Toddlers (children from ages 12 months to 3 years) spend their days in the Green Room . The teacher to child ratio for the Teddy Bear Room is 1:5 with a maximum of ten children. In creating a program for toddlers, our teachers understand that these children learn with their whole bodies. They learn more by doing than by 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 toddler-hood.
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, even extending it if it isn’t part of the day’s planned curriculum.
Toddlers are working on becoming autonomous. The educated teacher respects this and allows opportunities for the child to be responsible and to make choices. This 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-respect remain intact.
The teacher recognizes that routine times are important moments to help children learn about themselves and others. An early childhood educator views 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 manipulatives to develop cognitive and physical skills, as well as building blocks, music, and books. The environment allows for the children to choose activities and respects their need for ample time to use and reuse activities because repeated experiences foster competence. The setting is stimulating and inviting. It offers comfortable spaces for privacy and for interacting in small groups. Children’s artwork is displayed proudly and respected for what it is. The teacher creates and adapts the environment and activities to meet the children’s needs from day to day.
Our goal for the toddler room is to prepare them for the transition into the Cub room. Generally, we will move the toddlers to the Cub room between 2 ½ and 3 years of age. Your toddler MUST be toilet trained to make that move and participate in all the field trips/extra-curricular activities that the Cubs engage in. We also look for them to be able to follow simple directions, and able to sit for small amounts of time. Our typical transition for Cuddly Bears into the Cubs room will occur in the fall (typically the beginning of September, however the transition time may also be based upon space, the child’s birthdate, their maturity level, parents’ feelings about the move and ease of transition which may initiate a transition to the Cubs room before then.