How We Think About Our 2½-Year-Old Preschoolers
Two-and-a-half-year-olds experience a period of transition where they begin to interact with and learn about the world beyond the family. Play is the powerful way children learn their most important tasks at this age: how to play and get along with others their own age, how to handle adults, and how to learn about themselves as social people. Play is the work of young children and their way of learning. It is through play they learn the skills for success in later life. Play allows for the natural process of learning by doing.
Along with the important role of play in their day, there is also cognitive learning. Children learn concepts such as colors, shapes, numbers, developing an awareness of the printed word, listening to short stories, extending and expanding vocabulary, expressing thoughts, finishing a task begun, participating in rhythms, finger plays and singing, and remembering a daily routine. A daily routine is essential because it offers security and stimulates independence. Physical development, both small and large muscle, is important at this age. Children are given many opportunities during the day to develop these. Some might include painting with large brushes, stringing beads, working puzzles, and other manipulatives, as well as beginning to bounce and catch large balls, beginning use of scissors, and rolling, pounding and squeezing play dough.
In an environment of creativity, conducive to social growth through play, we plant the seeds for a lifetime desire for learning by developing:
- A positive self-image, independence and responsibility for self
- Language and cognitive skills
- An appreciation of the arts and creativity
How We Emphasize and Reinforce Skills for 2½-Year-Olds
Reinforcement at this age comes through repetition using different or various instructional aids; group time; age-appropriate games; finger plays and singing and flannel board aids through manipulatives.
How We Use Project-Based Learning for 2½-Year-Olds
Having choices, such as deciding which center they will play in, and accomplishing success is one way project-based learning comes to life for a 2½-year-old. Projects are small at this age but are important as they allow the child to see the beginning and end and to feel good about their “work.”
How We Differentiate Instruction for 2½-Year-Olds
At this age, being sensitive to the needs of students and finding ways to help them make the necessary connections for optimal learning is our goal day in and day out.
How We Develop Character and Social Skills for 2½-Year-Olds
We transmit the values we teach – respect, honesty and fairness – by the way we talk, the behavior we model, the conduct we tolerate, the behavior we encourage, and the expectations we set.
How We Prepare 2½-Year-Olds for the Next Stage of Their Education
We are constantly aware of age-level goals for all areas of development in our program, and we provide both group and individual instruction to prepare them for their next year of Preschool. We practice repetition of academic information and social skills to provide them with a solid foundation and to prepare them for their journey in the world.
How Our 2½-Year-Old Program Supports Whole Child Development and Experiential Education
There’s no substitute for being there, getting your hands dirty, engaging all senses. In addition to our classroom time, our 2½-year-olds go to music class, library, gym, chapel, and take in-house field trips. We incorporate time for art, science, and math in a safe, fun learning environment as we explore all the materials and concepts available to us.
How Our 2½-Year-Old Program Reflects Age-Appropriate Development
By emphasizing play as the way children learn at this age, we are in sync with their developmental level. We believe that learning how to play and get along with others, how to follow instructions, and how to learn about themselves as social people are all important concepts for children this age.