Early childhood education is what we know best at Westwood Children’s School. Children at this age learn most effectively in an environment with a balance of fun, exploratory play, and an introduction to letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. We offer two Toddler classes for children ages 15 months to 2.9 years:
- Toddler 1: Younger group
- Toddler 2: Older group
- Ratio: Toddler to Caregiver: 9/2
Hours and Schedule Options:
- Full year program
- Open Monday-Friday 7 am – 6 pm
- School closings:
- Closed approx. 12 days per year and 1 week during the summer
- Severe weather: we make every attempt to open to accommodate working parents but will, if necessary, open late, close early, or as a last resort close for the whole day.
- Schedule Options for Your Toddler:
- Full Day: 7 am – 6 pm
- Early Pick-Up: 7 am – 3:30 pm
- Mid-Day: 9 am – 3:30 pm
- Toddlers are encouraged to attend at least 2 days per week.
Curriculum for our Toddler Program:
With our focus on your child’s learning level, our teaching staff helps your child build beginning skills that will set them up for a love of learning. Our classrooms feature:
Your child will have books around them during the day to explore on their own or with an adult. We also have quarterly visits from the librarian from the Westwood Public Library. Looking at books and listening to stories helps your child:
- Develop Beginning Reading Skills: Your child will begin to notice that print goes from left to right and top to bottom, that pictures often tell a story, and that the story stays the same as it’s read over and over again.
- Build Listening, Paying Attention, Sequencing and Thinking Skills
- Learn New Vocabulary and start to understand the style of written English through listening to stories.
- Learn About Storytelling Skills: When teachers read to your child, over time they learn how a story is put together, and how using inflection in your voice changes and punctuates a story, developing a love of books and reading.
Science & Math
Your child will explore materials and interact with them on their own or in small groups. These beginning science and math activities provide skill-building for your child.
- Develop Math Skills: Activities include counting and sorting by shape and size (e.g. counting shells, sorting leaves by size and shape, classifying rocks by type).
- Develop Critical Thinking Skills: Teachers provide names of items and ask questions, such as “How are these alike?” “Different?” “Is this bigger?” “Smaller?”
- Build Confidence and Interest in Learning: Your child’s interest grows as they think about everyday items in new ways and have successful interactions with their teacher and other children.
- Learn with Monthly Learning Themes: Your child will have an organized way to learn about our world, the animals we share it with, and the way things work.
- Explore Animal Science: Your toddler will explore nature and learn about the animal kingdom through weekly visits with Matthew Coughlin, affectionately known to the children as Mr. Matt.
- Exposure to Foreign Language from the Beginning: studies show that from birth, children can learn foreign languages. Exposing your Toddler to foreign language through sound and non-verbal cues is a key component of our program.
- American Sign Language (ASL): a specialist educator visits our Toddlers to expose them to the non-verbal cues of ASL – which also fosters the development of fine motor skills.
- Spanish Exposure: through stories and simple words, your Toddler will become familiar with the basic sounds of Spanish.
Social Emotional Learning
Through daily interactions and nurturing relationships, your child learns to:
- Explore and Follow Their Interests: Toddlers will begin to make their own choices during “free play” and join in an activity that is of interest to them.
- Share and Problem Solve: Being with a group of children their own age, your toddler will begin to learn the concept of sharing. With the staff to guide them, they will learn simple problem solving techniques.
- Build Trust and Self-Confidence: Toddlers thrive in a warm, nurturing environment, where they can trust their caregivers, and when all their needs are met, they are free to learn.
- Put Words to Emotions: Toddlers will learn that words match their feelings. “I’m happy”, “sad”, “excited”, etc.
Art: Your child will have free access to art materials, which allows them to make choices, interact with a variety of materials, and learn to be thinking and creative. Here’s how:
- The process of working with the materials is more important than what the children actually make
- Making choices and experimenting: your child chooses which paper and paint colors to use as they experiment with how to apply them
- Developing vocabulary: your child learns how to describe what they are doing with words such as soft, hard, squishy, smooth, rough, striped and checkered.
Music: Your child will sing and learn musical “action songs” – learning to express themselves through movement and music sets the stage for music as a creative outlet.
- Our music specialist, Hugh Hanley, visits the toddler classroom once a month to sing songs and teach your child about rhythm and making music.
- Developing vocabulary: as with art activities, your child learns how to describe sound and movement.
Fine & Gross Motor Development
- Fine motor development: Playing with small toys and blocks at tables or on the floor has always been a staple of learning for young children. The controlled movements of the hands helps children build and master the muscles needed later for writing.
- Gross motor development: Fun games and activities that allow your child to move, run, dance and play strengthen gross motor skills. Whether your child is lifting, dropping, bouncing, or hiding – when they are moving, they are learning to coordinate all the muscles in their bodies.
- Yoga with Sandra Dennis – two times per month.
We respect each child as an individual, knowing that they learn and develop along their own timeline. As education professionals, our teachers are well-versed in child development and supporting children’s individual learning goals.
- Assessment Tool:We are proud to use Teaching Strategies Gold at Westwood Children’s School. This research and evidence-based assessment tool provides a thorough look at each child’s current development and allows teachers and parents to work together to set goals for future learning.
- Ongoing Observation: Teachers make observations throughout their day to track children’s progress over time. These daily observations become a digital portfolio of your child’s learning. You are invited in for parent-teacher conferences three times a year to set goals and review progress. In addition, we encourage you to talk to us at any time – we want to build an active partnership with you throughout the year.