Maria Montessori wrote, “The child has a different relation to his environment from ours… the child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear.”
If we adhere to these powerful words of Montessori then we are to believe that our young infants and toddlers are absorbing all that is around them, and are really creating a version of their future selves. If we want these future selves to be emotionally mature beings who have empathy for others and aren’t afraid to express themselves then it is our job to teach these children how to identify and respond to these emotions, and maybe most importantly of all that it is ok to express and have these feelings.
Talk About the Emotions
Labeling how your child is feeling in the moment may be one of the most helpful tools in learning about emotions. It allows the child to have a real example of what it means to be sad, frustrated, or even angry. When we put the words, “I see that you’re sad,” or “I know it’s frustrating” into context with their tears or angry outbursts we are helping them understand what is going on inside of their body. The words sad or frustrated begin to have a context and meaning apart from just being a word that adults use. It gives these children a way to eventually start discussing their feelings with others.
Not only is labeling a child’s emotions helpful, but we can also label our own feelings for children. When we lock our keys in the car and have a moment of frustration that could lead into a not so pleasant expression of words; we can think twice and say, “I’m so frustrated.” It’s ok for our children to see our vulnerable expressions of feelings. It again puts a context to the words and makes it more real for the child. Saying, “I’m sad right now. I can feel the tears on my face” may be exactly what your child needs to see and hear to know what sadness means.
Go beyond just labeling emotions, and let your child know that it’s normal and ok to express their emotions. We want to create humans who are in touch with this side of themselves, and don’t hesitate to let others know how they are feeling. When your child is throwing themselves on the floor because they didn’t get that toy they wanted; feel free to say, “I see that you’re angry right now. It’s ok to feel that way. I get angry sometimes too.” The simple words of “it’s ok to feel that way” may be the magical words that stop the tantrum. Most importantly they are the magical words that your child will remember when they are the adult who may be feeling angry, and instead of bottling up these emotions they will be able to express them in a healthy way.
At the infant and toddler level we need to remember to keep our responses simple and to the point. Once we’ve labeled and empathized with our child then we can give some words and directions that will hopefully help our child self-sooth and manage their emotions. Taking a deep breath and exhaling can often work wonders for the child who is very upset. This moment of taking a breath often relaxes their body in a way that very few things can, and lets them begin to focus on what comes next. When taking a breath doesn’t work we can also offer the option of needing some time and space. It’s ok to tell your child that it looks like they need some space, and slowly step back to give them the time and space they need to work through their emotions. Not all emotions have an easy resolution, and sometimes the best thing is to allow the toddler to feel the emotions and let it pass. Other times asking them if they need something or asking them if they would like a hug is a sign of respecting them but offering a tangible connection they may need to work through their emotions.
Dealing with emotions is not always an easy thing to do. However, the work you put in now will only help to benefit your child’s future self!
The toddlers of Celeste were enthralled in exploring with all of their senses during the month of May. The only true way for a toddler to engage in their surroundings is by being able to touch, see, taste, hear, and smell the world around them.
Some smelling bottles were brought into the classroom, some food prep work, some musical shakers, puzzles with different textures, and of course coloring and painting with different colors. All of these works captured the toddlers interest and helped build their concentration for the world around them.
May also brought a visit from the Reptile Man. He captured their attention with snakes, lizards, and even a crocodile. It was truly amazing to watch all of the toddlers getting to see these beautiful creatures up close and personal.
The entire infant and toddler program also had a great community park event at Ferrel McWhirter on a Saturday morning. The toddlers could be seen talking to animals, running through the grass together, as well as parents enjoying the company of each other. A great time to build community!
June promises to bring more smiles to the toddlers of Celeste and MCH, as the playground starts to come to completion and the toddlers get the chance to explore this new and exciting play area. There will also be more sunshine and days for exploring our nature trail, and the goats and ducks here on campus. The school year will wrap up with a toddler field day full of bubbles, playing outside, and other creative outdoor experiences. It’s sure to be a great ending to the school year!
April has been a great month of exploration! The flowers have been blooming around campus, insects have been crawling and buzzing around the playground, and the toddlers of Celeste have been enjoying it all!
It’s wonderful to hear the children asking about the different bugs they see, and pointing out the colors of flowers.
Inside the classroom the children enjoyed using tongs to transfer colorful bugs onto grass, as well as arrange flowers in Terra Cotta pots. They have also been enjoying painting an apple tree, and using stickers that have fun Spring Time themes.
The month of April concluded with an Earth Day Concert from Eric Ode. The toddlers greatly enjoyed dancing to his songs, and watching all of the wonderful props he uses in his story telling. The toddlers also got to sit near the Seniors who were visiting from Aegis and were able to share many wonderful smiles with them!
The month of May promises to be just as exciting for the toddlers of Celeste. They will get the chance to paint with some very vibrant and bright colors, as they create gifts for Mother’s Day.
March brought some days of sunshine, as well as days of exploring the outdoors with the toddlers being bundled less.
The change in seasons is sometimes hard for the toddlers as it causes a disruption in their routine, such as venturing outside with fewer layers or even not coat at all. Thankfully the toddlers also enjoy having this new found freedom of movement, and don’t take very long to transition into these Spring like temperatures.
Thank you to all of the families who brought in flowers and stickers during the month of March. These were greatly enjoyed by the toddlers of Celeste. The art easel has been full of wonderful stickers that the children are proud to say they brought to our classroom.
A few favorite works for the month of March were a ladybug matching work, a ball tracking/spinning work, and a new bee color matching/tonging work. The toddlers of Celeste also enjoyed using Kinethic sand to arrange flowers in small terra cotta pots. Lots of comments about their beautiful flower arrangements have been heard, and seen in the toddlers smiling faces.
April brings Spring Break and hopefully the chance for families to spend some quality time together. When we come back from break hopefully some warmer weather will move in for some outdoor works like scrubbing tables/chairs, going on bug hunts, and using chalk out on the sidewalk.
April also brings the Celebration of Earth day with a concert by Eric Ode, and a whole school Spring Concert. A wonderful time for the toddlers to share in the joy of our wonderful community and surroundings.
February was a wonderful month for the toddlers of Celeste! They got to experience some more snow, and had so much fun stomping in it and talking about how cold it was. They even tried to make some snowballs and roll them around the playground.
The month also brought a celebration of our friendship for one another that culminated in a friendship fruit salad for Valentine’s Day. The toddlers enjoyed peeling, cutting, stirring, scooping, and of course eating the fruit! The older toddlers were so patient with their younger friends and tried to help them with the fruit. This is one of the wonderful perks of having a Montessori mixed-aged classroom. The way in which the toddlers learn from one another is a highlight of our classroom.
February also showcased a few favorite works of most of the toddlers in Celeste. These included mixing primary colored water together, and seeing what new colors they could create. The work also had several steps to it, so the older toddlers were able to follow many multiple step directions to complete the work in its entirety. A few other new works that were enjoyed were peeling and cutting bananas, squeezing sponges, using dot markers, and hammering nails.
March will hopefully bring some sunshine our way, but if not the toddlers will continue to appreciate the rain and the wonderful puddles it brings. The emergence of early Spring signs will be a focus for the toddlers of Celeste during the month of March. This means teaching the toddlers to look for budding flowers, a change in temperatures, as well as birds and insects that will start to buzz around. We will soon do another sign-up for fresh flowers, as well as a sticker sign-up. It’s always a wonderful thing to see the toddlers working on flower arranging in our classroom.
January was a wonderful month of focus and concentration in the Celeste classroom. The toddlers enjoyed working with some new materials for counting, sorting, and language. Some of the favorite works were sorting elephants that were small, medium, and large sizes. They also loved counting snowmen while using tongs to place them in a sorting tray. Identifying different parts of a train, and sorting colored pegs was a favorite as well. It’s been a joy to capture some of these moments in pictures or videos, and share them with everyone through Bloomz.
The month ended with a long-awaited celebration of the opening of the sandbox on our toddler playground. The children anxiously watched as our maintenance crew worked on completing the project. They were excited to see them cutting wood, hammering nails, and using wheelbarrows to fill the sandbox with sand. The moment that Mr. Ryan lifted the gate the toddlers have loved playing in the sand. We’ve filled the sandbox with pots and pans, ladles, muffin tins, and cake molds. Lots of pretend cakes and muffins have been the talk of the playground.
February brings Valentine’s Day, and an occasion to celebrate our friendships’ with one another. Toddlers don’t quite understand the concept of passing out Valentines, so they will be sharing a friendship fruit salad instead. This allows the toddlers to work on chopping, peeling, stirring, and serving one another fruit. Some new works will also be brought into the classroom that revolve around heart shapes include sorting colored hearts, using tongs to transfer some wooden hearts, as well as hanging some heart bracelets on a horizontal post.
The end of the February will hold a parent night focusing on how to deal with difficult behaviors for infants and toddlers. This will be a great opportunity to build a stronger connection between home and school. This is also a nice time to chat with other parents, and share stories and get support.
I hope that the holiday season provided each of you with the chance to enjoy your family, and spend quality time together.
What a wonderful treat the snow on Christmas was. If you stayed home hopefully there was time for snowmen building, and playing in the snow! Always a nice delight to see the toddler’s reaction to the snow falling!
In December, the toddlers focused on some new Holiday themed works. Some of these included hanging candy canes, using tongs to move snowmen around, decorating a tree, spinning dreidels, and matching holiday themed erasers. A nice chance to use different materials to work on some everyday skills that the toddlers are working on like building better eye hand coordination, counting, and a one to one correspondence.
The month of December also allowed the toddlers to create some unique ornaments for their families. They got to choose their own cookie cutter shape, and the colors of beads they wanted to fill it with. Once the cookie cutter was filled we put these shapes into the oven and melted the beads into a wonderful mixture of colors that let the light shine through them. The toddlers took great pride in being able to share these with everyone around them. They also made these ornaments for some staff around our school who help to make their day special. Some of the older toddlers took turns delivering these to staff, and saying Happy Holidays! A wonderful opportunity to build thankfulness, and appreciation into the toddler’s world.
With the New Year we will be adding some new friends to our classroom, which always presents an exciting experience. As our next-door infant classroom starts to have some older infants this provides the opportunity for the toddlers to interact with new friends who are younger than them, and gives them a chance to work on respecting the space and abilities of others. Such a joy to watch these older infants transition into younger toddlers!
January also means a focus on some more core toddler developmental skills. These include stringing beads, sorting small, medium and large items, catching and throwing balls, as well as working on balancing. This month is a great time to collect more observations on the toddlers to aid in some detailed progress reports, which will be discussed with parents in conferences in February. Looking forward to meeting with each other!
Here's to a wonderful New Year!
With November behind us it’s always fun to look back over the month, and see what wonderful things the toddlers have been doing. They continued to work on flower arranging, as well as admiring all of the wonderful colors that the flowers added to our room. One bouquet of flowers had pinks, purples, yellows, and even blues in it! This was definitely a favorite of many of the children.
During the month of November, we were also blessed with several new works from our classroom wish list. Thank you to all the generous parents who have added some great new works into our room. Some of these works included counting spots on ladybugs, sorting colored magnetic pieces, a barnyard animal counting/sorting work, as well as a shape puzzle. All of these wonderful new additions aid in continuing to keep the love of learning alive for these toddlers. Thank you again!
A highlight of November included listening to Margaret Read McDonald share some of her stories with all of the toddlers. We gathered in our classroom and listened as she shared some stories about picking peas, a hungry cat, and animals that were big and small. The toddlers loved her animated voices, and the colorful pictures in her books.
December is often one of those months that passes so fast, as everyone gets ready for the holiday season. It’s also a wonderful time to let the toddlers create a unique gift that they get to take home and share with their families. They often walk around talking about what they made, and are so proud of the work they put into it. This year the toddlers are getting the chance to pick their own colors and shapes, as they create a wonderful gift.
The month of December also usually brings to light the effectiveness of Montessori’s mixed age groups. Now that we have been in school for awhile and the children are all settled into their routines we really get the chance to see many of the older toddler’s starting to embrace this role, and beginning to help the younger children in our classroom. The toddlers will be given the opportunity to do this in the shoe room, as they work in the classroom, as well as during our play outside.
The end of the month brings Winter Break, and a wonderful time spent with family. I just want to wish everyone a Happy Holidays!
The toddlers of Celeste have greatly enjoyed getting to celebrate Fall during the month of October.
The month brought the chance for the toddlers to explore pumpkins in many different fashions. This included painting them, hammering golf tees into them, feeling the textures both inside and out, as well as carving a Jack-O-Lantern out of a large pumpkin.
Thank you to all of the parents who made these activities possible with the classroom donations of pumpkins and gourds. October also brought colder temperatures and the opportunity for the children to work on the self-help skills of bundling up to go outside. October also wouldn't feel complete without the Annual HarvestFest in which many toddlers could be seen wearing their costumes as they collected prizes and goodies at the different activities. It's always a special treat to get to spend this time as a community celebrating with one another. Thank you to everyone who came out to the event!
In November, the toddlers of Celeste will continue their work with new sensory materials to explore, as well as more flower arranging. The work of arranging flowers is such a special task, as it affords the toddler's the chance to contribute something beautiful to our classroom setting. There's nothing like seeing their face as they pour the water into the funnel, put their flowers in the vase, and then get to choose a special spot for their flowers on a shelf. Lots of language happens about the colors and smells that the flowers bring to Celeste.
November is also a time that we like to take the chance and focus on some Grace and Courtesy skills. For toddlers this means making these concepts more concrete for them and giving them the chance to serve snack to one another, help set tables for their friend's lunches, and using language that is peaceful and calm with one another. These are all skills that can also be worked on at home, and help to bridge home and school together.
A few more events for the month of November will be having a story teller come for a visit, as well as a parent education night to help explain the basics of Montessori and give parents the chance to discuss questions they may have.
The start of the school year has been great, and started off with a wonderful BBQ and concert with our MCH community.
We’ve only had a few new students join our classroom this September, as we have had many returning children and friends who started this summer.
It’s wonderful to see how caring and kind the toddlers have been to each other, as they have helped our new friends get settled into the classroom and routine.
This month often brings a focus on self-help skills with the toddlers learning to dress and undress themselves, as well as helping get themselves ready in the shoe room.
A few new works that really held the toddler’s interest included tracking balls down a circular ramp, wrapping shapes in tinfoil, and identifying different types of tools by their names.
The month concluded with a community park gathering at Farrel McWhirter where the infant and toddler families got to see many farm animals, and run around in some unexpected sunshine!
The month of October is starting off with a visit from the Redmond firefighters and their trucks! The toddlers love this opportunity to see the trucks up close, and get to hear the firefighters talk about some fire safety issues.
October also brings a wonderful change in the temperatures and sights on the playground with bright Fall colors. The children love picking up the leaves and talking about the colors. In the classroom some Fall works will adorn the shelves. These include sorting different colored acorns, counting pumpkins, and a basket of Fall socks to practice putting on.
Parents will also start to bring in bouquets of flowers for arranging and putting around the classroom. These are beautiful additions into our environment. The month will end our Harvest Festival celebration where the entire school comes together to play games and visit with each other.
El Salon Celeste Lead Teacher