Chipmunks: About 12 months to 20 months
In our Chipmunk room, our younger toddler room, the children are taught about general concepts such as pouring, cleaning up after themselves, washing hands, dressing themselves, etc. Growing independence marks this age. The children are in the “sensitive period” for care of self, and improved dexterity. In this room the children will continue encouraging gross motor skills as well as begin simple fine motor and mechanic projects such as water transferring, knob cylinders, and simple opening and closing activities (snaps, jars etc.). This is a great time to express and model feelings to a child, as they need to know that it is all right to feel and express sadness, happiness, anger and frustration and he/she needs models to learn how. We strive to not simplify our vocabulary or raise our voices when addressing a child; instead, we change our focus, get down on the child’s level and include them, as we would any other adult we were conversing with. Though spoken language begins to develop before birth, the child in this classroom becomes interested in learning the names for everything in the environment, and the meanings of the words those around him/her use. Here, we truly start to see that “light bulb” go off as the children begin this amazing transition from infancy to toddler.