Toddler Program (Age 16 months - 3 years old)
Serves children who are comfortably walking approximately age 18 months - 3, in a small intimate group. Staff consists of two adults, one trained head teacher and an assistant (1:6 ratio).
The daily program for the children consists of individual work time; group time for singing, reading, dancing, being together; outdoor time, and eating, whether lunch or snack.
The individual work time finds the children involved in activities that include the use of language enrichment materials (i.e., objects, cards—basically nomenclature materials); eye-hand coordination materials (many varied kinds, including sewing and gluing), and practical life materials that should serve as the main body of work.
Language and coordination activities can be included easily in anything having to do with caring for one’s environment or oneself, or preparing, serving, and cleaning up one’s food. It is not unusual to see someone making bread, washing napkins and arranging flowers.
Group times tend to evolve depending on the classroom activities of the day. Children should never be forced to come to a group situation – as in the Primary (age 3-6) class, the group is an invitational affair. If what is going on is interesting enough, the children will come.
There should be a feeling of joy in this environment as these young children are given freedom. They are not given license to do whatever they want, but they are given freedom within a structure that caters to their developmental needs.
Some children this age come into the environment frustrated because their home environment is not really set up for them to do anything or the adults don’t think they are capable of doing anything. These children go through a period of testing, but given love, most them generally settle into a contented participation in the environment. The environment should be so beautiful that it actually entices them into work, which will allow many of the deviations to drop off.
Toileting is usually a big issue with children this age. Once they stop wetting their pants, it means they have a accepted at a deep level the responsibility for their own body and its function.