When you enroll with your child in LePort’s Toddler Parent & Child class, you enter a beautiful room where everything has a place and a purpose. It’s an environment carefully prepared to enable toddlers to fulfill their urgent need to act independently and to explore with all their senses. Everything is at the child’s level, on wooden furniture sized just right for toddlers. Your child will be excited to take the many interesting materials from the shelves and explore them with you. Parent & Child classes are held in the same Montessori toddler environments that our 18 to 36 month old students enjoy in our drop-off Montessori programs.
As you arrive to class with your child, your guide may invite you to a short get-to-know-you circle time. Then, your child and you are free to explore the many fun activities! Many children choose to walk around, or observe other children; others jump right in and pick materials from the shelves. Follow your child’s lead: as Montessori guides, we believe that children have a keen sense of what they need to learn, and that our role is to support their chosen explorations!
As your child begins to explore materials, from puzzles to arts and crafts and practical activities, like watering a flower, take the time to observe and wonder at your child’s curiosity and creativity. Your Montessori guide will circle around the room, give mini-lessons to children, and explain to you the relevance of what your child is doing: what she is learning and how you can support similar learning experiences at home.
Children get to choose anything that interests them, from a wide range of items accessible on low shelves. Try to step back, and let your child be the leader! The process is the purpose here, not perfect results and wall-worthy art: it’s ok if things get a little messy, if paint splatters. We have cleaning supplies in the room because toddlers delight in working with us to clean things up.
Since toddlers are sensorial learners, we offer a variety of mediums to explore, such as play dough, easel painting with tempera paint, water color paints and and water tubs, nature baskets to discover, plants to take care of, as well as many seasonal items to explore.
At some point during the Parent & Child class, either at the beginning or toward the end, your guide will invite you and your child to join her for a short circle time experience. She may quickly explain a Montessori idea, provide you with a weekly hand out that provides guidance on how to apply Montessori ideas at home, read a short story or sing a song or two . . . or more if the children wish. As in our full-day classes, circle time is voluntary: don’t worry if your child is deeply engaged in an activity and not ready to transition since it’s totally ok for him to complete his work and join circle time later or not at all!
After exploring the room and optional circle time, the children are, of course, hungry! The Montessori guide will invite your child to have a very social snack experience at one of our low tables. Just like in our drop-off Montessori program, we encourage the children to be active participants in getting the snack ready by putting plates on the table, serving food and pouring water. They delight in the feeling of competence and independence that this active participation gives them!
Outdoor play time is an important part of each class where children get to climb, swing, play house, dig in sand and ride on wheeled vehicles while parents get a chance to get to know each other better. Your Montessori guide is also available during outside time, as well as throughout the class, for you to ask questions. Use that time: whether you want to know about fostering independence in eating, or toilet learning, or how to prevent and manage tantrums or sibling rivalries, your guide is there to be your parenting resource, full of experience and Montessori-inspired ideas to add to your toolkit!