A child, even an infant, is a constant worker. We, as parents, see quite easily the needs and development of the infants who have their own inner time-table for crawling, walking, climbing or talking. We watch their joy of accomplishment as they grow-practicing and perfecting each small action.
By the time the children have reached eighteen months, they have entered a new stage of growth. It is this time of development that some experts call "first adolescence"; a stage in which children will confront their parents and environment with boundless energy and strive to explore it with the natural curiosity that impels them.
The adult world is not always prepared to accept this new small person who is pushing, poking and tasting it to learn what it is made of. The children are doing their best, but the world always seems to be out of proportion to their needs. Either everything is too big, or maybe they are too small; either everything is too fast, or maybe they are too slow.
A walk for an eighteen month old is not for getting somewhere; it exists for itself and includes stopping, sitting, looking at a rock, going back to see a flower, playing a game of peek-a-boo behind a tree. A walk to the store is a different experience for a child from what it is for Mom and Dad. It is a confusing world in which children need help to gain confidence and self-esteem.
Recent research shows that very young children benefit from having playmates at much earlier ages than we once suspected. Psychologists have found that a great deal of communication and social interaction goes on between young children who were previously thought to play mostly near, but not with each other. The reason this had been missed earlier is that the children communicate very rapidly and outside the adult vocabulary.
Our Montessori School provides a unique program called Stepping Stones. Stepping Stones is a "child-sized" world where the child has the chance to feel the right size. It is an unhurried, uncluttered world...where children can explore their own natural curiosities with everything being OK to touch, discover, explore. It is a special place that sets it apart from all other preschool programs...by giving the children a rest from the inevitable "no's" that accompany much of their life in this big world...by providing learning materials that are different, learning materials that are fun, teachers that are loving, caring, gentle, and specially trained beyond what is needed for the typical preschool program. Stepping Stone teachers truly pay attention to each child's individual needs because of the excellent child-teacher ratio.
In Stepping Stones there is time for promoting the naturally hardworking, curious little people by allowing them to do real things for themselves...they can button their own sweaters, even if it does take them 15 minutes! In this world they have someone else just as small, someone else just as curious with whom they can learn to work and play…no towering adults, but adults that assist at their level.
Each activity, whether structured or unstructured, allows the child's own abilities to grow and develop naturally. Each little success helps them to gain trust in themselves and in others. The importance of this may be recognized by the fact that more than 25% of a child's mental growth is completed by the age of three.
Independence combined with assistance helps each child accomplish the task of becoming a person...a person who has been allowed the time, the freedom, the love and assistance and the foundation for socializing and learning. What sets Our Montessori School Stepping Stones apart from all other preschool programs is what you will see in your child.
Location, Hours & Transportation
The Stepping Stones program is designed for children ages eighteen months to three years. The times are from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Some of our children attend both morning and afternoon sessions and for these children we provide lunch.
For the convenience of working parents we offer a before-and-after school extended day service on an as-needed basis at the school for a nominal hourly fee. This is available from 7:00-9:00 a.m. and 3:30-6:00 p.m.
Two-three-four and five -day programs are available, although we find children adjust best with a five-day program. (It is after all, only three hours out of twenty-four for the children to be and grow in their own "small world".) Besides, mothers and children both benefit from a tiny vacation from each other.
The Stepping Stones program is located in Yorktown United Methodist Church at 2300 Crompond Road in Yorktown Heights, and 4 Glenna Drive in Carmel.
We are a non-denominational, non-sectarian school. Children are accepted without regard to race, creed, or national origin.