Skip to main content

Toddler Work -- Toddlers in a Homeschool Classroom

I feel like it's time for another co-op update! I haven't blogged too much about what we have been up to lately, but Montessori co-op has still been meeting once a week. I think the biggest change lately, is that we really aren't a "tot school" any more. Most of the children are solidly preschoolers. They have preschool attention spans, preschool interests and skills. But, this doesn't mean we have completely abandoned our toddler roots and we still have toddler work in our homeschool classroom.

We still have a couple toddlers in our classroom. They are siblings of the older children. So, the challenge is integrating the toddlers in a homeschool classroom that otherwise holds older child work. This is especially challenging with toddlers that are not easily distracted from the preschoolers work.

How do you keep toddlers busy in a homeschool classroom? Here are some Montessori inspired ideas on how to make homeschooling work with toddlers.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

Integrate Movement


What works for me has been NOT creating a toddler area. Instead, I've chosen to mix toddler work with preschool work and vice-versa. I think this gets the toddlers up and moving. And, I think we all know how important movement is to toddlers!


Create Similar Work


Also, I try to create work that is similar, but not necessarily equal for the toddlers. For example, I have a set of chalkboards out for the preschoolers right now -- to work on fine motor and writing skills. So, for the toddlers I have a blackboard pig, which is more open ended but begins these same skills.


Different Expectations


However, while the work might be similar, remember that toddlers are still toddlers. Don't hold toddlers to the same standards as the preschoolers. The toddlers do attempt to use preschool work often, but we don't expect them to be perfect or use it completely as it was shown. Sometimes, we need to be ok with varying how the work is completed.


Don't forget about sensory work


Finally, I try to make sure there are plenty of sensory experiences available. From our traditional sensorial materials to themed sensory bins, I try to give the toddlers and preschoolers the opportunity to explore their senses. This always keeps everyone busy!


Toddlers do add an element of chaos to the classroom, but they sure are fun! And I can't imagine not having them join us!

How do you keep toddlers busy in a homeschool classroom? Here are some Montessori inspired ideas on how to make homeschooling work with toddlers.

How do you deal with toddlers in your homeschool classroom? Share your tips! 


Comments

Kajsa Pace said…
Thank you for this post. I am doing Montessori at home with my little ones and struggle to figure out how to include both my preschooler and toddler. Thanks for the reassurance that it can be done. :)
Amy Rivera said…
where did you find your language cards? (the card with the picture of the elephant)

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2017

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2017 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 


So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 


First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Which Open-Ended Toys are "Worth it?"

As a Montessori parent, I try to provide a mix of materials in our home to engage my kids! That work that will spark joy, concentration, and repetition. It's not always an easy task, as Maria Montessori said, "Life is mysterious...only the choice of life can choose the work that the child truly needs. Therefore, the teacher respects this mysterious process and knows to wait with faith." So, there does sometimes feel like there is a bit of trial and error when it comes to choosing materials that your children need. 

For us, the right balance is easier to find when I spend time deeply observing my children. Watching their interests, sitting on my hands if I have to, letting them struggle a little with things, and letting them get bored. And what I have personally found is that here at home, a combination of open ended materials and more structured work have been the right balance. Open ended toys wouldn't necessarily be found in a Montessori classroom, but they are perf…

A Montessori Approach to Purging Your Toys

Becoming a Montessori family has been life changing in so many ways, most obviously with the amount and type of materials we use in our home. Once you see why having so many toys is a problem, or when you make the decision to move towards Montessori, it can be completely overwhelming. But, taking a Montessori approach to purging your toys is possible! And, it doesn't exactly mean that you have to throw away everything you have and start over with only expensive wooden toys. It will mean taking a hard look at what you have and whether it really fits with Montessori.


One note, however, Montessori is at its core about following your child's own path and respecting your child as a whole person. So, if your child has a toy, lovey, book, or whatever that your child super loves or is super attached to, but it doesn't fit Montessori ideals, don't take it away. Follow your child, that is more Montessori than whether or not you own some specific consumer product. 
How to Purge You…