Our Toddler Program

The Forest Hills Montessori School Toddler environment is more than a mere classroom; it is a home away from home for children ages 15 months to 2.9 years old. Our classrooms are designed to meet the independent and curious nature of a toddler, allowing them to freely explore in a beautiful, carefully prepared environment that is just their size. They are also given ample affection and loving guidance.

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With Montessori principles as our guide, each student in our Toddler program has the opportunity to:

  • Strengthen language skills
  • Refine gross and fine motor skills
  • Develop independence and confidence
  • Practice social skills and caring for others
  • Explore music, movement and literature

Under the careful guidance of Montessori-trained toddler teachers, our children engage in practical life pursuits, dressing, and hand washing, as well as pre-reading activities, puzzles, art, music, and conversation. Independence is fostered by allowing the child to choose from a variety of activities that they can accomplish with success.

The adult-child ratio in the Toddler class is one adult for every four children, which enables the staff to give optimum supervision, personal care and a lap or hug for the very young child who requires it.

The classroom environment is designed on a very small scale so that everything is in easy reach. The classroom belongs to the children; nothing in the room is off limits. Toddlers are particularly happy about that!

Toilet training is not a requirement, but is encouraged during the child’s time in the Toddler program. Parents are responsible for making the first introduction. Thereafter, the staff and parents work together.


Our Preschool Program

The preschool community is primarily focused on five areas: practical life, sensorial, language, math, and cultural studies. The emphasis is on individual learning, though there are daily group lessons and social interactions. The children make choices in areas that are of the greatest interest to them. Once the activity is introduced, the teacher is able to withdraw and the child is able to work independently. The love of learning is fostered each day, and a spirit of respect and cooperation is developed.

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Practical Life: The Skills of Daily Living
The Practical Life area provides the link between home and school. In the classroom, with child-sized tools that actually work, a young child is able to perform the same activities they have seen adults do: polishing, scrubbing, pouring, sweeping, etc. The pace is unhurried, and an adult is nearby to help if needed, but not to interfere. “I can do it myself” is the motto of the young child, and Montessori encourages and fosters this independence.


The world is color, size, dimension, shape, form, sound, touch, taste, and smell. In order to continue their creative task of development, a child needs to satisfy and express the impressions they have already received. The highly specialized Montessori sensorial materials use the child’s senses to clarify, classify, and comprehend the world. They are specifically designed to educate the senses. By appealing directly to the young child’s active sensory antennae, learning is a natural result of the desire to explore.

Preschool-aged children have naturally mathematical minds. They have the capacity to reason, to calculate, and to estimate. They are intensely conscious of quantity, counting pebbles on the beach or cookies for dessert. The concrete Montessori mathematical materials allow these sensorial explorers to begin their mathematical journey from the concrete to the abstract through manipulation, experimentation, and invention. The math materials build on each other in increasing complexity so that the child using them will experience the thrill of discovery for themself as part of a natural progression.

Language from Spoken to Written

The Montessori preschool classroom emphasizes spoken language as the foundation for all linguistic expression. Throughout the entire Montessori environment the child hears and uses precise vocabulary for all the activities. The child is encouraged to converse with peers and staff. Reading is taught phonetically as the child is ready. The concrete materials, from the sandpaper letters to the beginning of sentence analysis, allow the child to take small, logical, sequential steps to independent, fluent reading. Language work leads into cultural subjects, extending the child’s vocabulary and working with the child’s fascination of their environment.

Language and Reading
The vibrant conversations in the classroom lead to the formal teaching of reading. Reading is taught phonetically, following the natural sequence of oral language acquisition. The child progresses from spelling words to constructing sentences. The formal structured reading curriculum is supported by storytelling, poetry reading, and singing, thus fostering a joy and desire to understand the written word.

Art and Music
The arts are not treated as specialty subjects in Montessori. Instead, art and music activities are viewed as integral forms of self expression and they complement and enhance the children’s ongoing exploration. The materials for art and music are integrated into the prepared environment as part of the day to day activities of the children.

The work of classification and language are extended in the Cultural area. Materials are available to enable scientific exploration of biology, geography, history, and physical/earth science. We have a “cosmic” approach which allows maps, flags, booklets, and models of land and water formation to be used by the children to explore the world’s continents and oceans, people and customs, leading to an appreciation of the human family with its rich variety.