Birth to Three—Infant-Toddler

Toddlers climbing stairs

Maria Montessori first developed her  method with children between between about two and seven years old, and later extended her work to children up to about twelve. In 1947, in Rome, Montessori presented the first Assistants to Infancy training course, and the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) has certified courses at this level since 1982.  The American Montessori Society (AMS) offers training courses as well.  (See Teacher Training on this site.)  Montessori’s work with this age group is used in schools, but also in home environments and professional settings.


infant reaching out to touch plantIn the AMI model, the Nido, or “nest,” serves children from infancy to the age of competent walking, usually around 16 to 18 months.  Some schools offer programs for parents and children together, while others provide child care for working families.  The environment and materials foster development of movement, independence,  and sensorial exploration.  Classrooms typically serve up to ten children with a ratio of one adult to every two or three children.


toddler looking at food preparation activitiesChildren from 16 months to two years old are typically served in a “toddler” or “young child” environment, focussing on toilet independence, social interactions, language development, and practical life activities such as pouring, managing clothing, and preparing snacks. Children often transition to a Primary or Children’s House environment as their independence develops.  Classrooms typically serve up to 15 children with a ratio of one adult to every five children.

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