Our 18-month olds are typically in a class with two teachers and up to eight children. They have the option of attending school three days a week or five days a week and of staying at school from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM or from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Early care is also available from 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM and after care is available from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM.
Each day we serve lunch that’s been made in our kitchen and two snacks.
The 18-month program is about creating a loving, enriching environment that allows these little ones to thrive. This means learning who each child is and what each needs to feel secure - whether it’s a cozy lap to snuggle in, the freedom to move, toys for pretend play or toys for building. Each child is different and we provide the specific experience they need to grow.
Our day is filled with art and music. One day the children will paint with apple slices, the next with q-tips and the next with cotton balls. We switch out the materials frequently in order to expose them to many different sensory experiences. The children think this is just plain fun, but it’s also helping them hone their fine motor skills and letting them explore colors and textures.
Everyday, the children gather in a circle and sing songs. In the fall, we may only be able to do one or two songs before they need to get up and move, but by the end of the year they are singing multiple songs and clapping, using instruments or waving silk scarves as they sing. They’ve learned to love the singing time as an opportunity for the class to come together with joy. And, without any fuss, we’ve laid a foundation for next year’s more formal circle time. Even more importantly, the singing helps them develop their vocabularies.
We’ve found that the children in the 18-month class develop strong friendships that last throughout their entire preschool experience. They play together. They ask about each other when someone is away. They care for each other and give each other ‘hello’, ‘good-bye’ and “just because” hugs. They love each other. This is often their first experience with friendship and it makes a deep impact.
Most of the children who start are program are just beginning to talk, but during the course of the year many of them go through a period of ‘language explosion” and by the spring they are talking non-stop, practicing their new power.
Studies have shown that two-way dialogue is the best method for developing language. We keep our child:teacher ratio intentionally low in order to create the time and space for this type of one-on-one interaction. It allows us to follow their interests and encourage them to tell us all about it. When a child is interested in a dump truck, we might sit with her on the floor and ask about it, “What does the dump truck do?”, “Have you seen one before?”, What noise did it make?”, “What color is this dump truck? Do you think all dump trucks are yellow?”
Through these short and frequent conversations language grows. Just as importantly, their curiosity and understanding of the world grows.
Social & Emotional Development
Build an understanding of directionality and position in space
Integrate body movement with senses
Name, locate and understand relationships of body parts
Develop strength and endurance
Put on and take off own sweater or coat
Coordinate hand/eye movements
Explore manipulative toys
Strengthen hand grasp and use hands in many positions
Literacy & Language Development
Demonstrate the concept of rhyming
Understand simple sentences
Use newly learned vocabulary
Identify a variety of objects through receptive language
Tell simple personal narratives
Enjoy being read to, and hearing stories
Follow simple directions
Name actual or pictured objects
Attend to story telling
Assemble simple puzzles
Continually grow in observations of the world around us
Recognize primary colors
Begin to understand big and small
Develop the five senses
Create original artwork
Participate in classroom music activities
Use language as part of dramatic play
“Make believe” with objects
Express feelings through movement
Reproduce or create sound patterns
Health & Safety
Practice routine healthy behaviors with use of napkins and hand washing
Experience healthy foods in all snacks and lunches