Research shows that toddlers learn in the context of relationships with adults and thrive with adults who are sensitive and responsive to their needs. All of our toddler teachers are experienced and are familiar with the key developmental milestones and methods that encourage social, language, and intellectual curiosity. Our teachers understand that toddlers develop at their own pace and grow at their own appropriate level, not necessarily by age. Toddlers necessitate much individual care so the staff to child ratio is 1 to 6.
“The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers, and Two’s” makes up the main curricula utilized in the Toddler Room. This is a comprehensive curriculum with a clear organizational structure and a particular focus on routines and experiences toddlers require. The children are gently encouraged to explore, participate in play, and engage in art activities that foster growth and promote success throughout all developmental domains.
What does a typical day in the toddler room look like?
Our toddlers are introduced to circle time for the first time! All of the toddler room teachers and students come together as a group to say good morning, to sing, to read, and to share experiences. At the start of the school year, circle time in the toddler room may last a mere five minutes, but as the year progresses and toddlers learn where and how to sit for circle time, this time is gradually extended. Soon all toddlers can be seen clapping, listening, and engaging in fun learning activities.
We know how much toddlers enjoy being read to. Our toddler teachers read books on a daily basis, at least twice a day. Reading is a critical part of our program. Fostering a love of reading and books begins in infancy and creates great reading habits for life.
Snack time follows circle time each morning around 9:30am. Our program offers three designated snack times throughout the day; one in the morning, one in the late afternoon around 3pm and another later in the evening around 5pm.
Each morning the toddlers have an opportunity to express their creativity during project time, which follows snack daily. Whether it be painting, modeling with play dough, drawing with crayons, or gluing collage materials, toddlers explore using their five senses while enhancing their developing fine-motor and decision-making skills and eye-hand coordination, to name a few. Project time will engage toddlers in a myriad of activities such as:
This child excitedly covers his paper with green paint. Over time, he will learn how to better control the paintbrush and his “scribbles” will become more fluid and begin to resemble more of a shape.
Exploring food is fun! This toddler learns a lesson in cause and effect as he discovers that icing acts as a strong adhesive for fish crackers and fruit-o’s!
Giggles are part of the art process! Toddlers not only use their hands to create art, but explore various ways to make a masterpiece. This toddler learns that feet work just as well as hands at spreading paint on paper.
Who needs a table? Being creative sometimes means we get down on the floor! This student grabs a crayon and adds her own creative touch to a class project.
Toddlers have an abundance of energy so the daily schedule incorporates many opportunities for gross-motor activities and teacher-directed and child-initiated play. Play is an important component of our program. The teachers guide children during play to enhance the learning experience. Play is guided so that the child feels a sense of accomplishment and growth.
When the weather permits, toddlers venture outdoors to our specially-designed toddler playground. Our toddler playground is fenced-in, keeping young toddlers separate from older students. To ensure safety, the playground floor is covered in rubber tiles to soften falls and provide a flat surface for unsteady feet. Toddlers love to take advantage of their outdoor time!
This toddler greets her teacher with a smile from the playground’s playhouse. Dramatic play extends to the outdoors and a structure such as this one encourages social interactions with peers and adults. Toddlers take on new roles, and pretend to be others in order to make more sense out of the world around them.
Physical play is so important for young, developing toddlers. Throwing a ball into a hoop incorporates both fine and gross-motor skills. This toddler excitedly makes a basket! Swoosh!
Climbing, crawling, jogging, and rolling are critical activities for toddlers. They all encourage fine and gross-motor skills, but these activities also support development of the brain and nerve functions and growth. This climber is the perfect piece of equipment to support such growth!
Exploring materials in the sensory table is one of the toddler’s favorite activities! Playing with sand and water encourages constructive play – this type of play puts the child in charge of his or her own learning. This toddler scoops and dumps sand – learning about matter and volume, but most importantly, she’s having fun!
Our toddlers work and play hard! After a needed rest time and a quick snack, toddlers enjoy a myriad of afternoon activities from music and movement, to art and exploration. Teachers continuously expose toddlers to opportunities to improve language, social/emotional, physical, and cognitive development. Our toddler program is guided by a developmental philosophy; based on the understanding that children construct their knowledge of the world through hands-on, integrated, and active child-centered learning experiences. These learning experiences can take on many shapes:
Manipulating play dough is not only fun, but improves hand strength, dexterity, and motor skills. Toddlers, such as this one, love squeezing the soft material between their fingers and exploring the texture and consistency of the dough.
This toddler may look like he is merely sitting on a soft car with a helmet on his head, but he is actually a construction worker driving his bulldozer to a construction site. The world of pretend play offers toddlers great opportunity to learn about themselves, others, and how the world works.
Toddlers are always on the go! In their attempt to learn what they are capable of and what the world is all about, toddlers climb over, under, and into nearly everything! By crawling through the tunnel, this toddler is learning how to better control her body and how to maneuver through new environments.
Young children learn best when they are able to utilize all of their five senses! Sensory experiences such as this one are vital to a child’s brain development. These toddlers splash, pour, and scoop. While doing this, they learn about cause and effect, begin to ask scientific questions, and investigate how the physical world works.
Music and Movement
Music and creative expression are exceptional teaching tools in our toddler program. The children sing, move to, and listen to a wide variety of music throughout the day, including classical and children’s music.
Your toddler will not only learn new songs but will have an opportunity to display their singing and dancing talents with you in one of our two family concerts scheduled throughout the year. Our school-wide winter and spring concerts bring families and friends together and showcase what your child is learning through music and movement during the year. All family members are invited and encouraged to attend!
Sign language is taught in the infant room and continually reinforced in the toddler room. Simple sign language such as, “more”, “all done”, “cup”, “please”, and “thank you” are used to help young toddlers communicate without frustration. The use of sign language helps to develop social and language skills even when toddlers are developing a greater vocabulary. When toddlers have sign language as a back-up when they are unable to express themselves to their satisfaction, it makes communication easier and more effective.
Food & Nutrition
Toddlers are just beginning to explore new foods and deciding what they like and dislike – and expressing these opinions firmly and enthusiastically! Families are welcome to supply their toddler with snacks and lunches or may take advantage of our school snacks and/or our catered hot lunch program.
Snacks: Snack time is provided three times a day at around 9am, 3pm, and 5pm. Our 5pm snack is also when dinners can be heated for students whose families provide them. School snacks consist mainly of such foods as, cereal, crackers, and pretzels. Juice is always offered to accompany snack. Our snack service is included in your monthly tuition.
Lunch: Our hot lunches are catered by a local restaurant located in Montgomery Township. Each lunch is served to children in its own container and includes fruit, vegetable, and an entrée. Milk is also offered to all students who receive school lunch. Entrees include such items as, chicken tenders, pasta, hot dogs, mozzarella sticks, Sloppy Joes, and grilled cheese. A vegetarian option is always available for students on a special diet. Our hot lunch program is optional. Please see the Director for prices.
What can you expect when your toddler is ready to “move up”?
When your child graduates from our toddler program, he/she will be ready to enter our Intermediate I classroom. The progression from the toddler room to the next classroom is based on your child’s readiness developmentally, rather than solely on your child’s age. At ADLC we realize how important it is that your child feels success along every step of their learning journey. This is why we ensure your child is socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively ready to participate in the more structured program of Intermediate I before moving ahead.
Here is just a sampling of the goals toddlers will master prior to graduation into Intermediate I:
o Interacting with new people and situations with increasing comfort
o Following simple directions
o Beginning to use strategies learned from adults to manage own behavior
o Shows awareness that others’ feelings are separate from their own feelings
o Participates actively in group exercises
o Balances while moving arms and legs in active play
o Uses one hand to hold an object and the other hand to manipulate another object
o Uses eye-hand coordination while doing simple tasks
o Continues an activity, despite distractions
o Plans ways to use objects to perform multi-step tasks
o Investigates cause when something unexpected happens
o Matches objects by similarities
o Persists with trial-and-error approaches to solving a problem
o Demonstrates understanding of simple directions, questions, explanations, and stories
o Uses simple sentences and questions with three or more words
o Initiates conversation by using words
o Pretends to read favorite books
o Demonstrates interest in print
Need more information? Please set a time to meet with our Toddler Room teachers. We would be happy to address any questions or concerns with our program!
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