Building Autonomy… Toddlerhood

Ages 1 and walking to 3 years

The teacher’s role during this important phase of development is to support the child in developing a healthy sense of autonomy. Children are encouraged to take healthy risks, explore boundaries, and celebrate accomplishments. During this important phase of development the child shapes a sense of self-esteem.

Each day your toddler will have the opportunity to explore a variety of developmental areas including social and emotional skills, language and cognitive development, large and fine motor skills, visual and spatial awareness, self-awareness and self-help skills, as well as sensory and creative experiences. For optimal cognitive development, our infants and toddlers are provided with a multitude of provocations each and every day. Provocations are open-ended materials that provoke curiosity, thought, and inquiry. Children will explore with their senses, ask questions, test cause and effect relationships, make simple plans and begin to think deeply. Teachers use these experiences to look for cues that will help them to provide opportunities and experiences to engage the children’s interests, and thus allow their minds to soak up knowledge and information. Like a sponge, a toddlers mind is ready to absorb whatever information it can, and they just can’t wait to start exploring!

At All Around Child, we treat the environment as the third teacher with the first teacher being the parents, and the second teacher being the educator. Many environments designed for infants and toddlers are full of bright primary colors. Our studies have found that bright environments can be over stimulating for the brain. Instead, it is better to think of the classroom as a neutral canvas and allow the children and materials to create the color. Our classrooms are beautifully decorated with the children’s artistic creations as well as documentation and photographs of the children that are taken throughout their experiences here. Documentation is about what children are doing, learning and grasping, and the product of documentation is a reflection of interactions between teachers and children and among children. Documentation, because it is done on a daily basis, is a medium through which teachers discuss curriculum, keep it fluid and emergent, and develop a rational for its course. It provides a growing theory for daily practice. (Seong Bock Hong, 1998, p.51)

Documenting children’s daily experiences and ongoing projects gives meaning and identity to all that the children do. It is through the documentation that the teachers are able to gain insight into the thoughts of the children, determine further investigation for working on topics, create a history of the work, and generate further interest. It is also the best way for parents to see how and what their children are learning on a daily basis.

As your child’s first teacher, you are our partners, collaborators and advocates for your children. We respect parents as each child’s first teacher and involve you in every aspect of your child’s day. We are here to support your family.

The Importance of Continuity of Care…

American Developmental Psychologist, Erik Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development suggests that the foundation of one’s personality is established in the first few years of life. This begins with the development of secure attachment which can be defined as the emotional bonds between people. Research supports the understanding that attachments, created during the early years, impact the way a child builds relationships as an adult.

At All Around Child, we practice the continuity of care philosophy. Infants and toddlers are paired with a primary teacher that ideally loops throughout the program with a group of children from birth through age three and potty-trained. Not only does this practice promote a healthy, secure attachment between child and teacher, but also the family.