Toddler faculty & staff
Theresa Heiden, co-teacher
BA (psychology), Lewis & Clark College
MS (developmental psychology), University of Washington
Montessori infant and toddler certification in progress
First came to WMS—2015
Dolly Jose, Assistant
BS (Home Technology, major in food industries)
Hired at WMS—2014
Cheng-Wei Yea, co-teacher
Cheng-Wei has over 12 years of experience as a child care provider and seven years of experience in children’s education. She enjoys vegetarian cooking, hot yoga, whale watching, hiking, camping, kayaking and snowboarding. She has played the piano for 23 years and the bass guitar for 16 years. Cheng-Wei volunteers at the Children’s Hospital, Seattle Humane Society, Washington State Health Department and has done peer tutoring.
Toddler Program, ages 18-36 months
The age of developing awareness of self
The learning processes within the brain are at their most active and acute stage for toddlers. They are learning how the world works, gaining independence and testing social skills. The attributes of self-esteem and character are forming. Our caring environment presents an opportunity for them to develop relationships outside the family. Thus, the environment that best meets the needs of the toddler is one in which the child is encouraged to become an integral member of a nurturing community, able to freely and safely explore.
The Toddler community
Our Toddler community includes up to 14 children each day. The Toddler environment conforms to the children’s needs in every way, from the size of the furniture, to the activities provided, to the emotional support and guidance given.
The Montessori Toddler guide
Our guides are Montessori-trained professionals, certified for the Toddler age group, and accomplished in recognizing and nurturing the specific developmental needs of this unique phase. These adults provide the love, patience, warmth and respect necessary for the Toddler to feel safe and flourish within this community.
Importance of the toddler-prepared environment
Our Montessori Toddler community provides a nurturing place for young children to begin their “education for life.” The environment is prepared specifically to allow children to explore their surroundings and materials in support of their learning and development. This exploration helps to foster independence, focus, language, creativity, social/emotional development and confidence in their own abilities as they learn and grow. The freedom to explore, choose and learn in a safe place is crucial to toddlers. To guarantee this sense of safety, children are guided to act within the parameters of the three basic ground rules that will serve them for a lifetime: respect of self; respect for others; and respect for the environment.
Toddler transition: Slow Start
Each new toddler will be introduced to our Toddler community via a Slow Start process. This consists of gradually increasing time in the classroom each day for one to five days depending on the needs of the child and family.
Transition to Early Childhood Program
The move from Toddler to Early Childhood takes place some time after 30 months. Upon completion of toilet training, each child will be evaluated by WMS staff to assess the child’s overall developmental readiness for the Early Childhood program.
Campus and classroom assignment is based on space availability. Parental request for location is considered, but cannot always be accommodated.
“If you consider the matter carefully you will see there is something more than growth in the first three years of life. The child before us is something that borders on the marvelous.”
– Maria Montessori