When is my toddler ready to move into an academic classroom at Milwaukee Montessori School?

At MMS, we move toddlers into our academic Children’s House classrooms only after they have demonstrated developmental readiness and there is availability in the Children's House classroom. Teachers deem a student ready when they are consistently meeting all of the following requirements on our Toddler Readiness Checklist.

Toddler Readiness Checklist

If your toddler has achieved these goals, they may be ready for Children's House!

Toilet Training

Toddlers who are ready to transition into the academic program exhibit successful toilet training for two full months without having any accidents or wearing diapers, including nighttime or nap diapers. Specifically, they are able to: 

  • articulate a need to use the bathroom;
  • not ask for, or need, adults to accompany them to the bathroom;
  • manage their clothing requirements independently, such as taking down pants or tights before using the toilet;
  • wipe themselves appropriately and thoroughly;
  • flush the toilet without fear;
  • wash their hands with soap and water after each time they use the toilet; and
  • clean themselves and change their clothes independently if they become soiled.

Tasks of Independence

Toddlers who are ready to transition into the academic program are able to:

  • consistently put on and take off their own coats, hats, shoes, boots, and mittens; 
  • put away their items and hang clothing in their own lockers and/or cubbies; 
  • change from indoor to outdoor shoes independently in less than five minutes; 
  • put on, confidently carry, and take off their own backpacks; 
  • independently pack their backpacks with items such as lunch boxes, thermoses, and baggies;
  • open and close their backpacks and/or lunch boxes using zippers, snaps, and other closures; 
  • locate their belongings by sight and through labels with name;
  • make transitions without crying or tantrums;
  • feed themselves using a fork and spoon;
  • drink out of a regular cup; and 
  • when applicable, scrape plates into the compost bin and place plates, cups, and utensils on the lunch cart. 

Working Independently

Toddlers who are ready to transition to the academic Montessori program are able to:

  • independently find a material to work on, work with it in a seat of their choice, and then put the material back in the right place when completed; and 
  • sit through a story and a ten-minute lesson without getting up.

Oral Receptive Skills

To move to the academic program, toddlers need to have age-appropriate oral receptive skills. Specifically, they will be able to:

  • follow instructions and requests with the first ask, needing no additional prompting;
  • follow two- and three-part instructions;
  • respond when their name is called during roll call or when it is time for a lesson; 
  • follow cues from the environment, such as joining a line when they see others lining up; and 
  • stay in and walk in a line. 

Oral Expressive Skills

Toddlers who are ready to transition into the academic program are able to: 

  • say their first and last names, their ages, and their parent’s names; 
  • communicate what they want in two or three sentences;
  • hold a conversation using three or more sentences;
  • speak so that others can understand them; 
  • communicate with other children and name several friends;
  • name most familiar things as well as some plurals such as cars, dogs, and cats;
  • understand and correctly use certain prepositions such as in, on, and under; and
  • correctly use pronouns such as I, me, we, and you. 

Toddler faculty keep track of and document these skills and behaviors for each toddler, and when a student is ready, they make a recommendation to our admissions team, who then contacts the parents to discuss a transition. 

We encourage parents to learn more about child development milestones at the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/index.html


If you have questions about the admissions process, please contact our Director of Admission, Cheryl Kelly, at admissions@milwaukee-montessori.org, or call 414-259-0370 ext.106.

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