Is tot school right for your family? Well, if you have a toddler between 10 months and 3 years old then the answer is most definitely yes! But what is tot schooling?
The book Every Parent Can Teach Their Toddler refers to tot schooling as “the means of raising a curious and hungry-to-learn child. It is exposing our toddlers to the world around them including diversity, multiculturalism, bilingualism, and simple every day practical life…It is part of parenting with a purpose…”
Parents are their children’s first and most important teachers. So if you’re wondering how to get started becoming more purposeful with the time spent with your toddler or you’re looking for new ideas the next few posts will take you through the why and how of tot school.
What are the Benefits of Tot Schooling?
Toddlers are curious and eager to learn. Little minds take in information at a rapid pace in the early childhood years. By providing meaningful experiences to explore their surroundings through their senses parents are shaping the way toddlers perceive themselves and the world around them.
Tot school doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. If we model appropriately and include our toddlers in daily routines they become valuable learning lessons. And to present a purposeful learn through play experience only takes a little planning and preparation and can often include items already in the household.
Tot school will be fun for everyone because playing is learning. Once the daily tasks have been mastered play, activities and crafts become part of the learning process. Activities and a designated place to play can easily be integrated into the daily routine to spark creativity and imagination.
Making connections, learning new skills and gaining self-confidence are the major benefits of providing a tot school experience.
Getting Started with the Tot School
- Set aside time each week to decide what materials or activities you would like to introduce.
- Have a plan but be flexible. Keep in mind that toddlers are unpredictable. Don’t stress if an activity doesn’t go as planned or needs to be postponed.
- Consider daily activities like diaper changes, meal times and naps and choose a time for activities around routines during a time when your toddler is rested and well-fed.
- Limit transitions and allow for uninterrupted play time.
- Keep in mind the developmental areas like cognitive skills, sensory, literacy, dramatic play and fine and gross motor and plan something for each area each week.
Every Parent Can Teach Their Toddler states, “Tot school should be about getting dirty, having adventures, and having no boundaries. Play is a non-threatening way to learn and completely exploratory; it indicates there is no danger and a child may explore freely and creatively.” Hopefully, this post has gotten you interested and feeling like tot school is right for you and your little one. We’ll soon go into more detail about ideas to get you started.
Amy is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom and writer. She loves sharing what she knows about family, play and early learning. When she’s not at her computer you can find her spending family time, organizing or decorating her home, reading a good self-help book or pretending she knows how to cook but she usually leaves that to her awesome husband!