Toddler Learning

As I begin planning to create a Montessori home school preschool area in our home for Dylan, I am also thinking about taking the opportunity to incorporate some of the Montessori infant and toddler curriculum for Blake. Since Dylan has just turned three, he is ready to begin the Montessori activities for three to six year olds. Before I started researching preschool options for Dylan about a year ago, I did not realize that curriculum and materials existed for infants and toddlers.

I am not all that concerned that I did not formally do any of the infant and toddler activities with Dylan when he was an infant or a toddler. I was concerned, momentarily, until I talked the matter over with my husband. He reassured me that many of the things that I do during my time at home with the kids are, in fact, educational. It turns out that I am a great “unintentional educator”. Whatever I decide to do for Blake will likely be very informal.

If you are a parent of a toddler and you are wondering whether it is time to incorporate educational activities into your little one’s day, it is important to acknowledge the contributions that you may already be making. For example, a popular phrase used in Montessori education is “Help me to do it by myself”. Each time you help your child learn a new skill, whether it is putting on his socks or pedaling a tricycle, you are helping him to learn to do things himself. These activities come naturally as a part of parenting, no curriculum required.

Also, the things that you do with your toddler out and about in your community are educational, not only for the activities themselves, but as opportunities for your toddler to observe and interact with other people. For example, one of Dylan’s favorite activities is going to the grocery store. For as long as I can remember, he has enjoyed our weekly trips to the store. While he is there, he sees me picking out the food that we will eat at home, he sees all of the different kinds of food at the store, and he sees many different people. Sometimes he observes quietly, and other times he tries to interact with everyone that passes by. He watches intently as we check out, so he knows about paying for the food, too. After we visit the store, he likes to talk about what we did and who we saw. From his observations, I can tell that he is learning a lot, even from something that I think of as such a simple and routine activity.

What are the ways in which you unintentionally educate your toddler?