Toddler Program : The Children's Community (18 months and walking to 3 years)
The Toddler program is prepared with the specific needs of that age group in mind. What are its characteristics?
It is a very orderly environment, because routine and physical order help the child develop his or her mental order.
It is a time and place for the toddlers to acquire skills, gather information about their world, experience a role as a contributing member of a social group, and develop their individual personality through concrete experiences of their day-to-day activities. Teachers work to create a beautiful, structured, and orderly classroom environment.
Children in the Toddler House refine their understanding of the world through engaging and enticing interactions, movement, and activities. Teachers carefully select materials and activities based on a toddler’s cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development. These young children are also in a prime developmental period for acquiring language. That is why we expose them to beautiful, precise, and factual language that not only provides names of things, but provides the language to describe qualities, feelings, and emotions.
Development of Gross Motor Control
The young child’s energy is never-ending. Each toddler is actively working on becoming more skilled and coordinated with his or her body. We provide activities that allow them to become more coordinated by walking, balancing, and carrying things around the room or using tools to complete activities.
Development of Fine Motor Skills
The young toddler is also exposed to activities that will help develop the fine motor skills. Teachers introduce materials that require a wide range of grasps and hand-eye coordination like placing rings on pegs, sorting objects, exploring object-permanence, stringing beads, completing peg puzzles, exploring with blocks or balls, and even sewing! Materials are beautiful, constructed of natural materials, and rotated frequently.
Development of Independent Functioning and Social Skills
The young child’s appetite or independence is infinite. He or she wants to imitate adults and do things for themselves. Teachers demonstrate how to use materials to help children prepare food, care for materials in the classroom, care for themselves, or care for pets and plants. Activities range from something simple like wiping a spill on a table or washing a window to activities that require many steps to complete like creating a flower arrangement or baking bread. At a time when a child’s personality is developing, he or she comes to know, “I am capable, and the things I do are important to the people around me.”
Development of Concentration
All the activities in the Toddler environment appeal to the child’s interests and all for the physical and mental energies to work together. This is when the child is happy, feels content, and is satisfied. Activities must present a challenge to children and be purposeful. Driven by his or her insatiable quest for independence, the mastery of a skill is the child’s unique motivation.
Development of Language
Language is pervasive throughout the environment. There is a focus on guiding children with respectful, courteous language and a perspective of helpfulness. Above all, teachers work together to create a warm, nurturing and safe space for every child. Teachers look for opportunities to support conversation, read poems and books, and introduce fun language games. We present children with large, beautiful pictures and replicas of animals, familiar objects, types of motorized vehicles, etc. and we give them the precise vocabulary attached to them. It is important for children to attach a concrete experience to words at this stage as the young child has such a concrete mind.