Our toddler groups

Toddlers make huge leaps in social and emotional development. They learn new motor skills, become potty-trained, and they make rapid progress in language development. They gradually start to understand that toddlers are individuals. When toddlers start developing their own identity, this can be associated with tantrums and crying. And that’s good, as it means that a toddler feels safe enough to test the boundaries. A toddler’s world gets bigger all the time. If they don’t understand something, they use their imagination.

Potty-training

Children can control their sphincter muscles when they’re around two-and-a-half. Kindergarden does not offer active potty training, but we will always discus with you, as parent, what your child is capable of and what they need. This differs per child. In our experience, when the children are offered the right facilities, such as easily accessible, low toilets and we go accompany them to the toilets, they feel good about their own toilet training development at an earlier stage.

Language is so important...

We talk to the children a lot. It’s good for their vocabulary, which is now expanding enormously. Good articulation and using clear sentences is important here. We articulate clearly what we or the children will be doing. We read and tell stories. And, very importantly, we listen carefully if a toddler wants to say something. We also encourage the children to talk to each other when there’s a conflict as this helps them learn to really communicate and practice listening to each other. In short, we invite children to use language. We offer activities that combine thinking, talking, listening, fantasizing, and playing to maximize their development in this period. We read to them, play language games, repeat rhymes, and sing with the children. We sometimes use a song basket: we think of a song for each object in the basket.

Fine motor skills

Gross motor skills continue to develop during the toddler phase but there’s also space to develop fine motor skills. Toddlers start drawing and there are many new arts and crafts to discover, such as playing with clay, painting, and stringing beads. Another great example is our clothes peg game; a huge container with different colored clothes pegs of different sizes. The most fun and educational part is allowing the children to discover what they can do with them. We don’t start with games immediately as the children are still too fascinated by the new play equipment and will have difficulty listening. They feel the clothes pegs, squeeze them, and separate them, all of which is really beneficial for their fine motor skills. Children also have a need to organize things in this phase (all clothes pegs of the same color next to each other), create series (arrange them in a certain sequence), and match things (search for two clothes pegs of the same color). This enables us to use play to stimulate multiple developmental areas at the same time. 

Imagination and reality

Imagination and reality are difficult for a toddler to distinguish. Everything is possible, just like in fairytales. So imagination can be great fun, but scary too. We take fears seriously. If there’s a dragon under the bed, we chase it away and help resolve the scary situation. And we also tell them that dragons only exist in books (in the hope that the children will come up with their own solution next time). We don’t pander too much to their fantasy though as it’s better to reduce their fear than enhance it by focusing on it too much. Imitation and imagination often go together: Making food in the play kitchen, changing the dolls’ diapers, drinking tea at the table. The costume box, iron, and household equipment and appliances are always popular among older toddlers. The eldest want to help with everything; collecting leaves in the garden, washing up, polishing shoes, and cleaning windows, which is why we add lots of everyday play equipment from the adult world. 

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