Two’s Programs

There is so much growth and change for our  “almost” two year old toddlers, young twos and older twos. At this age, children develop very quickly in all areas: language, physical abilities, emotional control and cognitive awareness. It is a frustrating experience for a young two to have to keep up with someone six or seven months older. To help alleviate some of this frustration, we have three separate programs: Children who in September are 18 mos. to 2 years old (Seedlings class),  2 – 2 1/2 years old (Sprouts class), and 2 1/2 to 3 years old (Maples class).

Our Seedlings are just beginning to see the world as slightly separate from themselves. They are more tolerant of others sharing their space, but are still fairly territorial. At this age quiet “watching” is prevalent and important. Our youngest Growing Tree children take cues from others in their surroundings and this helps them to test and explore on their own.

The children are exposed to new faces, new voices and new spaces. Being able to assimilate these new experiences allows them to relax enough to begin to try new things and once they get into the rhythm of learning there is no stopping them.

Language abilities for our youngest children also cover a wide spectrum. While some are using sentences rather than single words, complex language is still not their comfortable method of communication: pointing, simple words, and frustrated actions are primarily used. Cognitively, our Seedlings know much more than they can express, that is why non-verbal activities such as matching colors and shapes, and playing ‘hide n seek’ with various objects is much easier for them, Their receptive language is far more developed than their verbal language.

Our Sprouts are taking in more and more new information and sometimes all the stimulation is overwhelming. When  these two year olds reach over-load, they simply fall apart in often very dramatic ways. However, once they calm down, the quest for more interesting bits of the world reasserts itself.

Our Maples can be quite tolerant of others, but they can also decide on a whim to commandeer all the space around them as their own. With verbal language still developing, confrontations of this kind usually end in tears. However, the children are now aware that language is expected and understood by adults and peers; this awareness leads them to experiment more and more with words.

With the expansion of vocabulary and language skills, both receptive and verbal, older twos can engage in a greater variety of learning styles. Matching shapes moves into naming shapes, colors can now be named and often can be related to familiar objects.

For all of our twos, social skills can be best described as survival skills. With personal space extending and shrinking with no warning, possessions shared one day and hoarded the next, vying for all the attention . . . it is a precarious place to be! However, as communication skills develop, so does the ability to socialize more comfortably and the need to dominate everything lessens.

Two’s classrooms are set up to encourage interaction with teachers, the other children and the materials. Colors, shapes, numbers and letters cover the walls and circle time, cognitive time and art time offer opportunities for discussion and creativity. Participation in circle time in the twos’ classes is expected; and it not only includes songs and stories, but it is a time to introduce new concepts and to encourage the children to express their thoughts and ideas.

The primary goal for our twos is to encourage and assist them in the process of self discovery. To help them step out of their personal worlds and to encourage more sophisticated socialization and communication skills, and perhaps primarily, to cushion them as they explore in the typically frenetic way of the almost three.