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Our toddler classrooms are strategically placed at the end of the school hallway, to ensure a quiet space for our toddlers for nap and play time. Walking into the classrooms, you feel as if you’ve entered a world made just for little people - and that’s exactly what it is! Teachers sit on the floor with the children, getting down to their level and seeing the world from the toddlers’ point of view. Greenery and natural-toned furniture fills the room, with bird feeders and planter boxes lining the outside of the big, bright windows.
 
Our toddler teachers believe strongly in a “YES!” environment. Kerri explains: “This is their space. We want the children to feel supported and encouraged to explore. By watching their behavior and thinking about what they are trying to tell us, we can cater to their inquisitiveness by using the room as a third teacher. In doing this we help build their confidence and self-esteem, invite curiosity and discovery, and most importantly, foster strong, respectful relationships.” Accordingly, drawing paper lines the walls at a low level, giving children the chance to freely draw and color. A large corner of the room is lined with padded cushions, providing the children with a safe active space.
 
Observation is at the core of our toddler curriculum: teachers observe children’s interests and support their curiosity. Teachers are acutely aware of child development, and set up provocations to hone age-appropriate skills. A strategically placed cardboard box gives Yosef the opportunity to practice in/out and object permanence. A lidded container in front of a mirror prompts Chana to recognize herself initiating movement, and teaches a little bit about physics when she lifts it, exploring object weight and up/down skills.
 
Independence is fostered regularly, and a predictable routine gives children the information they need to be able to eventually do things on their own. If a child takes their shoes off, they are gently encouraged to put them back on by themselves. When the classroom goes on nature walks, they all walk together instead of sitting in strollers, with the careful supervision of their teachers. Giving children the opportunity to assert their independence lets them know that they are trusted and respected and gives them the skills they need for future success.
 
 

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