Please find a description of our Comunidad Infantil II program below, for children who are walking confidently to age 3. General information, including information about our enrichment activities, bilingual instruction and scheduling, may be found on the programs home page.
The Comunidad Infantil II program is designed to meet the developmental needs and high energy levels of this age group. The program focuses on the unique needs of the younger children, approximately 18- 24 months, as well as the unique needs of children who are 2+. The guide (teacher) will do individual lessons and lessons with pairs, accordingly. We currently are enrolling children who are under 18 months, if they are walking confidently.
As our program is bilingual, we spend the mornings mostly in Spanish and the afternoons are a mix of Spanish and English. The child is most sensitive and receptive to a second language during the period from birth to age six. During these crucial developmental years, the child tends to learn most effectively not through conventional teaching means, but by absorbing information through activity within the environment to which he is exposed. This is a natural process, embraced by the child with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. So, we are confident that even children who enter without knowledge of Spanish, will thrive in our environment.
Toddlers crave independence and are eager to learn. A growing conviction of “I can do it” grows within the child as they explore their learning environment and engage with a wide range of educational materials designed just for them. Materials, which are easily accessible, safe, and appealing, invite children to move about the classroom freely and choose among a variety of activities. The child’s sense of order is developed with the assistance of an orderly environment where everything has a place. The children are encouraged to put one activity away before beginning another.
Through the Comunidad Infantil II program, each child will flourish in the practical life area as they learn how to care for themselves and their environment. This includes abilities like feeding, hanging up their coat, dressing, preparing their own snack, and cleaning up their own spills. Toilet education is also introduced at this age, as children show readiness, in partnership with the parents. In addition, each child will learn important life skills including patience and respecting others in a group setting. Outdoor play is part of each full day, weather permitting.
The curriculum includes activities to help children develop their fine and gross motor coordination and visual discrimination through the senses as well as beginning math and language skills. Ultimately, the children will develop an awareness of numbers and basic math operations. There is also a language area with special materials to develop the preliminary skills for writing and reading available, when the child shows they are ready. With ample opportunity for hands-on learning and freedom of movement throughout the day, the Montessori environment provides a safe, nurturing place for children to develop their minds and bodies.
Children are particularly receptive to developing their senses from about 2 years to 6 years old so, the Comunidad Infantil II program includes a sensorial curriculum, generally unique to Montessori education. It heightens awareness, trains and refines children’s senses- tactile, visual, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory senses; just to name a few. Through repetition, the Montessori child is able to differentiate between the slightest differences and variations in the world around him. The Montessori Sensorial exercises isolate one specific sense at a time, maximizing its refinement. These materials set the foundation for all Montessori work as they indirectly teach order, and are self correcting, enabling the children to practice their independence. Many of the materials are repurposed in the math curriculum. In addition to the Montessori curriculum, a full array of enrichment in music, art, dance, athletics and yoga complement the program.
Transition to Río Valley
We understand how challenging it can be for parents and children to be away from each other. So, we invite each student and their family to Río Valley to spend time with their guide (their teacher) getting to know each other through educational activities, at a time when other students are not in attendance. We also offer a home visit, before or after this meeting. We work through the beginning months, establishing a relationship with the children as well as routine, to overcome separation anxiety. Every child is nurtured through this stage of growth.