the Toddler Community (also known as the Pre-Primary or Young Children’s House) has three distinct areas:
1. Movement: Equilibrium (Gross Movement) and The Hand (Fine Movement)
2. Language: Begins with the Atrium of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and expands outward to many other categorized groups of objects, words, and pictures.
“With practical tasks, we can keep children happily occupied while their movement improves in coordination, their egos develop and are reinforced and the personal security and self-esteem continue to be enhanced. These important messages are absorbed in the developing human being and will serve to sustain him throughout all future activities: “I can, I am capable, I am worthy of something, my collaboration is needed by the people with whom I live, my work is important to others and I can transform the world around me with my work.”
3. Practical Life: Last, but certainly not the least of the three areas, reflects the Trinity in its threefold purpose of work --“Help me do it myself.” These activities help children to feel that they are contributors to their world and that they can give something back to the environment, which builds their self-confidence (I can do this) and their self-esteem (I feel good about myself because I can do these things):
Care of the Person: These activities follow the child’s natural interest in himself. In the unconscious stage of the absorbent mind they have a natural interest in doing what they have observed others doing, and they want to do these things for themselves.
Care of the Environment (both indoors and outdoors): The young child, being egocentric, first learns to care for himself; afterwards he broadens his scope and begins to learn to care for the environment around him. The three aspects of environmental care are: cleaning the environment, taking care of animals and plants, and beautifying the environment.
Grace and Courtesy (“the fine flower of charity”- St. Francis de Sales): Grace and courtesy is taught through modeling. It is a human obligation that reaches toward the transcendent – and when expressed from the heart reflects the very image of God that resides within each of us. The absorbent mind of the young child absorbs the grace and courtesy that is modeled in his environment.