Twos – active and curious
Two-year-olds enjoy using their senses to explore the world, are curious to how things work, have a greater self awareness and are very active and enjoy lots of outside play. They are also learning how to interact socially and starting to recognize feelings.
We understand how your two-year-old is evolving:
- This age has much more independence and abilities
- Every day your they says new words and does more things
- Likes to choose, can complete self-chosen, short-term tasks
- Learns to solve problems through “trail and error” and will practice an activity to master it
- Takes notice in living things, nature themes, likes to plant and observe growth
- Starts some cooperative play and exploration with peers
- Learning about emotions in oneself and others
- Their ability to communicate and desire to learn, prompt many “why,” “what,” and “how” questions
Development and Curriculum
Two’s teachers create weekly lessons plans with the awareness of the different developmental abilities of the children in the room. Each one designed to be engaging, interesting and fun, keeping curious two- year-olds active and learning. These activities can be more involved, as their attention span, and abilities grow. Parallel play still occurs (playing along side but not necessarily with another child) but cooperative play is developing, so good citizen values are taught each week in circle time and reinforced daily.
The room has defined areas of learning centers for math, science, imaginary play, music, block play, fine motor manipulative play, creative art and sensory play to provide both shared and independent learning opportunities. Teachers fill these centers with theme-related materials to engage each child at their stage of development. The classroom is arranged with low shelves containing picture-labeled containers. Your child can easily help them self to the materials, and help put them back as well. This continues to support the independence that they desire at this age. Enough time is given to complete an activity, because we know your two-year-old is trying to master things independently, and if they need or want help their teacher is there for guidance.
Circle times are one of In The Beginnings strengths, teachers are taught to have fun and interesting circle times that are filled with learning. We put much time and effort into our circle times having two a day one with a Christian theme based on a Bible story or Bible theme and supporting that theme with a secular circle time. Colors, sign language, Spanish words, numbers, letters, phonics, Bible verses and lessons, prayer, Christian and secular songs are sung, and good citizen values are talked about each day.
As their skills grow we focus on what they can do rather than what they can not, this continues to build their confidence. Each child masters skills at different speeds, and as long as they are exposed to new things in an age appropriate and stimulating environment they will continue to learn as they have fun in our active adaptable program. We rotate toys to keep things fresh and new. Our creative curriculum has vast resources to ensure new activities and experiences. Our curriculum was developed in house over the last 13 years and is constantly being updated and enhanced. Very creative teachers as well as the owner director create fun, interesting, motivating, and inspiring activities for all ability levels.
Each classroom takes time each day to pray together and learn from one other and their teachers. We sing songs together, listen to stories, and learn to understand about God’s world around us. Children are comfortable with the structured daily schedule and consistent routines. Teachers instill confidence as children learn the answers to their favorite questions: What? Why? Where? Who? How?
We assist each child while learning to control their urine and bowel movements when they are developmentally ready. We look for various signs of readiness such as waking from nap time with a dry diaper. Always praise for success, that is the motivation to please the teacher or the parent, never scold for accidents that can delay training.
Language, Literacy, Writing
Two-year-olds vocabulary can grow each day. They can understand and say hundreds of words and can learn one to two words a day with access to new words in their daily experiences. In The Beginning two’s teachers continue language stimulation techniques that start in the infant area and expand in the toddler rooms to ensure an environment that encourages continued language development. Techniques like descriptive, parallel, and self talk are used to describe things they see and are doing as well as what the adults are doing. This gives description to the activities that are occurring in their everyday experiences. Expansion and expansion plus takes what your child says and expands on it or adds to it. This adds more description to what they are saying and they also hear a grammatically correct sentence. Language development activities are incorporated in the curriculum using these language stimulation techniques and with music, reading, singing, conversation with teachers and naming objects in their environment, pictures, and books.
Two-year-olds are laying the groundwork for reading and writing. They love reading books with adults and start to independently look through familiar books and doing pretend reading where they recall much of the story using pictures to retell or read it. They understand proper orientation of the book and start going from front to back sometimes skipping pages, but by the end of the year go page by page. Some of their favorite books are nursery rhymes; they will start to chime in on rhyming words, which helps young children distinguish individual sounds and parts of words, a critical part of language development.
Two’s continue to make scribble marks but other patterns develop like zigzag. They still holds crayons and markers with a fist and use their arm to move marking utensil, so fine movement will not come until finger control is better and tripod grip begins. Later in the year rows of scribble writing may appear and some will start writing the first letter of their name. In The Beginning two’s teachers know that exposure to letters, through the alphabet song, books, posters, play materials such as magnetic letters, and teachers and adults who name letters in objects in their environment will greatly benefit your child’s recognition and identification of letters. Lesson plans include, fun activities for language, literacy and letter recognition weekly.
Math and Science
Two-year-olds are like mini scientists gathering information on familiar and unfamiliar objects using their five senses. They make discoveries about physical properties, size, weight, texture, does it make noises, and does it have parts. This helps them figure out how it fits in with the world around them. They take interest in animals and the names of their different parts.
All this investigation introduces them to math concepts like:
- counting, sorting, matching shapes, stacking rings on a peg and building structures with blocks
- Match shapes with same size and orientation, then with different size and orientation
- Stack rings on peg by size and complete puzzles with up to eight or more pieces
- Verbally counting by ones to three or five and beyond for some
- Correspondent object counting
Art, Music and Dramatic Play
Two-year-olds use their fine and gross motor skills to explore the creative arts, this helps develop their social skills and creativity:
- They love to explore sounds made when banging and shaking instruments and other objects
- When singing or listening to music will react with different body movements based on music’s tempo, loudness and style
- Pretend and dress up play enact experiences they have and imitate family roles, like feeding the baby then laying them down in bed and covering with a blanket and saying “night, night”..
- They focus on the process of creating art rather than the product itself
Social and Emotional
As their vocabulary increases they can understand common phrases, simple directions and explanations used in routine daily situations. Children begin to understand feelings in themselves and others especially when identified and labeled by adults. This helps them to identify these emotions in others by actions and facial expressions. They begin to recognize others’ feelings and may try to give basic help, like a hug to someone hurt.
Children learn about how Jesus wants them to act: respectful, obedient, loving and sharing, with their friends, parents and teachers. Jesus loves children making the right choices, unselfish actions (putting others first), not easy values for a child to embrace at all times. But through our circle time themes and classroom program directed by our caring and loving teachers these points are emphasized. They are being exposed to the proper values and environment so that their citizenship and social skills can grow their actions.
When conflicts arise, adults need to step in to prevent aggression and teach appropriate behaviors. Two’s need adults to help handle conflict, controlling emotions are difficult, so frustration may trigger emotional meltdowns. At In The Beginning we use a wide range of coping strategies like comfort objects, words that label feelings, removal from the activity causing conflict, along with firm stance on right and wrong behavior.
Discipline is very important at this age. Discipline should be firm and consistent, but loving and understanding. We praise children for good behavior and accomplishments. Rules are taught and enforced. Teachers encourage your two-year-old to make their own choices whenever possible. This way they have a hand in the decision making process and buy in for what they are doing. At In The Beginning to encourage this we have a choice board where they can choose the learning center they want to play in. They do this by attaching their picture by the proper center. They know who else is in the center and if there is not a spot for their picture that center is full.
Observation, assessment, and communication are an essential part of good a program. At In The Beginning teachers observe children in the centers and throughout their daily routines. They access their abilities and communicate developmental milestones through written notes on their scrolls and with daily interaction with parents. Each room has a communication board with lesson plans, the daily schedule, and where other activities are posted. Teachers are always available for discussions on their day and how they are doing as well as areas of where help is needed.