“Education must begin at birth.” ~ Maria Montessori
After 44 years of serving students starting at age 3, MMS is thrilled to open a new program for younger children through the Montessori Toddler Curriculum–the only program of its kind in West Virginia. In addition to providing a high quality Montessori experience, our Toddler program is licensed by the State of West Virginia as a child care provider.
During the first three years of life, children develop more rapidly than at any other time. During this phase, the child absorbs large amounts of information from the environment through observation and experiences. These are the years that lay the foundation for later learning—and the stronger the foundation, the more the child will be able to build upon it.
Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch, who has been an integral part of our Primary 3-6 team for six years, leads the new program:
“I am enthused to share news of a new Toddler program at Mountaineer Montessori School. Having spent the last six years with a focus on the early childhood developmental plane, I am looking forward to venturing into new territory, embarking on the preceding plane of development and thus opening the door to serving our youngest friends. This new venture will provide a space for these young friends that will serve their budding developmental needs, while simultaneously exposing them to some of the early constructs of a Montessori environment that will serve them well when it comes time to transition into the early childhood environment.”
Follow this link for more information about Montessori Infant and Toddler environments:
What ages are served by the MMS Toddler Program?
In our pilot year, the Toddler program will serve children 2 years and up. As the program grows, we may move toward a full Toddler model by offering care for younger children.
Where is the program be housed?
This program is housed at the 20th Street location in the former Primary I classroom. We have made adaptations to indoor and outdoor learning environments to align with the specific needs of our younger friends.
The program hours are 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. Half days (8:00 a.m. to noon) are available. All enrollment is for the full week.
The Toddler program is a “school-year” program, running this year from August 23, 2021-June 3, 2022.
We will follow the school year calendar of Mountaineer Montessori School.
MMS holds WVDHHR child care licenses for programs at both campuses, 20th Street and Staunton Avenue. At 20th Street, we are licensed for toddler care. At Staunton Avenue, our child care license allows us to offer the after school Plus and Campessori Summer Programs.
We are proud to uphold both the standards of the American Montessori Society and the WV Department of Health and Human Resources as we care for your children.
What does the Toddler classroom look like? How does it differ from daycare?
Although MMS is a licensed child care provider, the Montessori Toddler program is not daycare — it is so much more. The Toddler program is focused on fostering your child’s budding quest for independence and exploration.
Some of the key components of the environment are: opportunities for self-care, and care of the environment, refinement of large motor skills and fine motor skills, opportunities for language development and social development. One of the primary portions of the child’s day is the uninterrupted work cycle, during which the children are free to choose from lessons in the prepared environment while receiving gentle guidance from the directress as needed.
Each day includes a short “group time” each day during which children participate in songs, stories, and movement activities. Additionally, we have outside time, rest time, and individual snack time that the child can elect to have at any point during the day (with help as needed.) Children are supported in in “toilet learning” as they show interest and readiness as an added piece of their quest towards independence.
The Mountaineer Montessori Toddler program provides support and guidance for families through programs that may include parent education and parent/child group experiences.
How does the Toddler program prepare my child for the next step in his/her school experience?
The routines of everyday living are the foundation of Montessori Infant & Toddler programs. Activities promote independence, order, coordination, and concentration, as well as support social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. These learning activities include:
- Self-care: washing, dressing, toileting, and eating, according to each child’s individual capacity
- Care of the environment: cleaning, food preparation and food service; plant care and animal care
- Large-motor activities (indoors and out): walking, climbing, running, jumping, balancing, climbing steps, and more
- Fine-motor skills: reaching, grasping, picking up objects, transferring objects, using tools and utensils, doing art work
- Language: naming objects, describing actions and intentions, discussing pictures, conversation, music, and singing
- Social skills: developing manners through interactions with peers, teachers, and adult-led small group games
How can I learn more about Montessori Infant and Toddler programs?
We encourage you to visit the American Montessori Society website for more information about Montessori Infant and Toddler programs
Who will be teaching and caring for my toddler?
Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch is our lead Toddler teacher. Samantha holds an American Montessori Society credential at the early childhood (2.5-6 year olds) level, and completed the AMS Infant/Toddler credential training this summer at the Virginia Center for Montessori Studies in Richmond, Virginia. Samantha has been a key member of our early childhood team at Mountaineer Montessori for six years. She is assisted by Amanda Walker.
Their bios may be found here.
Our teacher/student ratio will reflect AMS and WVDHHR standards.