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Infant and Toddler Birth to 3 years

During the first three years of life, the child is physically and mentally developing more rapidly than at any other time.  Dr. Montessori called this the period of the “unconscious absorbent mind” as children are able to absorb large amounts of information about their place in the world. They learn through observation as well as through physical, sensory, and emotional interactions with adults, other children, and their environment. 
A Montessori classroom for infants (age six weeks to 15-18 months) or Toddlers (age 15-18 months to three years) allows the child to freely move and explore their visually attractive, safe, clean, uncluttered environment.  Learning materials are placed on low, open shelves, allowing the child to independently select and complete activities when physically able. Everyday living routines actively involve each child in order to help them develop independence with self-care, care of the environment, large motor activities, fine-motor activities, language, and social skills during experiences both inside and outside in nature.

During this training, adult-learners will receive information about the  development of the child for this specific age, Montessori’s philosophy for meeting the needs of infants and toddlers, and observation skills to help identify specific activities to enhance the child’s daily experiences.

Image by Heather Gill

Oaks Montessori Teacher Education Infant & Toddler course is fully accredited by the American Montessori Society and MACTE.

Infant and Toddler Staff


Pam Curtis-Smith

embarked on a long journey to become a certified Infant/Toddler Instructor in 2018. I always loved being with babies, observing and interacting with them is my great joy. As an occupational therapist, I started out working with adults but changed to a focus on children of all ages in 1988, always including teaching babies and their families in my work. My OT training has been particularly helpful in creating learning environments and activities for safely challenging and encouraging the interests and skills emerging for the individuals in my care.


Jenny Littrell-Hesseldenz


I can’t really think of a time when working with children was not part of my life, but my real teaching career blossomed in the 1990s, during eight years when I taught a variety of art and science classes through the Living Arts and Science Center in Lexington, Kentucky. My students ranged in age from preschool to elementary aged children. After accruing a wide repertoire of subjects and honing skills in structuring and designing course curriculum, I became a head teacher for three to five year olds at the Fayette Cooperating Nursery School that was founded on principles of Piaget’s developmental theory. While most of my twelve years at the Co-op School was spent with older children, I finished my tenure there by splitting  time between a newly developed two-year old program  in the mornings, and the preschool students in the afternoons. 


In 2003 I began an affiliation with Providence Montessori School when my son Henry began his early elementary career there.   I became a member of, and later coordinated the parent ed program, educating our school’s community about the Montessori method. I served on the school’s board of directors for two years until I became employed at Providence in 2012. I helped develop a second (extended day) toddler class added to the existing toddler program that began in 2009.    I earned my infant toddler certification in 2013 and in that same year I became the level coordinator for the toddler program at Providence. I continue to coordinate the toddler program and am a lead teacher, with a wonderful staff and an exciting group of young children who each and every day teach me something new. 


When I’m not teaching I enjoy listening to music in the kitchen with my husband Peter, and listening to my 17 year old son, who seems to be turning into a strolling minstrel, play guitar, hanging with my Grandson and his parents Henry and Clara - and figuring out how to conquer the next thing on our never ending list of projects to do to our old house in Lexington, Kentucky.


Barb. Jens

I began my teaching career in 1978 by teaching traditional first through third grades until 1985.  I then accepted a position as a Montessori teacher for Millard Public Schools and taught lower and upper elementary multi-aged classrooms until 2011.  I have Elementary I and II AMS credentials and was an AMS teacher trainer for Mid-America Montessori Teacher Training Institute from 1995 through 2019.  I have trained teachers in Montessori Philosophy and Child Development for Infant-Toddler, Early Childhood, and Elementary courses.  I have taught Music and Movement for EC and Elementary levels and the Elementary I and II core courses of Math, Geometry, Language, Grammar, Physical Science, History, Geography, Biology, Classroom Leadership, Curriculum Design, and Practical Life.   I have taught all of the above courses in-residence, however,  since 2005 I have enjoyed converting these classes to blended models, with online components followed by in-residence follow-up.

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Peter Larrow

    When I think about my over 40 years of work in Montessori education as an Early Childhood teacher and School Administrator, the statement that Maria Montessori made about not looking at her but looking toward where she is pointing – to the child, sums up my Montessori life.  I entered the Montessori field in an effort to provide the best possible learning experience for children and in the past 35 years I have been guiding Montessori teachers to focus on the child through my work as an instructor and director of numerous Teacher Education Programs.  

    I have had the privilege to serve on the MACTE Commission, Chair the AMS Teacher Education Committee, be a member of the AMS Board of Directors, and a speaker at Montessori Conferences throughout the US and Asia.  I always keep the developing student (child or adult) in mind through the decisions I make. One of the greatest compliments that I received was from an AMS Board member who stated to me “it is clear that you are an advocate for children”. 

    There is one other word that would sum up my Montessori life, FUN.  As one of the children in class asked me one day “why is it that everyone in this school, including the teachers, have fun”?  Isn’t that what life and learning should be all about?

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Lindsey Werner


My adventure in Montessori began at the age of 18. Since then, I have had the privilege of experiencing many different aspects of Montessori. Most of my time has been spent as a guide in Early Childhood and as a 3-6 Language, Sensorial, Cultural and Classroom Leadership Trainer for the adult learner. I have also been able to be an assistant, a director of a privately owned Montessori, a Lower Elementary Guide, a director of a privately owned Montessori Elementary School, a Montessori Coordinator in a public school setting and an owner of an in-home Montessori. For me, Montessori has become a way of living, it is a practice which keeps my mind in the present moment and supports my creativity in order to meet the needs of each child. I am honored to work with the staff at Oaks Montessori Teacher Education and will be serving as a Co-Director, an Early Childhood trainer in Language, Cultural, Classroom Leadership and Art as well as an Infant and Toddler trainer in Program Leadership and Personal Development.

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