Jul 16, 2013

For The Tots: Curls' Tot School This Week

I can not even begin to describe how inspired I have been as of late when it comes to doing more focused activities with Curls.  The common term among mom bloggers for this special one-on-one time with your toddler doing learning focused activities is called "Tot School" and it seems to complement my at home Montessori inspired activities very well!  So after several weeks of researching, reading up on other awesome blogs (such as 1+1+1=1 and The Kavanaugh Report) and watching some wonderfully informative videos on Youtube, I have decided to jump on the wagon and officially try "Tot School" with Curls.

Last week, I talked about Curls having his own area in our living room with his Montessori activity shelf, learning charts, his various activities of the week, and how we were just beginning to ease into a more focused learning time.  My original plan had been to wait until he was about a year and a half old, but after doing all my reading around I realized there was no real good reason to wait!

The great thing about Tot School is that I was already pretty much going thru it with Curls already, following his lead, putting together activities to help him gain the skills he needed.  My very first post on this blog is just an example of how I had been doing it all along, albeit in an unorganized, unplanned fashion.  This weeks Tot School was my second week of planned out, organized activities, and I have to say I am very pleased with how it is all going!

Some snippets from Tot School this week:

Fine Motor Skills

Popsicle sticks and a Parmesan cheese container  

Curls has loved this activity this week!  He takes the sticks and puts them thru the holes on one side of the lid until he gets all ten sticks in there (we usually count them together as he does this) and then he closes the lid and shakes it around!  This boy loves making his music!  Curls is also learning to pop open the other side of the lid to dump the sticks back out so that he can start all over again. :)

Practical Life Skills

Transferring dried beans with a spoon
Studly and I have both noticed that Curls has been trying out transferring objects a lot recently, most often by trying to pour water from a bigger cup into his smaller drinking cup.  Usually it means a big spill, but hey, he's still learning!  So I decided to let him transfer something a tad bit easier to clean up.  I only went thru the process once (the Montessori standard of taking out the activity, doing it, replacing the pieces as they were and returning the tray/container to it's shelf) and Curls immediately had it, with a bit of mess of course. 

He uses the spoon to start...

After a bit of that, he just uses his fingers!


The mystery bin from last week is the same, with the 'hard' rock and the 'soft' powder puff.  Next week I plan on adding 'rough' and 'smooth'.

Of course, Curls has to taste the rock!


For language, I made a super simple "My Family" picture book by printing off pictures of us, labeling them, and sliding them into sheet protectors which I put in a small three ring binder.  We are also reading a lot from some of the books that my preschool students used to absolutely love, like Cookie's Week, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and No, David...honestly, I love them too!  I don't think you can ever really out grow the great ones.

Sorting (Math) 

For sorting and a little more sensorial, Curls is using his shape sorting ball that he received as a gift a couple months ago.  It has quite the variety of shapes, and he's doing pretty good with it.  He can easily place the square, circle, and triangle in their correct spots, but has trouble with the rest.  His favorite way to play with this is by having me pull it apart so all the pieces scatter on the floor, then he will bring them to place in the ball while I hold it still.  (hence why there are no pictures!)  We will do this several times in a sitting...he seems to want to put his face inside the ball because he is always trying to get me to open it really wide for him!

So far, Tot School with Curls has been a huge success!  We go over his charts when he shows interest and do whatever activity he pulls out together throughout the day.  We still don't have a set time for Tot School, in that respect I am still taking Maria Montessori's advice and "following the child". When Curls goes to his little area of our living room, I just follow his lead.  I think I'm going to keep it that way for the time being, seeing as he's over there several times a day anyhow!

Here's where I linked up:

The awesome Tot School Gathering Place @

Montessori Monday


  1. One of the hardest things for me to do during tot school is follow the lead of my child, but it is ALWAYS the best thing I can do. :) My toddler loves doing tot school and I am so amazed by how much he learns. I can't wait to see more of your tot school posts.

    1. It can get a bit frustrating when the little one loses interest, but like you said, it's the best way to go in letting them lead. Thank you so much for stopping by! :)