Finding quality education and care for our earliest of learners–our weren’t-they-just-my-tiny-baby toddlers–is a surprisingly challenging and lengthy process, especially here in the Northland. Duluth and its surrounding areas offer several amazing preschool opportunities for three and four year olds, but is in short supply when it comes to care for younger children. Almost daily I hear mothers asking friends, family members, and online communities if they know of any places that provide exemplary learning environments for their littlest of kiddos.
The one reply I hear over and over again? “Make sure you check out Many Rivers Montessori!”
The Many Rivers Montessori Toddler Program
Many Rivers Montessori, a school established for learners between the ages of 16 months and 14 years, has resided in Duluth’s east hillside area for almost three years (and has just announced a growth plan that will move them to Woodland’s former Cobb Hill School in 2018).
The classroom in the toddler program is home to a community of twelve learners, ranging in age from 16 to 36 months and their two teachers, whom Many Rivers refers to as “guides.” The small groupings help foster an inclusive and trusting learning environment where children learn together as they develop fundamental life skills and abilities. The focus is on home-like learning–children are given daily routine responsibilities such as setting the table for lunch or snack, caring for the classroom’s hermit crab and plants, organizing books and toys, sweeping, and dressing independently for outdoor play.
Additionally, MRM works respectfully with each toddler during the potty-training process. It’s such a relief as a parent to feel that the school your child attends is committed to helping foster a healthy relationship with toileting. This is especially important when children spend most of their days away from their home toilet-training environment–the consistency of training at home and school makes it easier on both the kids and the parents.
Don’t Take My Word For It!
Need more convincing to look at MRM as an amazing option for your toddler? A few mamas with little ones already enrolled in the program were kind enough to share some of their favorite things about Many Rivers with Duluth Moms Blog.
They speak directly to each child, with eye contact and love. They are present and in-tune to their group.
Nora says, “Over the last four months, I have been overjoyed with the care, education, and foundation of learning that has been provided to my son, Oscar. Educators Madeline and Jess provide for each child’s needs and interests on a daily basis. They use the uniqueness of each child to plan and prepare their environment to provide the best experiences possible for the children. They do not force the toddlers to participate in teacher-led activities, which is the first thing I look for when considering whether a program is developmentally appropriate, teacher-led activities are magically, a choice. They speak directly to each child, with eye contact and love. They are present and in-tune to their group. They take the toddlers outside, a lot. The majority of days of the last 4 months, when I arrive to pick up Oscar, he has been outside, dirty and happy. As a mother and early childhood educator, there is nothing that makes me happier. Oh, AND, they potty trained him in 2 weeks!
As a Montessori alumni and student of education, my only concern walking into this program for my child was the social piece. I had a lot of questions about how much social interaction Oscar would have, and would he be encouraged to play with others. Since Montessori promotes independence and a lot of the “work” is individual by nature, I was curious about how Oscar’s social development would be supported and encouraged. This concern was squashed almost instantly with Oscar’s constant talking and singing about his friends, my observations of how the children choose to participate and interact with each other for Spanish, circle, or story times, and observations of conflict resolution and social skills modeling. He has grown in each domain of development, but much to my relief the most growth has been in his social and emotional development.
I am beyond thankful that Many Rivers Montessori is offering this toddler program in our community and highly recommend it to those families looking for care and education for their little ones.”
Katie adds, “I am so grateful to have sent both of my little girls through the toddler program at MRM because there’s no other preschool curriculum that develops specific needs for toddlers.
In the toddler program, they focus on self care, real life skills, and environmental responsibility. They find joy and pride in playing important roles in their community. I think teaching these things at a very young and impressionable age sets them up to be successful in any setting. I am also so thankful for the culture at Many Rivers. These kids are all treated with respect from their teachers as well as peers and older students. They are taught that their feelings and ideas are important and respect is really put into action throughout the school.”
What Are You Waiting For?
Your current thoughts may be turning to summer break–its long, lazy days and carefree afternoons, but enrollment into the Many Rivers Montessori Toddler Program is both limited and popular. It might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with their application process as soon as you can. Your little itty-bitty baby is poised to turn into an beautifully smart and independent toddler ready to take on the world sooner than you think!