Our Toddler Program provides a nurturing environment that supports the developmental needs of independence, movement, and opportunities to engage all senses.
Toddlers develop independence by having the choice of sensory materials to interact with, having responsibility for themselves whenever possible and by allowing opportunities for:
- Self-help skills
- Daily chores
- Hygiene and toileting
- Feeding themselves
- Dressing and grooming themselves
Our toddler program provides opportunities to practice autonomy. When toddlers practice self-help skills daily, such as feeding and dressing themselves, they practice their large and small motor skills, and gain confidence in their ability to try new things which all encourage independence.
We help toddlers learn by helping them seek out experiences that engage their senses. Toddlers use their senses to construct meaning of the world around them. By peeling an orange, they use touch, taste and smell to understand what an orange is. By playing in the rain, toddlers get to feel the mud and water squish in their toes, hear the rain fall on the pavement, discover how the rain makes everything smell differently, and seeing what happens when they jump in a puddle. Toddlers learn through interaction with different sensory materials and are able to experiment with cause and effect.
We help toddlers’ physical development with opportunities for large motor play. This also supports the development of children’s social awareness, emotional thinking and language skills. When a toddler jumps into one of our teacher’s laps or runs to hug a friend in our program, the toddler learns how to control and regulate body movements. Toddlers enjoy carrying objects that are bigger than they are, climbing over logs, through tunnels, and under objects. These activities, which often occur in our outdoor natural playground, help toddlers become more stable and more fluid in their movements.
We routinely give toddlers opportunities to use their small motor skills. They use their pincer grasp when using tongs to pick up an object at the sensory table. When pouring their own milk into their cup at lunch time, they refine their hand eye coordination.
THE FAMILY’S ROLE IN OUR TODDLER PROGRAM
Families can support their toddler’s need for responsibility by asking the toddler to help pick up before leaving school or around the house, or by giving the toddler responsibility for placing napkins or utensils at the dinner table.
Families can support their toddler’s need for independence by supporting their need for self help skills in the bathroom. Encourage your toddler to help pull his/her socks on and off, pull up pants after diapering and help pull their arms through sleeves.
We ask that families provide clothing that can easily be pulled off and on by the toddler, to encourage and support the child’s belief that they can be independent.
Families can provide shoes that are easily slipped on or off or have Velcro, to encourage toddlers enjoyment of taking shoes off and on, over and over. This supports the child’s desire of repetitive movements, as well as his or her independence.
Families can encourage toddlers to practice feeding themselves and allowing them to be as independent as possible during meals. Give your child time to practice using a fork and spoon during meals. Give them the tools needed to be successful, like child-sized utensils, open cups, and small containers with handles or spouts for pouring.
Families can set routines for toddlers upon arrival at the Early Learning Center to help them understand that they are capable and we respect their abilities. Families should establish routines for walking into the classroom, hanging up own coat and bag, and entering into the classroom environment respectfully.
We ask that families develop a respectful relationship with our teachers through open, reciprocal conversations about your toddler in our care.
THE TEACHER’S ROLE IN OUR TODDLER PROGRAM
Teachers will observe toddlers interacting with the space around them, the sensory materials, and other children to gain a deeper understanding about the children’s individual developmental needs. The teacher will use these observations to plan for the environment and experiences to support unique needs with special consideration for independence, movement and opportunities to engage all senses.
Teachers will build trust and encourage your child’s need for independence through intentional planning of the environment and providing toddler’s with unique opportunities to enhance their self help skills.
Providing meaningful opportunities for movement, independence and the engagement of all senses through offering the choice of natural materials is a responsibility of the teacher.
Teachers will develop a respectful relationship with your family through open, reciprocal conversations about your toddler in our care. A daily log will be provided by the teacher, documenting basic care needs provided, individual experiences and learning.