The Tots Program

The Tots Program is a uniquely designed program, typically lasting one year, created to meet the needs of the young child between the ages of 18 months and 3 years. With a sensitivity to and understanding of the unique needs of this age group, the Tots Program has been designed to provide a warm and nurturing environment that encourages the child’s natural inclination toward independence.

Program Hours

Half Day: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
School Day:
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Toileting & Nap

Children in the Tots program will be introduced to the toilet from day one. Though children are encouraged toward independence in this area, they are never forced or coerced to use the toilet. Children still in diapers will be changed regularly and introduced to the process of using the toilet, including hand washing. A separate personal cubby will be provided for children still in diapers to store diapers and wipes, which we ask parents to provide.

During nap, the children gather in a designated space in their classroom with their nap roll, soft music, white noise, and back rubs or comfort from their guides.


For general questions regarding our enrollment process, please visit our Admissions page.
Maria Montessori believed that children learn best through the use of all of their senses and, like sponges, absorb much from their environment.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the Tots environment, where children are not only allowed, but encouraged, to explore with all their senses. Through song, dance, art, and play, the children not only begin to build a solid foundation for future academic work, they also learn to love learning for the sake of learning. Drawing from the young child’s natural inclination to move, the children are also provided ample opportunities to develop their coordination, balance, and strength through gymnastics, yoga, and outdoor play.  All activities are designed with the young child in mind. As such, learning is always hands-on, fostering the development of the whole child.

One core component of the Tots program is freedom of choice with an emphasis on respect for self, others, and the environment also referred to as grace and courtesy.  Drawing from the child’s natural tendencies toward order and independence, the program provides ample opportunities for the young child in the areas of practical life and self-care, including toileting. Through gentle guidance, the children learn to identify and meet their own needs as well as learn how to care for themselves and others. “I can do it!”  Guides consistently model the use of words, which supports the child’s emerging language skills as well as the child’s ability to identify emotions, solve problems, and resolve conflict. The ability to recognize oneself as a contributing member of a community fosters both confidence and independence in the young child preparing the child not merely for the next level of education; in essence, it is a preparation for life.

List of 4 items.

  • The Tots 1 Team

    Zachary Newman (he/him), Tots 1 Lead Guide
    Cici Baca Pinedo (she/her), Tots 1 Assistant Guide
    Sahvannah Shavers (she/her), Tots 1 Assistant Guide
  • The Tots 2 Team

    Lina Ruiz (she/her), Tots 2 Lead Guide
    Tatiana Nam (she/her), Tots 2 Assistant Guide
    Ana Webster (she/her), Tots 2 Support & ASP Guide
  • The Tots 3 Team

    Alicia Ramirez (she/her), Tots 3 Lead Guide
    Denisse Alvarado (she/her), Tots 3 Assistant Guide
    Olivia Llamas (she/her), Tots 3 Support & ASP Guide
  • The Tots 4 Team

    Meghna Gopal (she/her), Tots 4 Lead Guide
    Eli Ramirez (she/her), Tots 4 Assistant Guide
    Brittany Castro (she/her), Tots 4 Support & ASP Guide

Tots Program Lead Guides

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Zachary Newman

    Zachary Newman 

  • Photo of Lina Ruiz

    Lina Ruiz 

  • Photo of Alicia Ramirez

    Alicia Ramirez 

  • Photo of Meghna Gopal

    Meghna Gopal 

Athena Montessori Academy

“I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my son’s education. The loving guides at Athena taught him so much more than reading and writing– he’s learned how to take care of himself and those around him while navigating the social community of his classroom. I feel these life skills will serve him well as he graduates and enters first grade in the fall!”
- Rebecca O’Hara (Child now attending Eanes Elementary)