Toddler Newsletter January/February 2012

Welcome back from Winter Break!  We hope everyone enjoyed their time together as a family.  We are excited to see the children back at school!  Thank you to all the parents who came into our classroom during the month of December to share holiday traditions and projects with the children.


The main goals of the Toddler environment are to help the children develop the skills to function independently, to allow them to explore the environment and manipulate the objects in the environment freely, to assist them in their rapid language development, and to introduce them to methods of developing their minds and bodies.  The classroom has activities meant to stimulate all areas of development:  social, emotional, cognitive, physical and language.  The children are allowed the freedom to choose activities based on their own interests, and to master those activities at their own pace.  The freedom to choose is tempered by the three basic rules of the environment that will be beneficial for a lifetime —  respect of self, respect for others, and respect for the environment.


WELCOME!!  We have some new kiddos to welcome in our classroom!  In the morning, welcome to Ellis (Elle) Shaw, Adelaide (Addie) West and William Oxenreider.  Elle and William are joining our morning 2 day program.  Addie will be joining our morning 5 day program.  Also, Owen Baumgartner moved from the afternoon program to the 3 days morning program.

In the afternoon we would like to welcome Jaylen Jackson (2 days) and Van Bouc (3 days).  We would love to have parents come visit in the classroom to just hang out, or to come in and do projects.  BUT, because of the new children, we would like to wait for about 4 weeks until they get more comfortable, to have parents come visit.


We would love more playdoh!  We are also going to make some in our classroom…but really, we can never have enough, as we try to change the playdoh out every week.



BIRTHDAYS!  Happy Birthday…

Elie Hayes                   January 4                     Owen Baumgartner                 January 7

Fisher Vinton              January 16                   Callan Williams                       January 31

Charlotte Rutkowski   February 5                  Beau Rutkowski                     February 5

Waitman Johnson        February 11             Caeden Reinhard                    February 27


THANK YOU:  Thank you to Elie Hayes for the book “Birthday Box” in honor of her birthday.  Thank you to Quinn Sherry for the diapers and the book, “You Be You.”  Thank you to Jaala Sheldon for coming in to make snowglobes with the children.  Thank you to Brooke Borgen for doing the reindeer project.  Thank you to Anika and Travis Williams for doing the plate making project with the children and for the coffee and treats.  Thank you to James Williams for the homemade goodies for the teachers.


Our culture today results in family lives that are incredibly busy and children’s schedules that are filled with organized activities.  With the holidays behind us, we thought this would be a good opportunity to remind parents of the importance of spending unstructured, fun time with their children.  Your time and undivided attention is the best gift you can give your child.  Stanley Greenspan, Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics and George Washington University Medical School, has coined an activity called “Floor Time”.  We’ve summarized this approach in hopes that it will provide inspiration for spending this kind of time with your child in the New Year.


Floor time is a special time that you set aside for yourself and your child.  During this period, play is an unstructured, spontaneous activity where you get down on the floor with your child and try to follow his or her lead.  Your initial goal is to tune in to whatever motivates or is of interest to your child.  It is something that you do for short periods of time with the goal of fostering emotional connectedness, increasing focus and attention, and facilitating language and motor development.  It is similar to “just playing” in that the interactions should be fun and interactive, however, it is different in that the adult must follow the child’s lead and expand on his/her activities and interests in order to achieve the desired developmental results.  Your child is the leader, and you are the active partner, always trying to expand the activity or thought process further than s/he would on his/her own, but without taking charge.


General Guidelines:

  • Pick an undisturbed quiet area, free from distractions such as TV, cell phones, other children, pets
  • Let your child choose which toys they are interested in.  Building materials, manipulatives, imaginative toys (trucks, dolls) work best.  Reading a book together is fine as long as it is an interactive rather than a passive process.
  • Tell your child that this is their special time to spend individually with you.  If your child refuses your offer, don’t argue or push.  Offer again the next day, trying to entice him/her with your positive energy and excitement.
  • Stop Floor Time if it becomes negative or unpleasant.


As you are playing with your child during Floor Time, keep in mind the developmental results you are focused on.  If your child needs to further develop their language, make sure that language is a big part of what you focus on during Floor Time.  If your child needs to develop social competence, make sure that turn taking is a part of what you work on.  If you are focusing on improving difficult behavior, make sure you are encouraging the appropriate behaviors that your child is demonstrating during Floor Time, rather than giving attention to the difficult behaviors.


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