“Moving on Up”
Toddlers are learning all the time. One part of the day is not distinguished as more or less educational than the other. For a young child, learning to use and control his or her body, to leave home and participate as a member of a group, to eat meals with other children, to be changed and cuddled by an adult they are learning to trust, to sleep in a strange environment and to investigate an interesting new environment with specially designed equipment and materials add up to a total educational experience.
The Caterpillar rooms at our daycare centers allow for large and small group activities; quiet and noisy activities; and gross and fine motor development throughout the day. The areas in the Caterpillar rooms include a book and storytelling area, art area, and areas for large and small motor play. Activities and open areas at our daycare centers change in response to cues from children’s behavior.
Language development is crucial for toddlers; it helps them express feelings and needs related to other areas of development. The teachers in the rooms are willing to listen, elicit responses, talk to the children, ask questions, and patiently answer the hundreds of questions asked of them. The new language skills being gained at our daycare program for toddlers gives the child a new mechanism for learning. In many instances, it is difficult to distinguish between language development and intellectual development. In addition to language, toddlers continue to rely on their senses to experience the environment and develop intellectually. Sensory-motor experiences such as sand and water play, play dough, finger painting, and music are some of the daily activities to encourage cognitive development.
A Day in the Caterpillar 1 Room
The Caterpillar 1 Room is where the children learn to sit at a table for meals while using cups and eating utensils independently. We no longer sleep in cribs in this room. The Caterpillar rooms provide a safe, loving, and nurturing environment in which children can learn and develop. A variety of developmentally appropriate activities and toys (blocks, puzzles, shape sorters, crayons, and books) foster creativity, freedom of expression, independence, and a sense of self-worth. A strong emphasis is placed on language development and physical development at our daycare program for toddlers, including strength, coordination, and increasingly complex motor movements as these are essential tools in the child’s social and emotional growth.
We also begin to use a variety of art materials throughout the day. The children are introduced to brief circle time and are encouraged to use pictures to enhance language development.
Caterpillar 1 Room Daily Schedule
7:00-9:00 Fee Play/Group Activities
9:00 – 9:25 Circle Time
9:25-9:40 Early Literacy
9:40-9:45 Story Time
12:00-12:30 Nap Preparation – Story Time
4:00-4:15 Fine Motor Activity
4:15-4:30 Language Cards
4:30-6:00 Finger Plays/Music/Dance/Free Play