In Montessori, we refer to the toddler years as the "terrific twos" rather than the "terrible twos". In fact, NAMTA puts out a video by that name and it so amazing to watch two toddler communities, one in Japan and one in Colorado.
One of the more reputable Montessori schools in town is piloting a program for toddlers (ages 18 mos-36 mos). Because space is so limited, if I want to enroll my daughter for next fall, I need to submit the application now. Is anyone familiar with Montessori programs for toddlers this young? DD will be 19 mos next August, and I didn't know if that is too young to get much benefit.
Sounds like a great school. I wish I could tell you if your daughter is ready, but I have also been contemplating sending my son to a toddler program. We visited our local Montessori toddler program and were so impressed that we submitted an application for January, ds will be 18 mos at the end of Jan. My ds is 15 mos now, I know he would be ready next Sept at 25 mos, but not so sure if we should go through with starting him in Jan at such a young age, mainly because he is this young only once and he will be in school soon enough. But I could use the time to work, errands, etc. That said, I do think he would benefit greatly from the program, just not sure if it would outweigh the lost time at home and with me doing what we do until next Sept. We would have him go just 3 mornings in Jan for 3 hrs each. The children in the toddler program we observed were pouring their own cups of water and were very quiet and focused. It was like magic, kind of eery, but awesome at the same time. I am torn about when he should start. The school we visited has a rabbit and chickens, love it!
sahm wife to dh, AP mama to most amazing boy 07/2009! and 11 chickens NOTV
That sounds like a lovely school. I would consider it, personally.
We sent my DD to a toddler program last year that sounds similar (but no pig... that sounds really awesome!). She loved it, and I loved it too. I jokingly call it "Montessori Lite." It definitely took the major aspects of the Montessori philosophy and simplified it and added a bit more direction. They had a work period, where respecting the work and respecting other people was really emphasized, but how they played with the works was controlled much less strictly than in the 3-5 year old classroom. The works themselves were also mostly modified Montessori works. There were a few that would also be found in the 3-5 year old classroom, but others were obviously just inspired by. They had a circle time (similar to yours in that the children didn't have to participate), and did a lot of arts and crafts and teacher-led activities.
The school was very nurturing and the teachers were just lovely.
I think that it can be counter-intuitive, but that many kids that age do better at 5 ay programs than at programs that only meet 1 or 2 or even 3 days a week. While DD was at her toddler program, a lot of my friends sent their kids to 1 or 2 day a week "playschools" (popular here... a group of 6 or so kids run out of someone's house) and I think it took about as many days for the kids to get used to it as my DD... however, let's say it took her 10 days to get into the routine and over her separation anxiety (it was about that). So it took her 2 weeks to get into it... and the other kids I know 10 weeks. Obviously, it totally depends on the kid... but I think that going 4 days a week was really beneficial for her.
From what I understand about our local 18mo-36mo program, they do 5 days a week only, all day, better for consistancy, learning routine, etc. They do potty training right away too! Pricy...I make too much to qualify for scholarships, but not enough to pay for a whole week. I only need care 2 days a week, though.
My DS 22 months started at his Montessori at 19 months and I am waaaaay beyond impressed with him. It was the best decision ever for him to go. He has blossomed in so many ways.