Our Two-Year-Old Program
During their 3rd year, children develop rapidly and dramatically. They now not only understand what is said to them, but they can use words to communicate their thoughts and feelings. They enjoy playing alongside and cooperating with other children their age and are becoming increasingly more independent. Their ability to learn through actions, solve problems, and anticipate results is exciting to watch. They will master many new physical skills during this period when given the opportunity to challenge their large and small muscles.
Our curriculum is designed to stimulate and facilitate their development in an atmosphere of love and fun. The content areas we explore include:
The Cognitive Areas
Children learn and develop language skills and literacy by using language in many different ways: by being spoken to; by speaking themselves; by hearing others extend and expand their utterances; by being aware of written language; by being read to, and by having opportunities to experiment and explore with words, sounds, and letters. Our curriculum for two-year-olds fosters language development and facilitates the natural progression into later reading and writing.
Number concepts develop gradually through the preschool period. By providing concrete hands-on experience with objects, we start to develop the child’s beginning sense of numbers. We use everyday, real-life experiences and theme-based activities as well as manipulative toys designed to foster mathematical concept development. Rote counting is taught through enjoyable games, songs, and finger plays. We take advantage of the natural opportunities during the day to make children aware of the concepts of “one-two-three” and beyond, as they are ready. They will match and sort, experiment with patterns, build with unit blocks, count, sort objects by size, learn relative terms like “biggest/smallest” and “heaviest/lightest,” spatial concepts like “on top of,” “under,” “inside,” etc.
Two is not too early to capitalize on children’s sense of wonder at the world around them. We will explore everyday things by touching, looking, listening, tasting, and smelling. We will learn about:
- Water and ice,
- All kinds of animals (including farm and zoo animals, dinosaurs, fish, birds, bugs, and reptiles),
- Seeds, leaves, and plants,
- Air, airplanes, and rockets,
- Light, color, and shadows,
- Their bodies and how to take care of them.
We have a new art project every day. Sometimes it is the chance to explore and to “mess” with media, or we will make something related to our learning themes. We use water, finger paints, tempera paints and brushes, watercolors, play dough, paste, and a lot of paper.
We begin to learn about living together in a group and to use words when expressing our feelings. Our two’s learn how to clean up and how to take care of the world around us. They also discover that celebrating holidays, customs, and traditions are ways of learning about our world.
Music and Movement
Singing and moving to music are an important component of every school day. We learn songs, finger plays, and rhymes. We delight in the songs of Raffi and other popular children’s musicians and listen to folk songs, jazz, classical music, and sometimes rock and roll. Quiet music helps us rest and is a part of nap and quiet times.
Large and Small Muscle Development
Weather permitting, we will be outside for up to two hours each day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Children have a natural need to run, jump, climb, swing, and balance. Our playground equipment includes swings, a slide, climbing structures, a sandbox, and riding toys, which stimulate and encourage the children to joyfully use their bodies. In inclement weather, we use the rainy day playroom next door.
Puzzles, beads, pegs, towers, small blocks, ringamajigs, counting bears, links, paper punches, and other manipulative materials are used as part of the everyday schedule to develop eye-hand coordination and small muscle strength and flexibility.
This is the psychological stage of autonomy, which includes growing desires to “do it myself.” Two-year-olds become more independent each day. We patiently encourage their efforts to dress and undress, wash hands, develop table skills, and to use the toilet.
The child’s natural drive to autonomy and egocentricity, coupled with the social world’s need to limit it, can create conflict for the two-year-old. By having the opportunity to play with peers, and begin to learn to use words rather than physical aggression to negotiate what he/she needs, the child develops self-esteem and social skills.