We have noticed that the toddlers are very observant of our day-to-day routines and are eager to show their independence by trying to do things for themselves. We see this right from the moment they step in the centre on their own as they carry their belongings into the classroom. Gray proudly shows us his big smile as he states, “Soap! Wash, wash,” as he goes through the various stages of washing his hands. Iris can put on her own shoes and lends a helping hand to assist her peers as well. Benny, Logan and Gray like helping wash the tables. They will ask for soap and a cloth and begin going from table to table cleaning each one. Benny and James are practicing scraping their plates after they’ve eaten lunch. Children naturally gain independence through repetitive practice and the encouragement from the adults to allow them to try.
To assist with getting dressed in their winter gear, we sing a song to the tune of “Frere Jacques” that helps the toddlers remember each item they need to put on in order.
Snow pants first. Snow pants first
Then comes boots. Then comes boots.
Coat and hat and mittens. Coat and hat and mittens.
Then we'll go outside. Then we'll go outside.
When a child has one item on, we continue to sing the song helping them to remember the next item. They smile and can be heard singing some of the song themselves.
By allowing the children to try and experience success this helps them to feel capable and competent. Some of the examples above are ways we are able to do this. Whenever a child is able to have choices they begin to feel like they have some control over their environment. Taking the time to allow the toddlers to help with things around the classroom or walk a few steps or put their own shoes or boots on, helps them develop a sense of pride in taking care and responsibility for themselves and others.
The skill we are currently working on is tidying up when we are done with our toys. To assist with this task, the educators have taken photos of the toys and used these as labels for each bucket. This way the children can identify which toy goes in each bucket. Labelling the buckets is a way for children to recognize shapes, colours, patterns and textures which will eventually assist them later with math and literacy skills. During tidy up time, you may hear one of us say, “Who can find the Duplo and put them in the bucket?” The labels help the children to quickly identify what is in the bucket and they place the blocks in. This then gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment when they collaborate with the educators on keeping the classroom tidy. This is a task we will continue to practice as the toddlers love playing with their toys.
What ways do you encourage independence in your child? Feel free to share with us by messaging us in the Parent App. We would love to hear about this.