The toddler program provides opportunities for children to learn through play and hands-on experiences. Our toddler classroom is arranged for children to be easily supervised, while providing opportunities for children to make independent choices. We have low shelves that are used to divide the classroom into smaller, focused play areas. These include: cars, trucks and trains, a block area, pretend play, math, science, and a music area. Our daily schedule allows time for free play, teacher directed activities, snacks, lunch, circle time, outdoor play, nap, sensory activities, and cooking activities. The daily circle time includes music and songs, book time, finger plays, learning and discovering! Our nurturing and experienced teachers plan activities that are fun and engaging. The curriculum supports all areas of development and meets the requirements of the Department of Education's Curriculum Framework Guidelines. These activities are planned around a weekly theme and the children's interests.
Teachers model and encourage the use of language to communicate and socialize. Teachers facilitate social interactions through pretend play, snack and lunch times, stories, circle time and through daily play. Children are encouraged to share and take turns. Teachers encourage socially appropriate language and behaviors ("More please, my turn, help me and I had it first"). It is rewarding to see the development of strong friendships and bonds with peers and teachers!
Toddlers strive to be independent. Our teachers provide opportunities to further develop their self-help skills. Soap, paper towels and child-sized sinks promote hand washing throughout the day! Our family-style meal time allows children to "help themselves" to their food and practice drinking from an uncovered cup. The children practice cleaning-up after themselves before and after meal and play times. Children also practice taking off their shoes and coats. A child-sized toilet is available for toddlers that are interested in using the toilet.
Children have opportunities for developing their motor skills. At circle time children learn and participate in finger plays and creative movement activities. Teachers also provide puzzles, peg boards, crayons, markers, and play dough. They have access to water and sand play, rocking horses, large trucks, trains, blocks, dress-up clothes and shoes, books, bubbles and much more! The children participate in a wide variety of teacher directed art activities. For example, painting, stamping, gluing, markers and much more! We are able to decorate our room with the children's art projects. The teachers frequently change toys, books and equipment in the classroom to meet developmental needs, weekly themes and keep the children stimulated and engaged.
Our large, fenced-in playground supports toddler's ongoing gross motor development. The playground is accessible directly from the toddler classroom's back door. Our naturally shaded playground offers a safe and comfortable environment for children to explore the outdoors. Our playground is equipped with small climbers and slides, a large covered sandbox, and a paved area for push and ride-on toys, carriage rides and chalk play. Our grassy area provides a fun place for running, jumping, climbing and "chase and follow" games. Outdoor time also gives the children opportunities for bubbles, ball play and peek-a-boo games in our playhouse. The children enjoy our playground through all four seasons. In the spring and summer children enjoy finding insects, watching birds at our bird feeder, and in the warmer weather using the sprinklers and playing with water. In the fall, the children pick and collect leaves and acorns. In the winter, the children dig in the snow, make snow people and climb on snow piles. The adjacent pre-school playground gives the children a chance to watch and interact with siblings and the older children.
Special activities and events that enhance our toddler curriculum include apple picking, pumpkin picking and a visit to The Butterfly Place for our older toddlers. Children get to choose books for the classroom when the Book Mobile visits once a month. Mike the Music Man, who also visits once a month, sings fun and engaging songs that encourage creative movement and singing along. Family potluck suppers and a holiday party allow parents time to meet and socialize with teachers and other families at CCC, Inc.
Ongoing communication between teachers and parents is important for your toddler. Teachers talk to parents at drop-off and pick-up as well as completing a daily sheet letting parent's know about their child's day. A classroom phone is available for parent's incoming phone calls. Progress reports are completed and sent home every six months. These reports document your child's interests, growth and development. Parent/teacher conferences are scheduled as needed or at the parent's request. To keep you informed of upcoming classroom transitions, we hold an annual parent information night. This night is meant to inform you of pre-school expectations, daily schedules and activities, the curriculum and a chance for you to ask questions about the pre-school room.
At this age, children are gaining independence and growing by leaps and bounds. We recognize that they are still "babies" that need TLC and a warm and caring teacher.