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Tag: Toddler

Open House – 1/18/23 – 6:30pm (Admissions Info)

Montessori Community School will be hosting an Open House Meeting (formerly General Admissions Information Meeting). Parents are invited in-person, to learn more about the Montessori method, curriculum and philosophy, and how our programs are designed to educate the whole child. You will have the opportunity to visit our classrooms and meet our Montessori teaching staff.

January 18, 2023


Program Ages:

  • Infants / 3 – 18 Months
  • Toddlers / 18 Months – 3 Years
  • Early Childhood / 3 – 6 Years
  • Elementary / 6 – 12 Years

You are invited, regardless if you have previously made an inquiry to the school or spoken with someone from our dedicated staff. This is an in-person event for adults only. An opportunity for your child to tour is available later.

You may fill out our “Request a Tour” form and specify the Jan. 18 event in order to indicate you will be attending.

Introducing our Infant &Toddler Staff

It takes a special kind of person to be an educator. It takes an extraordinary person to be the guide of a classroom full of infant or toddler aged children! We are so very proud to present our 2022-23 Infant & Toddler staff.

 Sego Lily Class (Infants)

Alisalee & Candace

 Stars Class (Toddlers)

Brooklyn, Nozomi and Daniela

 Moons Class (Toddlers)

Fernanda, Alyssa & Madison

​Are you curious about what these extraordinary people do day in and day out? Please watch this short video from the American Montessori Society to learn about their important work.

Encouragment & Obstacles

The achievement belongs to the child.

The Encouragement of Eliminating Obstacles

by Edward Fidellow

The best encouragement you give is often the kind that is not seen – eliminating obstacles. This action is a hallmark of a Montessori education. Eliminating obstacles is not obvious – because you have removed them but it is essential for the amazing accomplishments that children achieve in a Montessori environment. To be clear, removing obstacles is not the same as doing the activity for the child. The achievement belongs to the child. Clearing the obstacles belongs to the adult.

The first obstacle is an environment that is not conducive to the child or their learning. A Montessori environment has everything in order for easy recognition for the child. The environment is child-sized, tables, chairs, shelves, bathrooms all accessible to the child without adult help or physical barriers. Obstacles can also be removed from home by placing everything the child needs at a level he/she can access. Plates, glasses, silverware can be located on a lower cabinet shelf. A small step stool can make the sink accessible. The same removal of obstacles can be achieved in bedrooms by installing low clothes racks and bottom drawers of dressers holding often worn clothing articles.

A second obstacle removed in a Montessori environment is the constant need of permission or direction. Once a child is introduced to an activity they are free to access it and work with it. This is also the beginning for the child to learn to make choices and make decisions instead of waiting to be told
what to do.

A third obstacle removed is the constant interruptions that plague a typical preschool. The ideal three hour work period fostered in a Montessori environment gives rise to the ability to concentrate. It gives rise to the ability to finish what you start. These are things that an adult cannot do for the child. These are skills that the child needs as an adult.

The fourth obstacle removed is not prohibiting social interaction and cooperation. Both are life-long assets and when learned young and practiced give great advantage to the child. However, you can’t remove the prohibition on socialization and cooperation without providing the necessary training for there to be benefits instead of deficits. Grace and courtesy is more than “please and thank you.” It is thoughtful consideration for those around you. Just as you provide an environment of concentration you also provide an environment of socialization where they work in tandem with one not intruding on the

The fifth obstacle that a Montessori environment is good at removing is the negative – negative actions, negative words, negative attitudes, which unfortunately mostly belong to the adults. The training of the guide includes being careful with your words and your attitudes. Learning to be an effective Montessori guide requires you to dispense with the negative and enter into the world of “Yes.” It is not that you never use the word “no” but you frame it in a hopeful manner. “Can I do this?” asks a child. “Yes, but first we need to do this” (so you can succeed at what you are asking.) “Can I do this?” “Yes, maybe tomorrow.”

Clearing the obstacles belongs to the adult.

Removing the obstacles is an unseen work but vital to the success and well being of the child. Will there be failures for the child? Depends on how you define failure. “Do I get to do it again? “Yes! (until you succeed.)

Holiday Gift Guide – Parenting Connection

Purchasing the right gifts for our children can be difficult.  If you are anything like me, you want to give your kiddos meaningful gifts that engage their minds, inspire creativity, and leave everyone with a sense of satisfaction.  But what kinds of things can make us feel like we’ve made responsible choices as parents but still allow our littles the joyful experience of receiving?

Jamie Davis Smith, a Washington D.C.-based mother of four, posted this excellent list article that offers useful ideas for every age.  Additionally, below we have provided a list of ideas, categorized by age.

Best of luck and happy shopping!


  • Do buy toys that are made of natural materials and that require manipulation with the hands.
  • Avoid plastic, batteries and characters.
  • Shop at some of the following –, FatBrain Toys, MindWare, ThinkGeek, The Red Balloon, The Tutoring Toy and TJ Maxx.


  • Blocks (wood or soft)
  • Small household items (broom, dishes, cooking items, etc.)
  • Chunky puzzles
  • Push and Pull toys
  • Shape Sorters
  • Plush toys
  • Books
  • Pounding toys/tools
  • Balls

Early Childhood:

  • See age appropriate gifts from above
  • Wood Blocks
  • Dress Up Items (Doctor, Fireman, Police Officer, Train Conductor, Cowboy, etc.)
  • Art Supplies, Easel
  • Small household items (broom, dishes, cooking items, ironing board, etc.)
  • Clay, Play Dough
  • Puzzles
  • Board Games (Candyland, Hi Ho Cherry-O, SpotIt, Memory Games, etc.)
  • Musical Instruments

Lower Elementary:

  • Legos
  • Dolls
  • Books (coloring books, cursive practice, chapter books, etc.)
  • Cars (np batteries)
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Board Games (Sorry!, Candyland, Cranium, Zooreka, etc.)
  • Puzzles
  • Sports Equipment (soccer ball, soccer net, baseball, baseball glove, football, etc.)
  • Art SUpplies
  • Backpack
  • Scooter
  • Skateboard
  • Bicycle

Upper Elementary:

  • See appropriate ideas from above
  • Tangrams, Origami paper
  • Board Games (Apples to Apples, Story Cubes, Trivia Games, Whoonu, etc.)
  • Gift Cards for getting out (Rock climbing, trampoline parks, horseback riding lessons, ice skating, etc.)
  • Music

Toddlers Transitioning to an Early Childhood Classroom

What to expect when Toddlers transition to Early Childhood Classroom
Transition to any new classroom requires change for children, parents and even teachers, who are eager to meet and learn the unique personality and gifts of each child. But the change can be slightly different for different age groups. Here are some things you may notice about the environment of your child’s new classroom; the group sizes and ratios, staff communication and new education opportunities.

At Montessori Community School the transition from our Toddler Classroom to Early Childhood Classroom takes place at two different times. If the toddler is enrolled for summer, is three years old by June 1st and the teachers consider him/her to be ready to enter the Early Childhood program he/she would transition on the first day of Summer Camp. All other toddlers who are scheduled to move to Early Childhood for the next Academic Year would move at the beginning of the Academic Year. A child is able to transition into Early Childhood classroom based upon their age, toilet-learning abilities, and social readiness.

Early Childhood is where they begin to leave behind the Toddler years. This transition is often the one parents anticipate most. Children who have previous experience in a classroom setting usually dive right in. Three year olds often are transforming themselves daily. Their motor and perceptual skills, social skills, and most dramatically, their cognitive powers, are catapulting them into new territory. Expectations for children’s planned educational experiences increase as they proceed through Early Childhood.


Here is what to expect.
Transition readiness. To prepare your child to transition into the Early Childhood, we gradually introduce them to their new classroom. The children are able to visit Early Childhood classrooms before their anticipated transition date. This time allows them to become familiar with the environment, teachers, and students in their classroom at a gradual, slow pace.
An energy-filled environment.
Early Childhood classrooms may appear full of activity, but there is an order, based on learning areas and individual work. Children are engaged in all sorts of exploration and discovery in a changing environment that is well-prepared by the teachers. Teachers are orchestrating experiences and are strategically engaged in discussion, encouragement, education, caring, and helping children navigate tricky social situations and learning self-control. When your child initially enters the Early Childhood Classroom he/she is introduced to all of the main areas of the classroom; Practical Life, Language, Sensorial, Mathematics, Geography, History, Science, Art, Botany, Zoology and Peace. The children will also be introduced to the Music/Dance and Outdoor Classroom spaces with the focal point being the Practical Life area.
The Practical Life area, in the Early Childhood Montessori classroom, is an essential area for a young first year child. Therefore we encourage children to work in this area regularly to build the skills needed to be successful in the academic areas, such as math and language arts. The practical life area helps to promote independence, concentration, coordination and order within the child. We find that when daily individualized lessons are given in the academic areas children that have obtained these chief skills seem to flourish and become confident, independent learners and take pride in doing things for themselves.
A larger group size.
Early Childhood classrooms have more children. More children means more space, which in turn results in more learning opportunities.More consistent routines.
Since Early Childhood students are able to verbalize more and follow routines, the classroom routines are more consistent. Toddlers often have difficulty with transition periods, where a student of Early Childhood age does not- so they are able to have a very consistent routine within the classroom. With the “I can do it myself” attitude of children ages 3-6 and their growing independence from adults, a higher ratio and group size is possible and beneficial without sacrificing quality in care and education. This ratio allows for increased time to interact with other children and their environment, given their budding social skills. The staff to child ratio is 1:13 for the Early Childhood (3 – 6) age group.

Ways of communication.
It is not possible for daily written reports in Early Childhood classrooms, with some exceptions, because of the larger group size in Early Childhood classroom, but there are lots of creative ways that parents and teachers can communicate, through e-mail or writing a note to teachers and passing it during morning drop off.

Transition Concerns.
As part of the transition process, toileting accidents are bound to happen. As the children experience a new level of independence, they will learn again, how to grasp cues as to when it is time to use the restroom. This is all part of the process and we find it normal. The teachers will help as necessary for your child to become adjusted to his/her new routine.

Your child may also begin to experience separation anxiety. Coming to school will be a whole new experience as he/she is in a new environment. Please note that this anxiety will only be temporary and helping to keep the children in a routine will greatly help their transition into their new classroom.

Please note that if you have concerns at anytime during the transition process we would request that you address your concerns with us so we can help to encourage a positive transition.

Thank you,

Early Childhood Teachers

All School Assembly – Utah Okinawa Kenjinkai Cultural Experience

Our Second Annual All-school Assembly took place Wednesday morning at MCS! All of our staff and students, from toddlers to elementary, gathered for an incredible presentation. The Utah Okinawa Kenjinkai group shared a beautiful performance about their cultural Japanese heritage. They introduced us to Okinawan traditional music, dances, folk craft, and martial arts while briefly discussing the Japanese history associated in a fun and enlightening way.

A lot of our young toddler friends enjoyed singing and dancing throughout the assembly while our older friends were impressed by the costumes and instruments. In the traditional Okinawan dance, the Eisa, there is a closing song to end the performance. We were invited to join the dancers and dance together waving our hands to the beat of the music and drums. It was a great experience for all of our students to enjoy this cultural opportunity as a whole community.

Check our last year’s experience here.

By Paola Ramirez

Parenting Young Children through Fear

The things we hope to teach our children seem to be countless and I have discovered that just when I think I have overcome one parenting hurdle, immediately following that nice pat on the back, I find another hurdle standing in my way.  Fortunately, we live in a day and age where accessing helpful information can be so easy.  While it can be hard to rifle through all the information that is available and decipher the good information from the bad information, as long as we stick to our guiding set of principles, we can find some truth and some support in a variety of wonderful places.  I always like to share some of my favorites…especially from the list of things that we never even realize we will face as parents.

Children’s fears are ongoing.  How do we teach our children self-soothing, positive self-talk, how to recognize their true feelings, and, most importantly what to do with their fears to become better and more resilient humans? My 13 year old son’s fears have shifted…gone are the days of monsters under the bed.  I am discovering that helping him develop his own set of guiding principles becomes increasingly important with each passing day.  The Fred Rogers article below gives some helpful insight to helping young children through their fears.


Parents want their children to be afraid of some things, because fears can keep children from doing dangerous things. But we don’t want our children to develop irrational fears that hold them back from doing healthy things, sleeping well, and making friends.

Part of our “job” as parents is to help our children feel safe and secure. Sometimes it can be very frustrating to try to explain to a frightened child that a monster or witch or some other imaginary thing isn’t real. We adults have already learned that, read more here.


Help me do it myself! The drive for independence.

The biggest challenge parents face is their children’s drive for independence. A toddler or a preschooler’s drive for independence is even fiercer than a teenager’s. While a teenager may be looking to undo parental control your preschooler is looking to share control. They are trying to become part of your world by taking responsibility for their own actions.

This drive for independence is slow and messy. Learning to walk – the first great independence is full of falls and scares (more for Mom than for baby). And it is a slow and unsteady success. Even when they accomplish vertical independence their rate of locomotion impels us to pick them up and carry them if we want to get anywhere now.

Learning to feed oneself is a second (and very messy) independence. Graduating from hands to utensils is a major success of coordination and development. Again, if we want to finish dinner before breakfast we wind up feeding our child.

The third independence is the ability to communicate – to be able to share desires and wants. Ironically, after Ma Ma and Da Da often comes the independent word No.

The fourth independence is often the ability to dress oneself. It is often a laborious, time consuming frustrating adventure trying not to get your head in your sleeve or putting your pants on backwards. (“What do you mean I have my shoes on the wrong feet?” “These are the only feet I have.”) Stripes and polka dots are just fine together – blinding maybe – but fine. This is about independence not aesthetics or style.

The fifth independence is usually potty training. Children have their own timetable and level of comfort with the process. We often think they are trained when we constantly ask them if they have to go potty. This independence is achieved for their convenience not for ours, even though it is our convenience that pushes the training. My wife always shared with anxious parents that she had never been to a wedding where the bride or groom walked down the isle in pampers. Relax!

Their independence is bought at the cost of our time. Their fight for independence is against our schedules, against our limited flexibility in our day. They don’t mean to slow us down, they just want to do it themselves. They don’t mean to make messes (which takes time to clean up) they just want to do it themselves. How are they ever going to pour milk from the gallon jug unless they try (and try and try and try?)

The challenge of childhood independence is that it is never perfect. They can’t sweep a floor as well or as quickly or as thoroughly as the adult. But how will they ever learn unless they try? “I will just wait until they are older” is a proven recipe for unmotivated, incompetent, uninvolved teenagers who then resent the end of a ten or fifteen year ride of being served with no responsibility attached.

“Help me do it myself” is the foundation of adult responsibility birthed into our children long before they can do it by themselves. “Help me do it myself” is the great gift parents give their children. It is not only the accomplishment of the task that affects the children – giving rise to feelings of competence but it is the feeling of confidence that comes because they know that we believe in them. When we tell our children that they can achieve anything they set their hearts and minds to – they believe us because we have been their cheerleaders for independence and success.


Edward Fidellow



Easy Transitions…Saying Goodbye to your Child

Welcome Back!  School is officially in session. We are looking forward to our new students joining us tomorrow.  But, saying goodbye can be hard.  As excited as we all might be about school it can be difficult to say goodbye.  Separation anxiety is a normal part of the routine and we would like to offer some tips that might be helpful…
  1. Prepare  your child.  Be sure to help them understand what they can expect.  Talk about how the routine will go… “We will walk to your cubby first and put your things away.  Then, I will remind you where to find the bathroom and then I’ll take you to the door of your classroom.  Your teacher will meet us there and we will give one hug, one kiss and one high five and then I will leave.”
  2. Don’t be surprised if your child is having a difficult time even if they are returning to the same classroom, with the same teachers, and the same peers.
  3. Stick to your routine!  A change in routine can make separation anxiety even more intense for a child.  If you say you are going to give one hug, one kiss and one high five, DO IT!  Drawing out the goodbye not only makes it hard but also hinders your child’s ability to develop confidence that you are both really expected to do what you say.
  4. Refrain from entering the classroom.  We try to give our students the first 6 weeks to make the environment “theirs” and develop a routine before inviting parents inside.  If you have questions about how or what your child is doing be sure to ask their teacher at the end of the day.  Or, feel free to call our office and we will check in on your child.  But, trust your child that they can develop the skills to make it through their school day.
  5. Stay calm and let your child know you trust them.  Although you might be concerned that your child is going to have a hard transition, be sure to express your confidence in them.  If you aren’t comfortable leaving campus until you know they are doing okay, you are welcome to hang out in our lobby and our staff will check on your child.  Or, give us a call on the phone and we will be happy to check.
  6. Keep it short. Avoid lingering…this can cause further distress. Rest assured that if your child is unable to settle or remains distraught, we will call you.  It is important to us that your child feels this is a safe and peaceful place.  If they need a shorter day here in order to build that confidence, we will support them.
  7. Give it time.  It can take up to 6 weeks for children to “normalize.”  If you have concerns that it is taking your child too long to adjust, be sure to speak with the teachers. They might have some good ideas to help you both.
  8. Return on time.  It can be difficult for children to build trust if their parent and/or teacher tell them that mommy or daddy will “be here soon” and you are not.  If you are going to be late, give us a call so we can prepare your child.  Unexpected events occur and we are happy to support you and your child so call our office if you are running late.
  9. Show your child that you trust the teachers.  If they feel that you lack confidence in the teachers or the school, they will also lack confidence.  Again, if you have concerns about your child’s care, please speak with the teachers or administration.
  10. Ask your child about their day. Let them express frustrations but also ask specific questions that might lead them to remember the good parts of their day.  “Did you play in the sandbox today?”  “Did your teacher read any stories today?  What was the story about?”
  11. Most importantly – be consistent!
We are so happy that you have entrusted us with your precious children.  We look forward to a wonderful year and invite you to let us know in person, over the phone, or via email if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s transitions.
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