Our Toddler program is marked by the rapid development of children who are now able to walk, feed themselves, drink from a cup, sleep on a cot/mat, and say real words. It is the task of the teachers in these rooms to help facilitate these natural developments and interests with opportunities for safe exploration. Children will work into regular eating, changing and sleeping schedules. Children will give up bottles and pacifiers and will even learn to use the potty. Communication with parents remains important as we keep them informed of the almost daily changes that occur. Language development, large and fine motor development and self help skills (including potty training) are the important elements in our day. Teachers will model good language (baby talk will be avoided) constantly for the children and will encourage all attempts at communication. Finger plays, songs, stories, puppets, and books are all important in developing emerging motor skills. Toddlers have the opportunities to run, jump, walk, and tumble, inside and outside. Toddlers will be presented the opportunity to hold a spoon,, stack blocks, and pick up small objects throughout their daily activities. Potty training is a very important step which is part of the older toddler program. Potty training is done only when parents and teachers agree that the child is ready and only when the parents and teachers are willing to make a cooperative and intensive effort. Children are introduced to the potty, and given the opportunity to use the potty. They are then encouraged to use the potty at regular intervals, praised for success, and never ridiculed for accidents. Most children are ready for potty training by 2 1/2 years of age. In many ways, toddlers still have characteristics of infants. Toddlers will still need to be changed, may need to be fed, may cry and bite. They will put toys in their mouths. We will continue to adhere to the safety and health practices of the infant environment while encouraging developing skills and interests.