Biting amongst toddlers – Causes and Redirecting Behavior

Most biting occurs in children between the ages of one-and-a-half and three years old. Its occurrence reflects not only the children’s feelings, but also their inability to use expressive language. Children usually bite when they’re afraid, angry, or frustrated, or in some cases, to have power over someone (i.e., to get/take something from another child). Additionally, a major change such a new baby or starting school may cause biting to surface. Children may also bite when they become over-stimulated or excited.

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Panjrapole visit

Hi cow!!”, greets the first enthusiastic child as soon as she sets foot in the cow shelter, commonly known as the panjrapole.

The well cared for bovine creatures respond with equal enthusiasm, lowing softly, eager to devour the fresh batches of succulent, green grass being offered by the excited children.

Set among the busy bylanes of Madhav Baug, the panjrapole offers a pristine haven for a variety of creatures including cows, bulls, calves, parakeets, lovebirds, hens, rabbits, geese and stray cats, of course!

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Visiting the Zoo

An excursion is always exciting for the children and no matter where we visit the experience is enriching. Children look forward our outings and after every visit there is so much to take away.

Before going on every trip we talk to children about the visit. A day before the trip we started talking to the children about what to expect. We read to them and showed them pictures of the zoo. After some interesting exchange of thoughts and information during group time the children were excited and looking forward to the outing.

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Teachers at Work

Every time I enter a classroom I can’t help but notice the incredible work our teachers do every day. From the morning till the end of the school day they are on their toes. They patiently talk to children, calmly listen to them, direct them, appreciate what they do, encourage them and challenge them. They state the rules of the class, reinforcing discipline but at the same time using the right words so that the message is clear but respectful to the child. They feel happy to see a child work well, they soul search when a child is not giving his best. They worry when they see a child upset or unable to reach his potential. They laugh with the children and share their stories with them too. They exchange smiles when children do something wonderful, funny or when one of the children simply amazes them. They care for each child in class like they would their own.

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Growing Inch by Inch

Da Vinci Montessori opened its all new branch at Worli in June 2018. When Komal and I first visited the site in April they were still breaking the previous structure. Ashani guided all the DVM teachers through the space where the toddler class would be. Little did I know (I was working with the Marine Drive Toddlers then) that I would be a part of this environment.

A few months later Komal and I were assigned to work with the Toddlers at Worli. This time the walls were alive with colour, the floor was ready and the windows opened to a beautiful green private garden and a temple atop a hill. The sun rays filled the room with light and created warmth all around..ready to welcome some of the first little ones. Komal feels that this environment and its vibrations is what probably drew her to the classroom.

We started our journey with many trips to gather and set up material for the toddler class. Each corner got its identity such as food preparation, language, manipulatives, etc. The room started filling in shelf by shelf, table by table and then child by child.

In June our first few children came in and absorbed the environment like sponges. We keenly observed each child at work. Watching a child watering a plant while the other was washing hands or chopped a fruit. Our children enjoyed shooing houseflies in the rainy season, singing “Shoo fly don’t bother me, shoo fly don’t bother me.. cause I belong to somebody”. Singing as always helped our children calm down and settle.

Just as our tiny sapling (the Worli branch) grew inch by inch into a plant so did the little ones gradually absorb the order of the class. Our class was now ready to welcome more little buds to bloom.

Written by Komal Chedda and Bhakti Bhatia.
Komal and Bhakti are Directresses in Da Vinci Montessori’s Worli Toddler environment.

Routines and Schedules

During the first three years of life, the sense of order is particularly strong. When my son was born, my mother insisted that I put him in his pajamas every night. “He sleeps all day in his regular clothes; he’ll never know the difference,” I insisted. She prevailed and told me that starting the routine of changing into pajamas and getting ready for bed would go far in establishing a bedtime ritual. When my son went to bed easier and started sleeping through the night earlier than his peers, I was thankful for our routines.

Bath time was another important routine. Every morning after breakfast and right before his morning nap, my son had a bath. He learned to love and look forward to the ritual of bath time. It was a special time for us both when I talked to him, named body parts, sang songs, and gave kisses. Bath time was never a struggle because it was part of our expected daily routine. He anticipated it and knew that with a full tummy and clean clothes, it was then time for nap.

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The Value of Self Directed Play

Learning to play with toddlers can be difficult for adults — whether they are parents or
educators. Our instincts as adults are not always correct and understanding the importance of not playing can be a hard lesson for us.

A mother of toddler twins recently shared a story of a rough day that she had when she tried to play with her toddler twins. While the children were playing, she suggested they see how high they could build a tower of blocks. As a result, she spent the whole morning building towers for them. By the end, she was exasperated and exhausted, trying to keep up with the children’s demands. My question to her was, “Why were you doing it?”

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In the Toddler Classroom

Aarav was wearing an orange kurta for the Diwali party. He came to class and showed his kurta. I said, “Wow, it’s looking very nice. You are wearing an orange coloured kurta.” I told him that I was wearing an orange kurt a too. He was happy to hear that and a big smile appeared on his face. Throughout the day he kept tapping me, calling out for attention, pointing to his kurta and then to mine. His infectious smile brought a broad grin on my face too.

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The Feelings of A Child

When a young child throws a tantrum we often don’t understand where it stems from. Sometimes we think it is because of something she can’t have and at other times we just tag it as bad behaviour. We help the child get over it by distracting her or giving her a toy or a chocolate.

A tantrum is a child’s way of communicating her feelings. She might be too young to use words or if she is a verbal child, she may not be able to express her feelings. When we ignore these tantrums we are in effect ignoring the feelings of the child. A child whose feelings are ignored is likely to vent out her anger as more tantrums.

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