|The second stage of development is called "Autonomy". During this stage (from 18 - 36 months), toddlers are learning to do things for themselves and to make decisions.
They love to repeat actions and words over and over, to solidify their learning and sense of control. They also love to elicit the same response, over and over, from you - to learn they can trust and begin to predict your reactions. One of their favorite words is "no". They don't say this to make you or parents angry; they say it to try out their independence and to let you know that they can make decisions for themselves.
Toddlers are also constantly on the move, busily exploring the world around them and getting into everything. It takes a lot of energy to address the needs of toddlers successfully which is where the curriculum can help.
Understanding the developmental needs of toddlers allows me to plan a program that meets their needs and helps each toddler grow and develop. In the following, I have outlined what toddlers are like and how my curriculum, based on the Creative Curriculum for Family Child Care, helps meet their needs.
- Toddlers establish their independence by trying to do things for themselves. I will plan and organize an environment where toddlers can find what they need and do things on their own.
- Toddlers are easily frustrated because they want to do more than they can do or more than adults will let them do. I will plan activities that toddlers can do successfully and that will hold their interest; avoid overstimulating toddlers with too many props or more choices than they can handle.
- Toddlers have strong attachments to family members and their caregivers. I will build a partnership with parents and with each child through daily contact.
- Toddlers enjoy being with other children but are not always able to play with others cooperatively. I will include toddlers in routines and activities involving other children.
- Toddlers like to imitate what others do. I will provide activities through cooking and dramatic play experiences that give children an opportunity to "do the things grown-ups do."
- Toddlers like to practice new skills by doing them over and over. I will plan activities that allow toddlers to practice familiar skills and apply them to new tasks.
- Toddlers learn to use language to express feelings and ideas. I will talk with toddlers to help them understand new words and to encourage them to use language to communicate with others.
- Toddlers get excited by new things and may turn quickly from one activity to another. I will collect a variety of materials and ideas for activities that will interest toddlers and keep them busy and happy.
- Toddlers are very active and want to explore everything - climbing, jumping, and running with increasing skill (gross motor development). I will set up safe indoor and outdoor environments that allow toddlers to explore safely and use their large muscles.
- Toddlers develop increasing skills in eye-hand coordination and use of small muscles (fine motor control). I will select materials that will challenge toddlers' developing coordination and balance abilities without frustrating them.
Some of the toys and materials that I have purchased for toddlers are:
- records, tapes, and CD's of children's music and stories
- push-and-pull toys
- peg boards and large pegs
- large wooden stringing beads
- wooden puzzles with large pieces
- simple matching games
- wooden and plastic people and animals for dramatic play
- trucks, cars, and wagons
- large crayons
- pails and shovels for sand play
- wagons, tricycles, and riding toys
- large cardboard blocks and interlocking blocks
- climbing equipment
- picture books
- cardboard boxes of all sizes
- paper for art projects
- dress-up clothes, hats, suitcases, and shoes for dramatic play
- playdough, modeling clay, fingerpaint
- musical instruments
- bean bags, etc.
For more information on caring for Toddlers in a Family Child Care environment, please refer to the "Creative Curriculum for Family Child Care" by Diane Trister Dodge.