(18 to 30 months)
Essential activities teaching toddlers practicalities which promote their growing independence. The Practical Life activities help the child learn how to dress and undress him or herself, how to use the toilet, how to serve him or herself food and drink and how to conduct him or herself at meal time. Practical Life activities also help the child develop skills necessary to look after his or her environment, these include: sweeping, mopping, wiping up a spill and care of plants. All activities are designed to capture the child's interest and have an obvious beginning and end. By completing an activity from start to finish the child experiences the joys of accomplishment and, at the same time, learns to build on his or her ability to concentrate.
All the activities that the children interact with in the Montessori classroom help to further develop his or her movement skills. There are activities that focus on gross motor skill development (sweeping the floor or climbing a small staircase), and others that focus on fine motor skill development (painting at an easel or pouring a glass of water).
At the toddler age children are continuously working to develop their language skills. Some ways in which the toddler environment helps the child to become a fluent, comprehensible speaker include the teacher using precise vocabulary and speaking in a natural and clear manner. Teachers encourage the children to speak for themselves by being patient, empathetic and perceptive. Classroom materials used to increase the child's vocabulary include picture cards, miniatures and books. The child's language development is also aided through use of poetry, music and song.