The Twaddler Room is our classroom for ages 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 years.
It may sound and look like chaos from the outside, but once you step into the classroom, you’ll realize quickly that there is so much learning going on!
I am Miss Katie, the lead teacher in the Twaddler Room. I’ve been in this classroom for fifteen years. I often hear comments like, “I don’t know how you do it!” and “Terrible twos? No thank you!” What do you mean terrible?! To me, they are terrific! When it comes to this particular age group, it’s all about introducing the children to new things in a fun and exciting way, challenging their minds, and lots and lots of playing!
Here’s a little glimpse of some of the things you would see on a typical day in the Twaddler Room.
Playing, playing, lots of playing! Children learn through play, so I provide plenty of opportunities throughout the day for free play. During most periods of free play, a teacher will sit on the floor and join in with whatever toys are the hit this time around! We are all learning together!
Books, books, and more books! Knowing the importance of books and reading to young children, and having been in this classroom for so long, my personal collection of books appropriate for the Twaddler age group is pretty substantial. Teachers from all over LLA often come to my “library” to borrow books on certain topics. Books are read during circle times, books are read in small groups, and books are read one on one with any child requesting a book. Certain books become favorites and all it takes to get everybody’s attention is a loud, “Who wants to hear Please, Puppy, Please?” and they all come running, ready to listen. More learning!
Structured activities are just as important! I create weekly lesson plans based on specific topics, and we do many activities throughout the week based on the topic. I plan an assortment of activities, from art to math and even outside activities. In the Twaddler Room, our “activity time” lasts about 30-40 minutes depending on the day, and this is when I learn the most about the children. Are they able to grip a crayon properly? Are they able to match colored popsicle sticks to the matching colored slot? Are they able to lace a shoelace through the holes around the edges of lacing cards? Are they able to follow directions given to the class as a whole? All of these things are important for me to know when it comes time to fill out the required assessments and evaluations that we do at LLA. While they are learning about the world, I am learning about them!
More specifically, during our activities, some type of creative art is always an option! From coloring with crayons or markers to painting with their toes, art is available daily. You will notice all kinds of art displays hanging around the classroom. We do individual art, group art, and occasionally, individual art that ties together into a group art project! The children are never forced to participate in any activity that they don’t want to do. If they don’t want to do art, that’s fine. There are other activities available, and they will learn at any one of them!
Sensory play is a huge part of my classroom, as well. I have a sensory table that Mr. Steve built for us, and it is a hit every time it is opened! There are so many options to put on the table. Some of my favorites are sand, colored rice, ripped paper, candy corn or jelly beans, and water. Of course, I add all kinds of neat extras to the table to make it even more fun! And do you know what happens while playing at the sensory table? You guessed it. Learning!
Meal times are a very important part of our day, as well. With breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks, we always eat meals as a class. Four children per table and one teacher make for a great opportunity to ask questions and hold discussions about life.
If you look more closely, you will see so much more happening! Friendships are being made. Hugs are being given. Potties are being used. Discipline is occurring. Music is being played. Life skills are developing. Smiles are forming. Belly laughs are loud and clear. Learning is nonstop.
If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, it is that a laid-back classroom runs more smoothly than one where you don’t deviate from the plans. If the children aren’t feeling the activities any particular day, I have to come up with something else quickly. If it rains during our outside time, I have to come up with something else quickly. If the children develop a sudden obsession with dinosaurs or robots, then that is what we will learn about. With this age, it is important to keep structure and routine, but also important to be able to go with the flow. Even after 15 years of teaching one and two-year-olds, it never gets old when I see that lightbulb go off in their heads when they suddenly understand a new concept or when a child becomes successfully potty trained or even when I walk into the room in the morning and a child says, “Miss Katie is here!” with a smile on his face. These little toddlers are constantly learning in my classroom, and so am I.
Check out the Facebook page for videos of some of the fun and exciting things we have done in the Twaddler room!