If you’ve read our post about how to get started with tot school then you are eager and ready to provide meaningful learning experiences for your toddler! Tot school planning shouldn’t be complex or complicated. Here we’ll give you suggestions for how to start planning your time and materials.
How to Schedule a Tot School
Tot School Theme Planning
- It may be helpful to plan what materials and activities you introduce according to a theme. For example, you might present opportunities to learn about pumpkins in October or gardening in April. Take into consideration what seems to interest your child. But also consider that like everyone, toddlers are always evolving and interests may change day to day.
Toddler’s Developmental Stage
- Think about what your child is able to do, what challenges them and what they are working toward. Keep in mind that toddlers develop at different rates. Present material and activities that provide opportunities for success, present a small challenge and won’t become frustrating.
- Consider the developmental areas of cognition, language and literacy, sensory, social and emotional and motor skills.
Materials to Use in Tot School
- Provide a variety of materials for each of the developmental areas. Rotate a few things out each week to keep curiosity engaged. Some examples include:
- Fine motor: stringing beads, puzzles
- Cognition: materials to introduce shapes, numbers, colors and other concepts
- Literacy: take your theme into consideration and provide a supply of related books from the library
- Dramatic play: dress-up clothes, puppets, dolls
- Art: markers, crayons, paints, paper, glue
The majority of tot school time should be devoted to free play exploration. Some materials may require a demonstration and some assistance. But the most learning will occur when toddlers are given time to freely explore and play. Most of the planning will be used for what materials to introduce and when. Some time each week will also be dedicated to more structured activities you can do together.
- Plan a cooking activity
- Sing songs or finger plays or dance together with instruments
- Read aloud
- Take a field trip
So now you’re ready to dive into planning. Remember to be flexible and ready to adapt to rapidly changing needs and interests. Listen and observe how your toddler interacts with what you provide and adjust your plans accordingly. Most importantly, have fun!
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!