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Toddlers: A surprise circle time activity

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Remembering and retaining information – especially about specific events – and imitating peers and adults around them are a few milestones and marks of developmental assessment for two year old children. This goes along with peer relations and social readiness for preschool.

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A local child development center has three groups of toddlers in their room with three teachers – this allows for small groups and more child centered care, learning and transition. The day is filled with a lot of switching and transition – because toddlers are busy and attention span is short and length develops over time. The day is filled with snack, clean up, trips to the potty, outside, transitions, gross motor, arts/crafts, fine motor activities and circle and story time. That seems like a lot in two hours – but it is all part of the skills based curriculum for preschool and kindergarten readiness.

Last week as the teacher was in the midst of a busy transition, she was about to have the children in blocks clean up and move to the circle time mat (which happens to be a square-checkered rainbow mat) and one of the children said, “Hey, I’m making a circle time mat. It’s circle time.” This was followed by three more, “Me toos”; She watched as the group of two year olds constructed their own circle time mats out of waffle blocks and toy people. They sang circle time songs and imitated the teacher as she goes through circle time routines. It was a great assessment tool and insight into how much the children remembered and retained about their day. It was also a great time to see how the children shared materials and began the merge into cooperative playtime vs. parallel playtime.

Assessment can be challenging especially at the early ages. What kinds of assessments and tools do you use for your classroom? What surprises do your students come up with that makes you realize they are learning more than you may think?