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 supports the child’s initial transition from home to school and to encourage the child’s natural inclination toward independence.

Program Hours

Half Day: 8:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
School Day:
8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.


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.


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.

Tots Classes

List of 3 items.

  • Tots 1: Warblers

    The Tots 1 Warblers exist to lead with integrity, respect and support to cultivate an inclusive, unified community.

    Meet the TOTs 1 Instructors:
    Morgan Hendricks (she/her), Tots 1 Lead Guide
    Alejandra Catalan Ruiz (she/her), Tots 1 Assistant Guide
    Claudia Estefania Baca Pinedo (she/her), Tots 1 Support Guide
  • Tots 2: Sandpipers

    The Tots 2 Sandpipers exist to provide a joyful, safe environment where all individuals flourish in community while moving towards independence.

    Meet the TOTs 2 Instructors
    Lina Ruiz (she/her), Tots 2 Lead Guide
    Karly Bostic (she/her), Tots 2 Assistant
    Keisha Smith (she/her), Tots 2 Support Guide & After School Program
  • Tots 3: Puffins

    The Tots 3 Puffins exist to build resilience through joyful experiences with the natural world and each other.
    Meet the TOTs 3 Instructors
    Zachary Newman (he/him), Tots 3 Lead Guide
    Sydney Frideley (they/them), Tots 3 Assistant Guide
    Denisse Alvarado (she/her), Tots 3 Support Guide & After School Program

Tots Program Lead Guides

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Morgan Hendricks

    Morgan Hendricks 

  • Photo of Lina Ruiz

    Lina Ruiz 

  • Photo of Zachary Newman

    Zachary Newman 

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)