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A Time of Tremendous Growth and Development

Once your child enters toddlerhood, she has improved her motor ability and coordination. Language and communication skills are emerging that allow her to exercise independence and autonomy. At Children's Academy of Mason, we recognize the need for toddlers to explore and test their new-found freedom- within supportive limits. By having their attempts at independence valued and supported, young children begin to develop a sense of themselves as autonomous beings who have the ability to fulfill their own desires and goals.This feeling of autonomy lays the foundation for the emergence of initiative and purpose that follows.Social interactions, developing a positive self-image, anguage and communication, and exploration and problem solving are the concentrations in both of our toddler programs. A variety of toys are provided, from cause/effect (pop-up boxes), to closed-ended (stacking rings), to imaginative (doll houses) which aid the toddler's desire for self-exploration and discovery. At times appropriate for each child, potty learning is introduced, encouraged and rewarded.

Young children often want to accomplish tasks in their environment that they don't quite have the ability to carry out. Children's Academy of Mason's teachers understand the importance of supporting children in their efforts to carry out goals and intentions and they provide "just enough" support for the child to accomplish her goal. Our teachers also understand the importance of allowing the child to act independently when able; they know just when to remove this support. Teachers are watching for the opportunity to move children from acting with support to independent behavior. This approach is known as the Scaffolding of Experiences* and is based on the theories of Russian developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky.

Toddlers 18-24 months of age

For this age group, we plan short group activities throughout the day to share your toddler's joy in uncovering the mechanics of everyday life. We provide a variety of experiences that allow your child to begin to construct ideas. As with the infant program, we create an environment that fosters healthy psychosocial growth, which is the development of a positive self image and rewarding social relationships.We continue Sign

Language instruction to encourage vocabulary growth and to give your child the ability to make requests and express wants and needs. At this age we begin to build portfolios for each child that will grow as the children explore new abilities.

Toddlers 24 - 30 months of age

At this age it is clear and evident that toddlers are beginning to move through different levels of learning through play as proposed by Swiss philosopher and child psychologist Jean Piaget*. We continue scaffolding experiences by building upon what your child has already mastered. In this way, we help them develop a strong sense of their abilities. At this age children are beginning to develop special friendships and we help them learn how to interact with their peers. Group activities are extended and academic introduction will begin to take place. Activities are modified according to each child's individual creativity and forms of self-expression. This age group of toddlers will have a more structured curriculum program including identification of letters and shapes, art, music, computers, story time, math, science, and practical life.

Your Toddler's Day at Children's Academy of Mason

Our weekly lesson plans are geared towards your toddler's growing motor and cognitive abilities. Though each toddler room follows the same daily schedule, the curriculum content is quite different and is built specifically for the younger or older toddler - each of which has quite different learning styles and abilities. In addition, instruction methods will vary from child to child, based on their individual developmental progress. This is the basis of Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP), which forms the foundation of our Best Practice Curriculum*.

We introduce Circle Time, daily and weekly themes, and instruction in the arts, sciences, and math when your child graduates into the toddler rooms. We also continue and expand Sign Language instruction and incorporate it into Circle Time. The toddler day also includes Center Time, which gives each child the opportunity to choose activities based on their preferred method of learning - through-play. Centers include dramatic/pretend play, building/manipulatives, reading, art and sensory experience.

When The Day is Done

Each evening you will receive a Day Sheet that details your toddler's activity throughout the day. Your Day Sheet will include what and how much your child ate for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, detail on diaper and/or potty activities, and nap time. We also let you know what we learned about in circle time, what we read and sang that day, and with which friends your child played. Children love discussing their day with parents and siblings and you can share their excitement and incorporate new skills and themes into home life. At this age, our teachers will maintain a portfolio for progress reports. The portfolios are kept in your child's room so that you can browse through them any time. When a student transitions into the next classroom, their portfolio is sent home.

Sample Weekly Less on Plan for Toddlers

Theme: Apples, Letter M, Review A
Circle Time: ABC, Weather, Counting/Numbers, Shapes, Colors, Sign Language for "More" and "Apple"         

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Book of the Day A is for Apple Apples The Very Hungry Caterpillar 5 Little Apples Alpha Tales Letter M
Language Making Requests "M" sound imitation Predictable Story Felt Board M is for "m&m"
Art/Science/Math Sort apples by size and color Red apple collage Apple fishing game Apple Stamping Tasting different apples
Fine Motor Skills Ripping red paper Gluing red paper Zippers and Snaps Sensory Table, scooping and dumping  
Gross Motor Skills Crawling through tunnels Apple bean bag toss Jumping on the mat Poppers Small parachute games
Centers Dramatic Play: Dress-Up Clothes
Blocks: Large Legos Manipulatives: Busy Boxes
Sensory: Beans
Reading: Board books
Art: Free paint with large brushes
Music Friends' favorite songs Dance to the music Instruments A-P-P-L-E Five Little Monkeys
Daily Goals Socialization Awareness of "m" Awareness of "apples" Encourage a variety of play Exposure to different tastes