Infant & Toddler House

The youngest students, ages 4 to 40 months, experience school as an extension of home. The “Little House” building adjacent to the main building on the Harborlight campus is uniquely designed to partner with parents and nurture their child’s development. In this rich learning environment, Montessori teachers prepare activities and guide children through their experiences in all areas of the curriculum. The work of the child at this age is peaceful, joyful, and purposeful.

Dr. Maria Montessori

Whoever touches the life of a child, touches the most sensitive part of a whole which has roots in the most distant past and climbs toward the infinite future.

Infant & Toddler Curriculum

List of 6 items.

  • Practical Life

    Infants and toddlers learn by doing for themselves. This curriculum area provides the opportunity to practice daily living skills. Children gain independence and a sense of responsibility to care for themselves.

    -The scale of the classroom furniture, kitchenettes, and bathrooms encourage children to be as independent as possible with routine activities: washing and toileting, dressing and undressing, and mealtimes. A sense of pride comes when the child completes self-help tasks independently. Practical Life includes exercises to refine their small motor coordination through activities such as pouring water, squeezing a sponge, transferring small objects with a spoon, and more. This area develops the hand for future tasks – holding a pencil properly, shoe-tying, or playing a musical instrument.
  • Grace & Courtesy

    Watering the plants, caring for class pets, sweeping the floor, setting the table, and gardening are some of the lessons that are given to the children that instill a sense of courtesy and commitment to the environment and all living things.

    -Harborlight is affectionately considered a home-away-from-home for our youngest learners. It is their first foray into the real world and they are given the opportunity to express their independence and form a sense classroom citizenship. Planned lessons in this area also include cooking and gardening while smaller, spontaneous lessons occur throughout the day such as when a child lends a hug and an icepack to a classmate who has fallen.
  • Sensorial

    Montessori materials in this area of the classroom respond to the curious child’s exploration through the five senses. In relationship with the materials in the environment, children under three learn to discriminate and identify shapes, colors, dimensions, tastes, and sounds.

    -Sensorial lessons lead to discovery of the world in a very tangible way. Exploration with sensorial materials responds to children’s natural wonder and keen sense of order. Sensorial materials reveal relationships and attributes (hard/soft, short/elongated, prism/sphere) that build a foundation for classification and sequencing in science and math.
  • Math & Geometry

    Real world objects and activities engage toddlers in mathematic concepts. Counting quantities, matching one-to-one, making sets, and more allow toddlers to see and feel how math and numbers work in everyday life.<br /><br />
    -When ready, they can demonstrate the concepts of math by reading numerals and matching sets or quantities of objects with numerals. Montessori materials are specifically designed to lead from concrete exploration to later abstract understanding. The pink tower you see the children building (a material in the Sensorial curriculum) has a very concrete relationship to the algebraic square of the decanomial they will discover during the elementary years.
  • Language

    Infants and toddlers develop a large vocabulary during the first three years. They are able to understand conversations, listen to stories, and follow directions and requests before they are able to speak and express themselves with words.

    Teachers use language purposefully to support the development of a rich vocabulary and engage children in games and lessons that encourage expressive language and correct usage. In Montessori, we use the term ‘nomenclature’ in our Method. Nomenclature is the proper naming of things across the curriculum. For older toddlers, naming is not enough and the teachers dive deeper into definitions of words. For example, the parts of a plant are specifically named and lead to a further study of systems and relationships in botany.
  • Natural World

    The natural environment is attractive and peaceful for young children. Each classroom has an attached deck for extending the learning environment into the outdoors. Mimicking the home environment, the deck bridges learning and nature. Here the children play, read, have a snack, paint at the easel, plant seeds, etc. The play yard is also a natural landscape that includes a mud kitchen and a garden for investigating with earth, water, seeds, and plants.

    Infants take nature walks around campus and in the neighborhood using the strollers and also have their own gated play yard and garden separate from the toddlers. Toddlers spend a good amount of time in the outdoor play yard and gardens each day. This is their first foray into the study of the natural world by exploring and observing the wonders of botany, zoology, and earth science.

List of 5 items.

  • Movement

    Freedom of movement is an expression of independence. Children are allowed to move freely without limitations. Infants eat at a low weaning table instead of highchairs and sleep in low beds instead of cribs; they enjoy being held and rocked in the arms of their teachers in the absence of swings and baby seats. Both infant and toddler classrooms include large motor activities. There is a separate indoor play space for them to exercise their muscles and refine their coordination.

    Encouraging movement helps develop self-spatial awareness and aids in the functions of self-regulation. Children under three learn their range of motion, practice balance, build strength and endurance.
  • Music

    Making and enjoying music connects all areas of the child’s development and builds a foundation for future learning and living. It bonds intellectual and social-emotional intelligences with movement, language, and pre-literacy. Music connects the mind and body in a new language that includes emotions and sensory experiences.

    Exposing infants and toddlers to music is a daily practice. They have access to musical instruments on the selves of the classroom and are exposed to real pieces from all genres. Music and movement classes are offered twice a week by our trained and professional music teachers. These sessions focus on rhythm, dance, songs, and sharing joyful appreciation of making music together.
  • Spanish

    At this age, children have a great sensitivity for language and social development. Our world language teachers carefully construct authentic experiences that capitalize on this period of development and connect language with social engagement.

    Spanish classes are daily visits to the classroom with the children. The Spanish teacher brings a special basket of rotating materials and activities that the children look forward to each day. These materials, songs, games, food tasting, and books are shared with the children one on one and in small groups. As the children choose their individual work or eat snack, the teacher extends the experience by enriching the routines with Spanish conversation.
  • Art

    For the child under three, art is a process and a sensory experience. Exploration is open-ended, open-minded, and often produces long periods of concentration. Materials and media for art such as chalk, clay, dough, paints, wax crayons are accessible throughout the day and prepared for each child to complete independently rather than a teacher-led group activity.

    The goal of art in the infant and toddler classroom is in an understanding of the relationship between the child and the medium. A study in how it behaves in their hand, how it can be manipulated or mixed, how it feels and reacts with tools or when mixed with another media or natural objects such as leaves, petals, etc. This process is the creative expression of the child in the pre-representational phase of ‘producing art’ and provides a foundation for using art as a tool for thinking, feeling, and exploring our world.
  • Library Storytime

    Toddlers end each week with a visit to the Harborlight library. Toddler Storytime features a read aloud, exploration of the library, reading alone and choosing books to take back to the classroom library nook.

Infant & Toddler Faculty

Harborlight teachers are highly trained professionals in their field. Their training in child development and observation equips them with a unique ability to prepare a beautiful and inviting classroom that promotes learning and creates community. Montessori teachers use observation methods to evaluate each child’s intellectual, emotional, and social capabilities.

These observations help the teacher guide the child to an activity or lesson that is the ‘right fit at the right time’ within the Montessori curriculum. These teachers have record keeping notebooks that hold evidence of what the child is practicing and what is mastered along with areas of interest and needs for support all in anticipation of the next steps for each child. Harborlight Infant & Toddler teachers serve as guides between the child and the learning materials and they know the importance of frequently sharing information with parents through formal and informal communication tools to create home-school consistency.

Dr. Maria Montessori

The training of the teacher is something far more than the learning of ideas. It includes the training of character; it is a preparation of the spirit.
Academic Day
Extended Day
Extended Montessori
Days in addition to the academic year calendar are available by prior registration and require an additional fee. 

About Harborlight

Harborlight Montessori is an independent, co-educational, day school for children from infant-toddler through grade 8 that is committed to innovative teaching and learning.