Updated: Jul 7, 2022
It is imperative to children that both the home and school environments work together. Although this guide is written with students who attend New Leaf Preschool in mind it can apply to any child in the 2 year- 3 year age range and work as a great structure to assist them in developmentally appropriate activities.
At New Leaf Preschool we do not allow students access to screens at all under the age of three, and allow only extremely limited screen exposure to students over three only when crucial content cannot be provided in a different manner such as typing. We believe there are many important tangible things that students should be learning about both at home and in their school environment and screen time limits this time. In a research article published in the Journal of Educational and Social Research titled “Four Ways Technology Has Negatively Changed Education”, the research is clear. The abstract concludes “Relevant research has proven that technology could change education negatively through four paths:
deteriorating students' competences of reading and writing
dehumanizing educational environments
distorting social interactions between teachers and students
isolating individuals when using technology."
Physical experiences develop different neural pathways than those that are developed by looking at material on a screen allowing children to better retain knowledge. We will place an emphasis on the use of hands-on learning over digital learning as our methodology is based on physical materials.
We require that families limit and monitor screen time for children at home so that they can thrive in our school environment. Children should not be watching violence or things that are not age appropriate, and should use their time engaged in playing outdoors, helping around the home and engaged with family members and engaged in screen-free hands-on experiences as much as possible.
When children imply their needs at home in a non-verbal manner encourage your child to repeat their needs using words. Sign language is a great way to bridge the gap until your child can rely on their speech alone. Always be sure to have your child try and vocalize the word by repeating after you. In the Toddler Classroom we focus on using words to express and distinguish our emotions, practice introducing ourselves to others, having general conversations & using manners.
Practical Life- Dressing
We should be assisting our children to get dressed only when necessary. In our classroom we encourage children to put on their own clothing including shoes, coats, and gloves.
Practical Life- Meal Skills
In our Toddler classroom students are expected to set the table using Montessori placemats as their guide, serve themselves family style, use manners, ask to be excused and clear their spot at the table every day! At home you can encourage your child to clear their spot too by having them carry their dishes & utensils to the sink or a designated location! Meal time is also a great opportunity to work on language skills and using manners.
Practical Life- Using Cutlery
We encourage students to use proper utensils when eating at the table as a great way to master some of their small motor skills and table etiquette. At home please be sure to offer child sized utensils with meals to give them this opportunity. Children also continue drinking with an open cup, pouring milk from a child sized pitcher and filling their own water bottles at the sink. These are all skills that your child would be proud to show you at home too!
Practical Life- Toileting
We ask that all students sit on the toilet at each diaper change when they enter the Toddler classroom (or as often as they indicate they need to use the restroom). Children are expected to have 5 changes of clothes and 5 pairs of training underwear at school at all times. Your child’s teacher will keep in close communication as to when your child will begin using their underwear at school. We feel it is very important to fully dive in and start the new process once your child shows signs of readiness such as dry diapers/pull-ups, indicating the need to use the toilet, or going on the toilet. Prepare your child and help them feel in control of this new change by allowing them to help pick out their new underwear and handle toileting at home in a consistent manner! Pleas refer to our Toilet Training article for additional information on how we approach Toilet Training.
We set clear boundaries/limits within our classroom and students are expected to work within these limits to keep your child and their classmates safe. Limits include keeping hands to ourselves, using walking feet, no throwing & keeping our feet on the floor (not climbing on tables or other classroom furniture). Setting clear limits at home can help your child to work/learn in a more successful manner.
You will notice your child coming home with a wide range of new knowledge! Below are some of the key focus areas in the Toddler Classroom. Please help us at home by acknowledging your child’s new acquired skills!
Concentrating on a task & working independently
Using art materials to develop fine motor skills including: colored pencils, markers, paint, scissors, glue bottles, & glue sticks
Animals and their sounds
Seasons & Weather
Parents play a very important role in establishing healthy separation routines. Parents may NOT “sneak out” as it is important children to fully understand what is going on and be able to express their emotions. Leaving without saying goodbye to your child will also cause them to fear any possibility of unexpected departure, and does not support the trust that you are trying to build with your child. It is also important to establish a routine with a clear goodbye to help your child to understand what to expect and become comfortable with saying good- bye.
Pacifiers are not allowed as comfort items in this classroom. We highly encourage that pacifiers are not used at home, or limited to napping & sleeping time. We will assist students in weaning off the use of a pacifier within the Emergent Toddler classroom in a respectful and comforting manner to each individual child.