prospective student can be scheduled once MDS has received an application.

Click here to download the Toddler Application (PDF)