In providing a program for toddlers, our teachers understand that these children learn with their whole bodies. They learn more by doing than being told. Toddlers discover their world on a physical level, so it is expected that they will prefer walking, climbing, carrying objects, dumping, or dropping objects to sitting, picking up toys, or playing only in a designated space. These large muscle activities are the legitimate activity of toddlerhood.
In planning for toddlers, our educators are prepared to be flexible and spontaneous. Because they are active explorers, toddlers are eager to try new things and use materials in different ways. Our understanding teachers will go with the cues of the child and view that as learning, extending it even if it isn't part of the day's planned curriculum.
Toddlers are working on becoming autonomous. The teachers respect this and allow opportunities for the child to be responsible and to make choices. The teacher also understands why certain behaviors must be limited, and sets limits that are fair and consistent. Expectations for behaviors are developmentally appropriate and allow the child to be challenged yet to feel support from the teacher. Consequently, frustration is kept to a minimum and the child's dignity and self-concept remain intact.
Our teachers, with patience, warmth and respect, redirect toddlers to help guide them toward controlling their impulses and behaviors. The teachers draw more attention to a child's appropriate behavior than to the inappropriate because they understand that toddlers will act in the way that draws the most attention. Constant testing and expression of opposition are viewed as the child's development of a healthy sense of self. The teachers accept this and offers positively worded direction to avoid getting into power struggles. The teachers view themselves as models for how they want the children to develop. The teachers do this in verbal interactions, because they understand that toddlers lack the skills to cope with frustrating situations and might act out in a physical way without teacher's guidance.
Our teachers recognize that routine times are important moments to help children learn about themselves and others. As teachers we view play as valuable, and facilitates this so that children stay interested and move from simple to more complex aspects of their play. The classroom includes materials for children to engage in imaginative play, appropriate art experiences for creative exploration, various manipulative to develop cognitive and physical skills, as well as building blocks, music, and books. The environment allows for the children to choose activities and respect their need for ample time to use and reuse activities, because repeated experiences foster competence. The setting is stimulating and inviting. It offers comfortable space for privacy and for interacting in small groups. Children's art is displayed proudly and respected for what it is. The little ones are encouraged by their teachers to care for their belongings and the environment in ways they can handle. The teachers create and adapt the environment and activities to meet the children's changing needs from day to day.