The Older Toddler’s class is designed for children who are have turned two by September 1. Children this age are always on the move, constantly exploring their world, and delighting in the new friends and experiences of preschool. Educators plan materials and curriculum to build upon the children’s interests and also to provide opportunities for new experiences. Clay, paint, cooking, music and stories are often part of the day’s activities. The art studio, indoor bike and ball area, and outdoor playground provide additional spaces for the children to enjoy.
A wall of windows looking out on the playground and gardens provides an ever-changing view of the seasons, birds, rabbits, and the occasional deer that stops by. An adjoining bathroom has a sink and low, toddler toilet just right for children beginning potty training. This is often a first-time away from home experience, and a warm, home-like classroom with educators who provide nurturing support help to make the transition as easy as possible for the young two-year-old.
Personal and Social Development
School begins at 9:00. Parents bring children directly to the classroom where they help them hang up their coats, wash hands, and choose an activity before saying good-by. Educators and parents work together to make this an easy transition for the child. Family photos and special soft toys from home often ease the separation.
The classroom centers are prepared with a rich variety of materials based on the children’s interests and designed to provoke investigation and exploration. The children move freely around the room working in areas of their choosing. The educators circulate throughout the room supporting the children’s activities by facilitating the play, helping them resolve problems, and documenting the children’s work through photos and written notes. During this time materials such as paint, clay, water, and a variety of sensory materials may be introduced for exploration. Books and photo albums of families and classroom activities are shared by educators and children.
The educators help the children clean up the room and everyone comes together for music, games, and creative movement.
The children are helped in washing their hands and finding a place at the snack tables. Healthy snacks of fruit, cereals, milk, and cheese are brought by parents on a rotating basis. On Friday a special Shabbat snack of challah and grape juice is served. As the children finish eating, they are helped to clean up their snack and join an educator on the rug for a quiet activity until everyone is finished.
The entire class goes outside to the playground, weather permitting, or to the social hall where bikes, scooters, balls, and obstacle courses offer opportunities for loud, active play, group games, and skill building activities.
Ending the Day
The class gathers as a whole group or in two smaller groups for stories and a sharing time of the morning’s activities. Taking time to reflect on that day’s work and looking forward to the activities of the next day gives recognition to individual and group accomplishments as well as helps the children see the continuity of one day to the next. On Friday all classes gather for a Shabbat celebration of lighting the candles, saying the blessings over the challah and juice, and singing songs together. Parents are always invited to join the children for Shabbat.
Educators help children with coats and backpacks and bring them to the entrance door for pick-up at 12:00.