At this age, children are experiencing dramatic changes in body and brain to support the emergence of a wide array of motor, perceptual, and intellectual capacities. The use of language is emerging as toddlers begin to use their words to communicate. Trust in the classroom community, appropriate interactions with teachers and peers and an awareness of the individual’s contribution to the group are developed.
To be a toddler is to be curious. With this in mind, the environment is a prepared “little society.” Each child is encouraged to become a functioning member of the society and to explore it fully. Multi-age classrooms feature custom-sized tables and chairs, sinks and stools, bookshelves and mirrors, and indoor and outdoor play areas, all designed to appeal to the child’s natural curiosity.
Activities are positioned around the room for toddlers to choose independently. Each activity deals with a particular theme, skill, or subject of value to toddler development. These activities allow toddlers to begin to experience concepts of sequence, form, shape, movement, and sound. The activities change and evolve as the child grows physically, emotionally, and intellectually.
Toddlers very much enjoy learning practical skills. Activities — including the many happening around them, that up until now have been handled by a parent — are seemingly irresistible: getting dressed, using the toilet, preparing lunch, setting the table, sweeping the floor, etc. Being able to do things for themselves creates an instantaneous surge of pride, independence and self-confidence at this age.