Developing Minds and Bodies
By their first birthday, children explore the world around them through hands-on interaction and intense, but brief focus. Their short attention span means that caregivers must prepare numerous activities and ideas that are oriented towards this stage of child development. Learning to get along with others, caring for themselves, thinking for themselves, and expressing themselves are all important skills that toddlers are beginning to learn. We use activities from Creative Curriculum and Active Learning to help us as we develop our educational program for the toddlers at our child care center. We strive to help children develop both their minds and bodies.
We provide the following key experiences in our toddler classrooms:
Listening and Talking
- Books and Pictures – we read to our children every day and play age-appropriate games with pictures, which help them to associate the proper word with the image.
- Conversation – children are encouraged to use their words, or to show an understanding of the words they hear.
- Conversation Skills Practice – our teachers model some of the skills that should be used in conversations, including eye contact, close proximity, and pausing to receive responses.
- Sign language – we teach sign language to help our children communicate more effectively as they build their vocabulary.
- Gross Motor Skills – children are given ample opportunity to develop their larger muscles through a variety of daily activities, including walking, running, climbing, balancing, throwing, and dancing.
- Fine Motor Skills – children are also given many different opportunities to develop their small muscle groups through a variety of activities, which include playing with puzzles, spools of string, pull-apart toys, washable crayons and markers, and zipping.
- Hand and eye coordination is developed through the use of puzzles and other age-appropriate manipulatives.
- Our toddlers are introduced to the wonderful world of art through projects that involve the use of crayons, colored chalk, washable markers, washable paint, and play dough.
- Spatial awareness is developed through experiences which teach where the eyes and the mouth are located on a face.
- Playing with blocks is important in helping children further develop their fine and gross motor skills, as well as enhance their problem-solving abilities, mathematical abilities and language, and literacy abilities.
- Dramatic play is encouraged through the abundance of purses, bags, baskets, playhouse furniture, dolls, telephones, toy shopping carts, and other dress-up items for children in the toddler classroom.
- Musical instruments and toys, songs, finger play, and recorded music all help them develop an understanding of rhythm and musical structure.
Learning from the World Around Them
- Nature – children spend time outdoors on a daily basis and are able to observe and learn about different plants and animals in their classroom.
- Numbers – we introduce our children to number ideas and words through rhyming songs, the use of “size” words, and learning how to count items.
- Five Senses – children are given opportunities to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell different items as they learn more about the function of each sense.
- Shape, Size, and Color – These descriptive words are made more clear through the use of toys, pictures, and stories.
- Multicultural activities are presented on a regular basis in the toddler classroom. We also begin to introduce basic Spanish words.