In the 2-year old class, our goal is for a positive experience at school. This is a time when children often learn how to separate from their parents for the first time and bond with teachers. Children make friends and start interactive play.
We feel this solid foundation will foster a love of learning throughout the child’s future. In a nurturing, trusting environment, the children learn to use materials, follow directions, and make choices, while learning cooperatively with others. When children feel safe they take risks in their learning.
It is important to work on all areas of development to support the whole child. We foster the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of each child at their own level. Our goal is to make all students feel good about themselves, and acquire the self-help skills needed to work independently.
THE TODDLERS ARE 2 YEARS OR OLDER BY AUGUST 31
Colleen Hunsinger (Lead Teacher) Since March 2015
8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (paid planning 2:20 to 2:50 pm)
Janeth De Niz (Lead Assistant) Since April 2014
6:50 am to 2:50 pm
Lexie (Alexandra) Harrison (Afternoon Assistant) Since November 2016
2:50 pm to 5:45 pm
Each year there is so much growth that occurs. You will find that there are many activities made available for your child throughout the day. With this we find that the kids begin going from their independent or parallel play to beginning to engage in associative play with their classmates as they explore different ways to play. They will be learning how to play together and how to communicate effectively with each other.
In addition to our changing play, Rainbow’s learn a new set of self-help skills. They are working on how to put on their coats, socks, shoes, and change their own clothes. Potty training is also a huge topic in the Rainbow class as we move from wearing diapers to wearing our big kid underwear. The independence that these kids gain over the next year is truly remarkable. We can’t wait to watch the transformations that occur throughout the school year.
When you come in for your first day of the school year, you will find that each child has a cubby to keep their belongings. In addition to each child having their own cubby, they will have a Parent Pocket. This is where you will find notes from teachers, the office, incident reports, etc. Please make sure to check your parent pouches every day at pick up. There are also pockets for each teacher to leave them a note if you would like to.
Right under our Parent Pouches, you will find your child’s Art File. Each child has a file folder that gets filled with all of the art work they do during free choice, at the easel, or project time will be found in our art files. They are so proud of all of the work that they do at school and love to tell their families all about it.
In the morning, quick drop offs typically help your child get their day started. Please try to drop off before 9:30. We begin our morning circle time shortly after.
The Rainbows follow an Emergent Curriculum. Each week the Rainbows learn about a new topic or theme. The books, art projects, cooking projects, songs, etc. we do for the week relate to the topic or theme of the week. The topics for the week are chosen based on the interests of the classroom or events that are relevant to their lives. I find that the kids are more interested and willing to participate in planned activities if they are intrigued about the topic we are learning about.
In planning for activities, we take into consideration the objectives for development and learning for this age group. Each activity that is done at our school sets out to meet one or more of these objectives in all the area’s of development.
Our classroom is designed to enhance learning with designated centers. We have our book loft, dramatic play house, science, math, fine motor, art, and block areas. Each center is filled with activities designed to work of specific development and learning objectives. We have materials are rotated through these learning centers.
Learning Through Play
The majority of the learning that happens in the Rainbow classroom is learned through our play. Learning through play is not about children wondering aimlessly around a room dumping baskets and throwing blocks. Instead, learning through play takes a carefully prepared environment that invites young children to explore, examine, question, predict, test, investigate, trial, error, and manipulate. Through play, learning is different for every child because every child is learning at his own pace, learning in his own style, and guided by his own interests.
Our job is to aid in your child’s learning by providing learning experiences during their play. We often teach counting, colors, letters, shapes, etc. through interactions during your child’s play. It is also our responsibility to provide the play materials that will bring forth learning. The materials in our classroom do not serve only one purpose, they are open ended allowing your child to explore their possibilities. They are intentional.
During play is also when we learn how to interact with our peers. It teaches us to communicate effectively, recognize that others have different emotions about a situation, and so much more. Our play is extremely important to all of our developmental areas.
Each Rainbow has a portfolio binder that is collected throughout the school year. Every month a report is written about your child’s development and included in your child’s portfolio. We talk about their interests, successes, as well as set goals for the next month. In addition to a written report, pictures of your child and their artwork are added. It is so much fun to see how far the Rainbows come throughout the year and this is a great way to record their growth.
Families are always welcome to take a look at their child’s portfolio. They are kept in the right side teacher cabinet above the counter in our classroom. Please feel free to check them out, but I ask that they remain at school.
As we move throughout the school year and as we move through major stages in your child’s life, I will always be available to you via email. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is sent out through our email. I send out our weekly lesson plans, newsletter, pictures, supply reminders, and information about your child specifically. The Rainbows grow up so quickly and there is so much going on in their lives, so I want to make sure that I am here to help out anyway possible.
In addition to email, I am available to meet with families in person. Conferences are held in the winter, but I can meet to discuss your child’s progress if you ever feel necessary. Please let me know if you are ever interested in meeting.
While in the Rainbow classroom we see a huge leap in social skills development. The kids go from solitary play, which is playing separately from others, with no reference to what others are doing. To Associative Play, which is playing with others without organization of play activity. Initiating or responding to interaction with peers.
They are also becoming aware of what others are doing around them. In becoming aware of their classmates actions, they are learning how to interact with them effectively. Rainbows learn how to communicate with their peers verbally and nonverbally. This is a very exciting development, but can also bring up some problematic behaviors as we maneuver through this stage using trial and error.
Behavior Management/Building Empathy
With all of the growth in our social skills, we also face the issue of behavior management. The Rainbows often learn to first express themselves nonverbally before using their words. We work hard to help all of kids use their words when interacting with each other. Let’s remember we are working with a group of 14 kids living by the toddler’s creed:
If it’s mine it’s mine,
if it’s yours it’s mine,
if I like it is mine,
if I can take it from you it is mine,
if I am playing with something ALL of the pieces are mine,
if I think it is mine it is,
if I saw it first it’s mine,
if I had it then put it down it is still mine,
if you had it then you put it down it is now mine,
if it looks like the one I have at home it is mine,
if it is broken it is yours
In doing so, we do a lot of coaching of our Rainbows to help them identify when they have hurt another’s feelings or body. If a child does take something or hurt another, it is their duty to check on the other child. They are coached to first ask, “Are you ok?” then ask, “What can I do to make you feel better?” The child on the other end is also coached to let them know that they do not like what has happened.
The Rainbows avoid using the phrase, “I’m sorry” as many of our kids do not understand the meaning. Working on having the kids check on their classmates instead begins to teach them empathy. It helps them to understand how their actions affect others around them.
When giving directions to the Rainbows when they really don’t want to do what is asked, we give them choices. Now, these aren’t just any choices they are definitely leading choices. Either option the kids choose is a right choice. For instance, when waking up (which is a big transition in the day) we ask if the kids want to get their shoes on or make their beds first. Both are jobs that need to be done, but giving the choice empowers the child to make their own decisions. This is used frequently throughout the day.
We do our diapering I our classroom’s bathroom. If your child has a wet diaper we do stand-up diaper changes. When they have BMs we use the fold down diaper changing table. All diapers are stored in our bathroom. Each child has a cubby that is to be kept stocked. I try to send out a reminder email when your child has only a day or twos worth of diapers left.
As we transition from diapers to pull-ups during our potty training process we ask that the kids use pull ups with sides that can be reattached. This makes it easier to change them if they have a BM.
When in pull ups, we begin working on self-dressing skills. We will remove the soiled pull up, but work towards having your child put on their clean pull up and clothes. This helps in furthering their potty training as they gain more independence in the bathroom.
The Rainbows work very hard throughout the school year to go from wearing our diapers to becoming potty trained. Potty training is a huge developmental milestone that is met while your child is in our class. It can also be an at times frustrating process, but it’s important to remember that everything is going to work out. Potty training is in the hands of your child. They are the ones that know when they need to go potty. They are the only ones who can control their pottying. But, with that being said, here are a few tips for helping you through this process.
- At 18 months, buy a potty chair and place it in the bathroom. When your child sits on it, take notice, establish eye contact and say, “Look at you, you’re sitting on the potty just like mommy and daddy.”
- Bring the potty out of the bathroom. Your child can sit on it when watching TV. Put dolls and teddy bears on it too.
- Establish the routine of having your child sit on the potty before climbing into the bathtub. Don’t expect any results. This is just time to get your child familiar with sitting on the toilet.
- Once your child turns two, work to establish a potty routine where your child sits on the potty twice a day, once before bath time and again before putting pajamas on.
- Don’t ask your child, “Do you want to sit on the potty?” Any two-year-old will automatically say “No!” Just say, “It’s time to sit on the potty.”
- Notice if your child is dry up to 1-½ hours and stops playing or walking to poop. These are signs of control; it’s time to start teaching your child to use the toilet.
- Put your child in disposable training pants and then take her every 2 hours or so to use the toilet. Once on the toilet encourage the child to go, but don’t show disappointment if she doesn’t perform. Practice is an important step on the road to potty training.
- Once your child starts performing on the toilet put her in panties when at home. Use a disposable training pant when going to the grocery store or to visit at Grandmas.
- Be sure to consult with your childcare provider as to how she proceeds with toilet training. Usually experienced caregivers are skilled at teaching children to use the toilet. Both parent and caregiver should work together and communicate regularly as to the child’s progress.
- Be prepared to deal with accidents. Don’t be horrified when a child poops or pees in panties. Clean the child and the floor with a matter-of-fact attitude. Then put her on the toilet so the child eventually makes the connection that urine and stool goes in there.
- If your child meets with no success, keep her in disposable training pants full time. Take a break from any rigorous training. Wait a couple of months and try again.
- If potty training becomes an emotional battle between parent and child over who is in control, drop back and give it a rest. Adjust your frame of mind and try again later.
- Your roll in the potty training process is to positively influence your child to use the toilet when the child’s body is physically developed to the point where the child can hold in the urine and stool, and then release it into the toilet. But the ultimate control lies with the child. Avoid coercing, forcing or manipulating a child to use the toilet.
- If you find yourself in a potty training power struggle tell your child this: “Your job is to learn to use the toilet, my job is to help you learn. It’s your body. Someday you’ll pee and poop in the toilet. If you want to wear underpants that’s fine. If you want to wear a training pant that’s fine, too. You decide. When you want to use the toilet is up to you, I’ll help you.”
- If your child becomes constipated, retains bowel movements or develops encopresis, seek medical help. If your child is approaching four years old and continues to have numerous wetting accidents, talk to your doctor.
When it becomes time for your child to make the transition into underwear, we will have a discussion on their progress at school as sometimes it differs from at home. Also, we will need to have lots of spare clothes available for your child because accidents do happen.
Throughout the year the Rainbows become much more independent with their self-help skills. They will be working on putting on their own shoes, dressing themselves, becoming potty trained, clearing their own spots from the table, etc. This is another one of the major growth areas for the Rainbows. We coach them through these self-help skills, but eventually they will be doing them all on their own.
So, if you see that your child’s pants are on inside out or their shoes are on the wrong feet, it means that they were able to do it their selves. It is an accomplishment. Now, with saying that, once they are getting proficient at these skills we begin working on getting our shoes on the right feet and our clothes on correctly. It is a learning process.