Birth to 3 Program


“The first two years of life are the most important. Observation proves that small children are endowed with special psychic powers, and points to new ways of drawing them out—literally ‘educating by cooperating with nature.’ So here begins the new path, wherein it will not be the professor who teaches the child, but the child who teaches the professor.”

– Maria Montessori, “Education for a New World”

A New Concept in Early Childhood Education

More learning takes place in the first two years than at any other time in a child’s life. The brain develops rapidly, and this growth is aided by the child’s physical experiences. The Montessori School of Lake Forest Parent Infant Program helps parents gain a better understanding of their child as they learn meet the child’s true needs without sacrificing their own. With so much time devoted each day to the “maintenance” of the very young child—diapering, feeding, bathing, entertaining—there is very little time to stop and appreciate children for the unique beings they are, and for the contributions they bring to the family. Through parent/child sessions and parent discussions, you will grow to know and appreciate your child even more thoroughly, from this fresh new perspective.

Montessori and the Prepared Environment

The children in the Parent Infant Program are truly the educational resource for their parents and their Montessori-trained director, as they explore the wonders of their ever-widening world. The Montessori approach provides a “prepared environment” for children. This means that every object in the classroom is chosen specifically for this age child. The children are free to explore and learn by experiencing the classroom materials and the other children—a critical component of their early education as they learn to interact with a familiar group of peers on a regular basis.

A Good Beginning

With their language and movement skills developing well, and their parents supporting their growing independence, young toddlers are ready for the learning opportunities of the Montessori pre-school Toddler environment.


“At the age of two years the child has a need for walking…But the child does not want to get anywhere, he just wants to walk, and to help him truly, the adult must follow the child…The child walks with his eyes as well as with his legs, and it is the interesting things on the walk that carry him along.”

– Maria Montessori, “Education for a New World”


Fostering Independence and Determination

The Montessori School of Lake Forest Toddler Program maximizes the development of young children through meticulously prepared environments. An adult with Montessori “Assistants to Infancy” (birth-three) training conducts carefully planned activities which lead the Toddler age child to build sensory-motor skills, high self-esteem, inner security, and abiding habits of concentration.

The Toddler Environment

The Toddler environment is divided into several areas, including gross motor movement, fine motor development, and language skills. The exercises of practical life include care of the environment (both indoor and outdoor), care of the self, and refinement of grace and courtesy. All activities are designed to develop coordination and independence, and encourage contributing to the group, which leads to increased self-esteem.

A Toddler develops the foundations for a strong personality through work carried out with full concentration. This is achieved by working on activities which completely absorb the child, and fulfill their urge to explore the world.

Be sure to read this article, written by one of our MSLF Toddler Directresses: Authenticity in the Toddler Years

Interested in learning more?

As Your Child Learns, So Do You

One of our driving goals at the Montessori School of Lake Forest is to work together with parents to insure their child’s optimal development. To that end, we offer special Montessori Parent Information Sessions throughout the year. Observation of your child’s class is another way to gain insight and understanding of the Montessori way.

The American Montessori Society provides this wonderful video about Montessori programs for infants and toddlers:

Ready for Primary

By the end of their Toddler experience, children are ready for the Primary environment. They are increasingly interested in learning from other children and about the world around them. The more complex social life and the vast array of materials and lessons to be learned in the Primary class satisfy their need to grow.