CHAPTER 3: ADULTS AND CHILDREN IN THE CENTER
3.3.2 Young Toddlers:
This age group is involved in other developmental activities as well, such
The toddler classroom hums with activity as toddlers quickly move through
as beginning block play and social play and space must be provided for
their space, involved in all the activities available to them. This environment
these activities. The development of language skills is assisted through
needs to be stimulating, offering the child a safe, yet warm and nurturing
the use of simple books, pictures, puzzles, and music.
place to spend the day. Often, this group includes 2 teachers and 10 to 12
younger toddlers or up to 14 older toddlers.
Toddlers thrive on exploration and creativity; enjoying fantasy activities,
playing with props, and making choices. Manipulative toys and materials
At the beginning of the day, toddlers arrive at the classroom with their parents
should be located on low, open shelving where the toddler can see and
who may assist them with removing their outdoor clothing and storing items
easily reach them.
in their cubbies. Young toddlers will usually have diaper bags to store in
their cubbies and supplies to be placed at the diapering area. The older
Teachers in this classroom assist and interact with the toddler, encouraging
toddlers may bring lunches or toys from home, perhaps carrying them in
the development of greater independence. Though space should be
satchels or backpacks which can also be used to carry such things as
generally scaled to child size, the classroom design must also permit teacher
papers and art work home at the end of the day. Satchels and backpacks
access to all spaces. To enhance the functioning of the center, experience
may be stored in the cubbies or within the classroom on hooks provided.
has shown that a diaper changing table should be provided in older toddler
classrooms, even though older toddlers are typically toilet trained. This
Toddlers are in the process of gaining independence, advancing in their
addition will help teachers.
feeding, toileting, and dressing skills. Furnishings and equipment need to
be scaled for this age group to encourage growth toward independence.
While toddlers are beginning to develop, they need easy visual access to
Older toddlers may nap only once a day on cots or mats which are stored
their teachers for security and comfort. A functional and nurturing feature
while not in use, while younger toddlers may nap more often and need a
which is highly recommended is a simple series of three to four low risers
crib in a quiet area. Most care functions take place in the classroom with
which several toddlers at a time can occupy. This arrangement also provides
the teacher's assistance.
excellent seating for adults while they interact with several children --
reading them a story, for example. This need not be a built in feature.
Toddlers gather at child-scaled tables for snacks and lunch time. They can
feed themselves with some assistance from their teachers. Toddlers are
Toddlers, accompanied by their teachers, will spend time in their outdoor
beginning toilet training and require a child-scaled toilet area in their
play yard, apart but not visually or acoustically separated from older
classroom. Young toddlers still need diapering areas as well as child sized
children's play yards. The outdoor space offers many opportunities for
activities such as cruising, climbing, and manipulative play involving
materials such as sand and water. This group may take part in activities in
3.3.3 Older Toddlers:
a multiple-purpose area as well.
Toddlers are busy experiencing their environment, developing essential
motor skills as they take part in active play. They are mastering walking,
Toddlers, with their teachers, may go outside the building on excursions,
and are beginning to develop running, jumping, and climbing skills. Toddler
allowing for more exploration and interaction. Younger toddlers may need
rooms need to provide stimulating opportunities for active crawling, pushing
to be transported in multi-passenger strollers. Older toddlers may walk
wheeled toys, climbing in and out of play components, cruising, (movement
hand-in-hand with their teachers.
through space to view and select from a variety of activities), as well as
3.3.4 Pre-School Children:
beginning to walk, and climbing up and down stairs. Toddlers tend to move
Pre-school children are expanding their vocabulary, and are developing
about very quickly, often in groups rather than individually, and the design
language, small and large muscle coordination, and complex cognitive/
must allow for this group action. Features such as wide access to lofts and
social skills. This group may consist of as many as 18 to 20 pre-school
generous, clear pathways (no sharp corners) should be provided.
children (with 2 teachers) busily pursuing all the recommended activities
PBS-140 - July 2003