Clothing in Toddler Environment
Clothing needs to be easy to put on and take off for both the child and the guide in the classroom. Freedom of movement and comfort is crucial to the developmental process. Young children need to be able to use materials and participate in activities throughout the day. It is our goal to set your child up for success in the Montessori environment. We recommend natural fibers as they are softer and more breathable to the skin.
Clothing in the Toddler room needs to be easy for the child to dress and undress independently throughout the day with as little assistance as possible. This is part of “care of self” the guides in the classroom assist and observe as children practice dressing and undressing skills. We ask that children do not wear one-piece clothing or clothes with fastenings they are unfamiliar with. Elastic waist pants are best, pull over tops, and pull over dresses with socks instead of tights. This will set them up for success by ensuring when they get in the bathroom they are not detained by a pair of overalls or a zipper that is difficult. Our environment is full of dressing boards for them to practice dressing and undressing in a non-hurried manner. Parents supply an all-in-one cloth diaper for their child to be sent home in, wipes and any ointments. Please label all supplies in permanent ink.
In the Toddler room, the school provides snacks as part of practical life and grace and courtesy. Parents send a healthy lunch with natural foods low in salt and sugar. Suggestions are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy or soy products. Please alert our guides on enrollment forms if your child has an allergy. MOA serves only healthy snacks made of whole wheat ingredients, organic fruits or vegetables, nothing high in salt, sugar, processed or refined and NUT FREE. Due to the wide range of family preferences, we do not serve animal products. Children set and clear the table; practice grace and courtesy, wash and dry the dishes and participate in daily community life. Montessori philosophy sets a pattern for life and love of being and contributing to a family or society. This process helps to build a good citizen by active participation and responsibility starting from birth. At lunch time they set the table, then they get their lunch box, place their food on their plate and put their lunch box under their chair. When lunch is over the children scrape plates into the compost and wash them. They wash the dishes in a 2-sink process. After the children have washed all their dishes, they are put in a dishwasher for sterilization.
Attachment and separation are part of a process children must undergo from birth in order to become an individual: separate and independent within the environment. Children from birth work towards independence and constructing themselves. In order to best assist your child towards being capable and building self esteem, we must provide a loving and supportive base for attachment. It is from this strong base they can reach into the world and detach to explore their environment.
Starting in a new environment with a new caregiver can be hard on parent, child and guide. Arrivals and departures can also add stress to the group.
Please plan to arrive 15 minutes early so you can help your child establish a routine for arriving and departing. The more confident you are in leaving the more confident your child will feel in being left.
Once you leave, we ask you do not return as this causes undue stress on your child, the community and the guide. It is our expectation that you develop a sense of trust with our school prior to enrollment so you can model for your child a healthy experience to attending the toddler community. Feel free to call and check on your child as much as you like. However, keep in mind our first priority is the children. When time permits we will check messages and call you back.
When picking up and dropping off it is important to be sensitive to the community by creating the least disturbance in the room as possible. When other children see you, they are reminded of their own parents and may feel sad.
Please enter our environments quietly, using a low voice as to be respectful of the children.
Montessori of Alameda’s infant and toddler community follows the 50 years of research of infants and toddlers and the Rie, Montessori and Pikler philosophies. For more information about this research we recommend these books:
Trees Make the Best Mobiles by Jessica Teich
Your Self Confident Baby by Magda Gerber
Understanding the Human Being by Dr. Silvana Montanaro
Upon arrival please we ask your child to wash their hands. We will have the children wash their hands several times throughout the day to keep a healthy environment.
Keep in mind, although your child may appear to have energy at home, if they are not feeling 100% they may not feel like being part of a community. If your child is not participating or resting easily at school it will become necessary to call and ask a parent to take him home where he can receive proper care for his illness. It is our recommendation that each family have a family or friend who can provide care when a child is ill. We are sensitive to families who cannot take time off from work to care for their child themselves. However it is in your child’s best interest to have a plan for these situations rather than expect them to be happy in a group environment when they do not feel well. Keep in mind it is unfair to the community of children to expect us to refrain from normal activities such as outside time. If you send your child to school, we will expect them to be ready to participate in outside activities and be dressed appropriately for the weather.
Montessori philosophy in reference to becoming independent in the bathroom:
It is our philosophy that toileting is part of practical life or care of self. In our environment children in the toddler room wear training pants to school except during naptime. Parents are responsible for sending training pants labeled in permanent ink. The theory behind Montessori’s approach to toileting is that this is a natural function and a child needs to know that we keep all body parts clean and dry. The guides in the classroom will help assist the children in changing themselves when needed. This sends the proper message that it is not desirable to have wet or soiled pants and we change them immediately. This process helps a child to become conscious of his/her body parts and absorb the information we are sending. As soon as a child shows interest in wearing training pants they begin to wear underwear. Underwear is easier to change and allows more freedom of movement and sets the child up for success “to dress and undress independently”. In our community, toddlers can wear underwear and slippers and a warm t-shirt (free from logos or media propaganda) this will help each child master personal care.
Our guides understand that it is a natural body function to eliminate the body, very similar to breathing. The guides do not react to what modern society might call “an accident” we also refrain from any negative comments as to smell or visual descriptions. We do not want the child to feel they did something wrong or made a mistake. We also do not exaggerate by putting on a parade or similar commotion when using the toilet is accomplished. Montessori philosophy is that the reward in using the toilet is having clean pants. There is no need for bribery or treats for using the toilet.
Tips for using this philosophy at home: When a child wets their pants and the floor, stay calm, try not to react or make a negative comment like “uh-oh.” Do not call it an accident or a mistake. Simply model for the child how to use the bathroom and wash your hands, then let her/him try. Then give them dry underwear to put on (keep extra clothing in the bathroom for convenience) and show your child how to clean the floor, letting them help when ready. Again making sure to wash your hands when finished. It is recommended that you have some small cleaning supplies that are your child’s size so they can help more easily.
Our toddler community enjoys our beautiful courtyard and garden areas.
Other Important Information
Immunization records are required as is all paperwork prior to enrollment.
Medication will be given only if it’s in its original container with a prescription label attached. Guides are not allowed to give ANY medication including applying sun block without a permission slip. In reference to summer, please put one coat of sun block on your child prior to attending school. Guides will reapply before going outside and once again after exposure to water or sun.
We practice the philosophy of Love and Logic and natural consequences. Physical or verbal punishment is unacceptable in our environment. We do not practice rewards or punishment but logical and natural consequences. The guides in our classroom model kind, calm redirection in a positive manner. It is best if the home environment and school environment are consistent. We believe that parents and guides need to work collaboratively to provide a consistent environment for children in our community. We offer parent education nights and an extensive book and video library on Montessori and Reggio Emilia philosophies of early childhood education as well as parenting and other related subjects.
We welcome and encourage any interested parent or relative to become a culturally enriching vehicle to our curriculum. Please let us know how you can be of help to us so that we many find an appropriate time to incorporate this special event/activity into our schedule.
Our community is always looking for parent helpers for special sewing projects, gardening and school improvement projects. If you would like to share your talents and help us create a beautiful environment, see the Director for a sign-up sheet of our many needs.
Infants as young as 7 months can communicate using sign language. The guides within our community will communicate and assist infants and toddlers in learning sign language vocabulary that is essential to their daily needs: milk, hungry, thirsty, more, all done, change, hurt, etc. Infants and toddlers are less frustrated when they have the ability to communicate their needs and increase their self-confidence, we will share with parents signs that their children are familiar with so they may be used at home too.
Aggression and Biting Policy
Young children are just learning how to interact, socialize and communicate. Often children who lack impulse control or do not yet have the language skills needed to talk through a social situation will resort to some kind of physical action to get their wants met.
Montessori of Alameda follows the Love and Logic and Positive Discipline methods towards discipline and will work with all children as they learn the skills necessary to play, work and socialize together.
However, excessive aggression and biting will not be tolerated in the classroom.
All aggressive behavior that is deemed beyond a simple learning experience will be reported to the parents. We will discuss the behavior and the circumstances around the behavior as well as the way we handled the situation. We do not discuss the names of the children involved.
All biting incidents will be reported to both parents of the child that bit and the child that was bitten. And all such incidents will be recorded in the children’s files.
After a child has bitten 3 times or if their behavior is deemed overly aggressive, a meeting between the teachers and parents will be necessary. At this meeting we will discuss the behaviors, our observations, and what methods we will use in future situations should they arise. We will also discuss actions parents can take at home to support the child as they work through this behavior.
All children are different and each situation will be taken on a case-by-case basis with a plan that is appropriate for that child’s behaviors and needs. However, if the behavior does not improve within the timeline established between the school and the parents, then the family may be informed that this group setting may not be appropriate for their child and may be asked to leave Montessori of Alameda.
Again, we will work with all children and families but we must also keep the safety and well being of all the children in the community in mind.
If, at any time, you have questions or concerns please contact us.
- 2 photographs of your child
- Recent photograph of your child and family
- A sun hat and sun block
- Rain boots and raincoat or snow clothes for appropriate weather (mittens)
- Training pants
- Change of clothes without media logos
- 1 Cloth diaper (all in-one) to send your child home in
- Nap blanket
ALL ITEMS MUST BE LABELED WITH PERMANENT INK
Please check your child’s belongings daily to ensure adequate supply.