Snakes, turtles and insects abound in Toddler classrooms this month
Already the middle of May, you’re certainly curious of the themes of this last month of the school year.
May began with snakes and turtles, and some lingering frogs and lizards to match and sort, from the end of April. We didn’t have real frogs, snakes or turtles in our classroom, however, we had lizards a-plenty around the playground bring some excitement to our days in the toddler group.
Near the end of April, we also offered two desert scenes, one laminated onto a magnetic board with magnetized pictures of desert animals to tack onto the scene, and small vinyl representations to place onto a pile of kinetic sand that you can shape into small heaps and valleys; a treat on its own.
On the back deck, we’ve been making bubbles and water-scooping plastic frogs, which now make way for floating flowers and the irresistible sink-and- float activity in which you drop items in the tall gallon jar.
The theme is changing to “all about insects.” On the shelves, a multitude of insect activities are enticing new explorations. Objects to match and sort, of all kinds of insects, and last week teeny tiny caterpillars arrived in the mail. The toddlers have been carrying them around in the bug box to view. They are getting big and soon will turn into chrysalides. We look forward to be able to release butterflies into the back yard near the last day of school.
I consider it a privilege to work with this particular age group, in which feelings of opposition first pop up in a child’s life as they become more aware of their ability to practice autonomy, become more and more independent, exercise their will and develop their personality. The drive behind this can create many challenges, but I love the quest of the toddler, and I am greatly intrigued by their inner life, their willingness to trust if you prove worthy (give space and time; are predictable; treat them with respect; not to judge but seek to understand them; bring good cheer and motivate them in the direction of what needs to happen), and their always honest verbal and non-verbal responses.
I am thankful for all our collaborations during the unfolding of each school year, doing our best to ensure that the children will grow and advance toward their full potential, not just in learning math and language, but, as Maria Montessori says, “the development of the child’s whole personality.”