Toddlers: 18 months to 3 years

Photo: toddlers exploring the center's enclosed backyard

Our toddler rooms (A and B) are multi-age classrooms for children ages 18 months to 3 years old. Three full time teachers in each room regard children as individuals trying to make sense of the world around them, helping continually explore their world and developing their ideas. As powerful individuals with individual needs, toddlers’ temperaments, learning styles and life experiences make them unique. We acknowledge their ability to make choices and encourage them to as much as we can.

We also foster close connections between teachers, parents, and friends. These bonds enable children to view their school as a place where they feel comfortable and are nurtured.

In our carefully planned classroom environment, activities are built based on teacher’s observations of children and how they use materials in the environment. Teachers recognize children’s needs and encourage them to test their theories and construct knowledge. The environment is planned with opportunities for children to test those theories.

Areas in the classroom environment:

  • Expressive area: To explore materials such as paint, clay, collage. Children use their visual sense to communicate their feelings and to discover how they can manipulate natural materials and make their mark on the world.
  • Literacy: To explore new and familiar places and experiences through books.
  • Large motor: To develop large motor skills in an environment that enables children to safely jump, run, crawl, climb and roll around. Large and heavy objects are provided for children to move.
  • Music and movement: To explore how their bodies move and are able to express themselves. Through music, children learn to use their senses to become emotionally involved by hearing and moving.
  • Dramatic play: To help make sense out of their world by exploring different roles. They use this area to test their theories and better understand social situations. Children also use this area to work through their own emotions.
  • Block play: To test their theories on building. They explore weight, balance, shape and numbers as well as many other properties.
  • Outdoor play: Outdoor space is an extension of the classroom where children are encouraged to explore their world. They experience all four seasons. There are areas created out of natural materials for children to use their imaginations and explore as they interact with peers and equipment. Children help maintain flower and vegetable gardens throughout the outdoor space.

Social skill development
Since toddlers have a natural curiosity of people, their environment is set up in a manner where they have many opportunities to develop their social skills. The teachers support children as they engage with peers.

Language and communication
Toddlers are constantly learning language, and teachers support children as they develop their communication skills. Children are encouraged to share their ideas and concerns, and to make social connections with peers and adults.

Independence and life skills
Developmentally, toddlers are working to be independent. Independence is supported and encouraged by teachers as children move through their daily routines, washing hands, dressing for outdoor play, learning to use the toilet, cleaning up after meals and making many choices throughout the day.

Interpersonal development
Teachers recognize the importance of building a trusting relationship with parents and children. They value ongoing communication, offer support, and serve as a resource for parents. Teachers also strive to create a community atmosphere where everyone is appreciated and differences are celebrated. Documentation of children’s experiences are valued and considered as an important way to communicate with families.