Here we arrive at a sacred yet challenging time, the toddler years. A time of big leaps and even bigger emotions. Where imagination and the power of pretend take centre stage.
More than any other time in your child's life so far, the toddler years bring great change and advancement. Big emotions that can be felt, but perhaps not always communicated, need support. As does your little one's rapidly expanding imagination. For some, it may be a time of cognitive development, while others choose to focus on coordination and gross motor. Whatever your toddler is fascinated by, we are too. They point the way and we gladly follow, with learning in our pocket to be retrieved at a moment's notice.
Our Educators in our Toddler Learning Environments are our most patient, calm, imaginative and always have a sense of excitement at all the possibility the day holds. We have a little more structure to our day but always allow plenty of time for play. Learning through play begins to solidify, as planned experiences grow in complexity and depth based on your toddlers identified interests. There's always plenty of dinosaurs, fingerpainting and animals in our Toddler environments, as little people start to communicate what they want and how they feel about it.
One of the things that makes early childhood so magical is the ability to spend an entire day in an imaginative world all of your own creating. We foster this at every possible opportunity.
Dress ups, home corners, real life excursions and more - we bring imaginative play right to the fore. This is where social vocabulary expands to simple sentences and toddlers start to recognise their role in the room. A newfound sense of purpose and self advocacy emerges into strong personalities and preferences.
We create catalysts of imagination through carefully curated play experiences. A telephone strategically placed in the centre of the room. A typewriter in the corner. A cape and mask draped on a chair or a new home corner set-up just over there. Whatever it is that our toddlers want to play, we are there to support and nurture this as a crucial part of their development.
Bikes and Trikes
One thing we know is Toddlers love to move. With the development of coordination and gross motor skills comes a desire to be active. All the time. Seemingly ceaseless energy levels need to be expended. Our outdoor environments are large scale and designed to promote true activity and movement. Children can run, climb, jump or ride until their hearts are content.
We include cycle tracks and paths that wind around our outdoor environment to encourage riding of small bikes and trikes. This is a wonderful way to keep small bodies active and little minds working on the all-important gross motor skills. Active children are more likely to be active adults, so we are building the foundations for a healthy life moving forward.
Independence becomes very important during the toddler years with many little people insisting on doing things for themselves. We start to very gently intertwine life skills such as toileting, handwashing, self serving of food and more in our Toddler Learning Environment.
By allowing these skills to slowly develop over time at your child's pace, with great encouragement, a strong sense of self sufficiency and confidence emerges that we hope stays with them into their formal schooling years to come.
One of the most rewarding aspects of our Toddler Learning Environment is the development of early first friendships.
Toddlers learn as much from each other as they do from themselves, their Educator and the learning environment. Peer and social interaction is a strong benefit of an early learning setting and Toddlers are the perfect example of how beautiful those first friendships can be. Watching children open themselves up to allow connection and learning with others is a gift to behold.
Whilst play is still largely parallel by nature, there is the start of acknowledgement and involvement in group games and experiences. We operate a small group philosophy whereby key Educators take small groups of our explorers through an experience or experiment. This allows for more tailored child-led interests to be focused upon and encourages interaction through familiarity of Educator and friends.