As in all Voyagers’ classrooms, the environment is yet another teacher that provides what children need and seek in order to continue learning. The toddler room offers challenges and opportunities for collaboration and connections. Children find possibilities in a variety of materials and experiences that include sensory, art, music, nature, and motor activities.
Our teachers communicate with parents about each toddler’s current state of development and daily progress as he or she rapidly grows. This reporting is accomplished through the use of an online portfolio supported by Seesaw. This portfolio follows each child through each year of schooling at Voyagers’ Community School.
Reggio Emilia’s “Inserimento,” which translated means “settling in,” is the approach our teachers take as they introduce both parents and babies to our environment. The teachers learn as much as they can from parents about each toddler’s personality, routines, and needs. To accomplish this understanding, they allow time for parents and infants to separate and to become acquainted with the new surroundings. Our goal is for both parents and infants to feel comfortable during this first separation.
The routine of the day is predictable, but flexible so that toddlers know what to expect. There is a “child rhythm” embedded in the routine, so each child’s needs and interests are always at the forefront.
Children are given plenty of time to explore and play throughout the day. A gentle routine of free play, circle time, songs, rhymes, and games are accentuated. These little ones explore both in and outdoors. They are not rushed from one activity to another.
Our toddlers become more deeply engaged in play and discovery experiences when they have the time to do so. Routines, such as sleeping and eating, are given careful attention and considered another part of the curriculum. Providing rich materials, building relationships, and being present for each child, creates a secure, safe nest in which toddlers can grow and flourish.