Toddler Program and Curriculum
The toddler program at the Temple Shalom Nursery School consists of two classrooms: Dubonim Kacholim (Blue Bears) and Dubonim Lavanim (White Bears). Each classroom has two teachers and a floating assistant. Each has nine children, who range in age from 18 months to 2.9 years old.
The classrooms are cozy, warm and welcoming and are designed to encourage engagement, inquiry, experimentation, communication and social interaction. At TSNS, teachers understand that children who are comfortable and confident in their environments are better able to develop the critical thinking skills needed to become lifelong learners. We strive to implement the latest research in child development and best educational practices into our work. A thoughtful curriculum promotes children’s emotional development, social, cognitive and language abilities, fine and gross motor skills, as well as self confidence and independence.
A child’s first school experience can be very exciting, with a new environment and people, and many new activities and materials. For some children, a gentle beginning of a two-day or three-day week is just right, while for others, a five-day week suits best.
What do the Dubonim do at school each day? Lots of Learning Through Lots of Play! Toddlers start their day with a warm greeting from their teachers and enter an environment of carefully planned activities and play areas. The classroom is designed as a “Yes, I can!” environment, in which children can choose for themselves what areas they would like to play in and which materials to use. Teachers combine familiar play with new materials, which simultaneously offers comfort and ignites children's interest and engagement. This approach eases the morning transition into the classroom and helps children to say goodbye to their parents or caregivers at drop off. During the morning explorations in the classroom, toddlers and teachers develop a close bond while playing, conversing, or reading books together. Teachers take part in children's pursuits and observe closely to help determine what activities would best extend and expand children’s future explorations.
At the end of Morning Exploration, teachers gently prepare the children for the transition from play to snack, with phrases such as, “Let’s have a last turn and then we can clean up for snack.” Helping to put away the toys and tidy up the classroom helps children develop a sense of ownership, responsibility and belonging. Next, we wash hands for a healthy snack. As good nutrition is extremely important for learning, concentration and emotional comfort, our snacks feature fruits, vegetables and healthy sources of protein (cheese, organic yogurt or legumes). After snack, we are off to our outdoor classroom for some messy and exciting fun!
Outdoor activities are designed to promote the development of foundational skills. While digging, scooping, planting, making mud pies, running, climbing, working with tools and building with various natural materials, children learn math reasoning, critical thinking, communication, language skills, as well as developing their strength, agility and their friendships.