Montessori Toddlers
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Sample Lessons

Social Activities: Introduction


General Points to Remember about Presenting Social Activities
  • Greet the child by name.
  • Use social activities to help the child recognize emotions in others.
  • Promote peaceful ways of solving problems and conflict.
  • Develop a repertoire of relaxing body movements and accompanying rhymes and songs.
  • Include opportunities for quiet sharing as well as more overt social interactions.
Summary of Social Activities for Toddlers
The following social activities give the toddler opportunities to
  • explore in a social situation
  • develop concentration
  • expand sensory experiences
  • recognize and imitate facial expressions
  • imitate body movements
  • understand and follow instructions
  • make music in a group
  • recognize and identify others
  • share materials
  • recognize and name feelings in self and others.

Social Activity 5: Listening To and Following Instructions


Primary Goal
Practicing listening skills involved in simple social interactions.

Secondary Goals
Developing ability to follow instructions; developing concentration.

Material
Work mat. (A work mat is optional for an activity such as this one, where you are not working with materials. However, a work mat is helpful for younger toddlers who are still learning about delineating work space.)
You and the toddler.

Presentation
  • This activity appeals particularly to the interests and abilities of toddlers 15–18 months old.

  • Choose an area of the center where there is space for movement, then put the work mat in place. Encourage the child to help.

  • Stand or sit so that you and the child are facing each other, with the work mat between you.

  • Looking directly at the child, announce that you are going to make a particular body movement and invite the child to imitate you. Choose a movement the child can easily imitate. For example, say: “Let’s touch our noses. I am going to touch my nose. Then you touch your nose.”

  • Slowly and deliberately, make the movement.

  • Give the child ample time to make the movement.

  • If after a time the child does not try to make the movement, ask: “May I help?” Then gently guide the child. For example, gently guide the child’s hand to touch his/her nose.

  • Holding your position, pause for a moment and smile at the child.

  • Announce another movement. For example, say: “Now let’s crouch on the floor. I am going to crouch. Then you crouch.”

  • Repeat for five or six different movements. Ideas for movements: stomp our feet; tap our hands on our shoulders; pat the top of our head; hold our hands in front of you and clap once; wiggle our fingers; touch our toes; jump gently up and down; put one hand over one ear; wave.

  • Invite the child to suggest a movement. For example, say: “Now you tell me something you are going to do. Then I’ll do it.” Do not cajole the child or correct her/his language skills.

  • Continue the activity for as long as the child shows interest.

  • When the child has finished the activity, involve the child in returning the work mat to its proper place. This completes the activity.
Extension 1
  • Stand in a circle with two or three toddlers and take turns suggesting and imitating movements. This activity could also be turned into a version of “Simon Says.”
Extension 2
  • Introduce specific words. For example, use words for contrasting movements, such as “high” and “low,”, “big ”and “small.” Place emphasis on the contrasting word being emphasized. For example, say: “Let ’s swing our arms high.” Then say: “Let’s swing our arms low.” Or say: “Let’s stand big as a bear.” Then say: “Let’s curl up small as a mouse.”
Extension 3
  • Make movements imitating things that make interesting sounds. For example, trot like a horse and make a clopping or neighing sound. Other ideas: other animals that make interesting sounds (such as snakes, frogs, cats); vehicles (such as fire trucks and trains); nature (such as wind, river, rain, thunder).


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