The Summit Country Day School Debuts Full-Day Toddler Program

Research shows that a Montessori education reaps myriad benefits for kids from infancy to age 6; and that 18-36-month olds learn at an exceptionally high rate. Yet Montessori options for toddlers in Cincinnati are few and far between. Beginning this fall, you can add The Summit Country Day to the list of local schools offering a full-day Montessori Toddler Program!

The Summit’s Montessori Toddler Program features a specially developed toddler curriculum, state-of-the-art facility and highly trained instructors. There are three teachers in each classroom (one lead teacher and two co-teachers), which mean your child will receive lots of individualized attention. The toddler curriculum addresses the three primary developmental needs for a child under age 3 — movement, language and order — and provides the objects, relationships and environment needed to facilitate toddler learning. The facility itself is specifically designed to complement classic Montessori methods: large, open rooms are full of materials that encourage self-guided learning and both fine and gross motor skills; outdoor learning spaces are part of every room, as Montessori education values outdoor learning and play (there’s a playscape and a rooftop playground!).

Summit Toddlers 1
Toddler Amelia Wilson, who attends The Summit Country Day School’s Montessori toddler program, jumps on a small trampoline, an activity that fosters development of gross motor skills and strength.

Everything in The Summit’s Toddler Program is done with great intention, according to Head of School Rich Wilson: “We believe that by putting all the right pieces in place — highly educated Montessori teachers, developmentally appropriate learning activities and materials, right-sized furniture, a peaceful and loving environment, relationships and routines — that these young children will reach their fullest potential under our care.” 

Research also shows that a high-quality preschool program sets children up for success in life — and not just academically. “Quality preschools have an impact through development of language, the ability to understand numbers, higher cognitive thinking and social skills,” says Summit’s Montessori Director Kathy Scott. She explains that, because these studies have measured children’s outcomes over many years, the effects of quality preschool are known to be longer-lasting than simply preparing children to enter kindergarten. “Study after study has shown that, after parenting, quality early childhood education is the greatest predictor of adult success,” she concludes.

These findings apply especially to toddlers, who are in the midst of the richest developmental stages of their lives. From 18 to 24 months, there is a big leap in cognition, fine and gross motor skills and social/emotional skills as children begin to assert their independence (known colloquially as the “terrible twos” — but this age is actually pretty amazing!). “In our classrooms, we have materials especially designed for this sensitive stage of development. Social and emotional skills start to develop as children learn how to work with some assistance as they strive to become more independent,” Scott explains.

Toddler Matt Dillon, who attends The Summit Country Day School’s Montessori toddler program, rolls a ball down a slide, an activity that fosters development of gross motor skills and strength.
Toddler Matt Dillon, who attends The Summit Country Day School’s Montessori toddler program, rolls a ball down a slide, an activity that fosters development of gross motor skills and strength.

So what would a typical day look like for your toddler at The Summit? Mornings are spent in small groups based on age. (Children 18-24 months will be together in one classroom while 2-3 year olds will be grouped in different classrooms.) Morning will contain a greeting and welcome, interactive circle time and lessons on materials and skills. Children will then participate in individual work time or “work cycle” during which they will be free to explore their classroom choosing their work, teaming up with their peers and receiving individualized instruction as needed. During this time, students will also be exposed to additional enrichment opportunities such as science, art and outdoor recess.

Children staying all day will have lunch followed by a monitored nap period. Upon awakening, they’ll be exposed to additional enrichment materials and play-based areas which emphasize gross motor skill development. This will also foster socialization and more exploration of social skills of grace and courtesy. In other words, your toddler will receive a well-rounded education at The Summit!

The Toddler Program at The Summit is, simply put, an incredible opportunity for families looking for a high-quality, full-day preschool option for their kids. If this sounds like exactly what you’ve been looking for, you’ll want to mark your calendar for The Summit’s upcoming Parent Information Sessions on February 9, March 7 and April 6. Parent Information Sessions offer an in-depth view of the Montessori Toddler through Kindergarten curriculum, including The Summit’s academic and signature enrichment program options. Sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Lower School and typically conclude by 10 a.m.

Registration for The Summit’s 2017-18 school year is currently open; please note that candidates for the 18-month classroom must be 18 months old by September 30 of the year they will enter the program, and candidates for the 24-month classroom must be 2 years old by September of the year they will enter the program. For more information or to schedule a tour, visit Summit’s website or call 513-871-4700, ext. 209.

Photo credits: Feature image by Kathy Penote; Both in-article images by Rick Norton.

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