Why is Toddler Development Important?
Research tells us that the first five years of a child’s life are fundamentally important in building the foundation for their growth, development, health, social skills and emotional skills. In fact the first three years, which include a good portion of toddler-hood, shapes a child’s brain structure in preparation for lifelong learning. Gross and fine motor skills, language, social development and behavior are all categories of skills that toddlers are seeking to master.
In addition to these physical and emotional accomplishments, toddlers are quickly developing in other ways. Exploring their curiosity, using their imagination, asking questions, and actively moving are their ways of developing unique patterns of activity. Some might say the more active a toddler, the more likely they are to remain very active into adolescence.
Toddler Social Emotional Development
Considering the foundation being built during the toddler years, one might argue the importance of preschool. While there are some parents whose children don’t go to school until kindergarten, there are others that go to preschool for several years leading up to elementary school. Every child is different. However, the one aspect that’s the same across the board is a toddler’s active desire to explore and learn. This is why The Compass School has specifically developed a program that’s geared towards a toddler’s desire to stay active and explore the world around them.
Classroom Environment: Most toddlers never stop moving, so the classroom in a Reggio-inspired school is arranged in such a way that inspires children to play, build, create, experiment and learn. Different areas of the classroom promote various types of play. Natural furnishings and organic materials spark curiosity. Computers are available for documentation purposes, but also enable toddlers to become comfortable with technology. Snacks and meals are shared at family-style tables so teachers and students can discuss the plan and accomplishments for the day.
Social and Emotional Growth: Our program views toddlers as capable individuals with their own thoughts, feelings, and opinions. It’s critical that these sentiments are respected and valued. Teachers emphasize modeling appropriate language and behavior to create a respectful environment where trust, self-esteem, autonomy, communication, and teamwork are represented.
Emergent Curriculum: Teachers take physical and verbal cues from each child to develop project work that suits their interests. Most projects and activities are derived from “real world” materials in the classroom. This enables children to investigate their surroundings in the purest and meaningful way possible.