A Day in the Life of a Toddler at the ELC

The Early Learning Center at Everett Community College recognizes young children learn best through play. We follow an emergent curriculum focused on child-initiated interests and play-based learning. Social and emotional development is promoted throughout the day and is the primary focus in the toddler classrooms. Group size is limited to twelve children in a classroom with a ratio of one teacher for every four toddlers. Families are a child’s first and most important teacher and are always welcome and encouraged to spend time in our toddler classrooms. 

7:15 a.m. - Classrooms open
Multiple child-initiated activities and free play are open at this time to engage arriving children. Water tables for pouring or washing baby dolls, play dough for molding and shaping, watching birds through the window at the birdfeeders or cooking with pretend food in the housekeeping area are favorite free play choices for children at this time. Teachers welcome families as they arrive. Teachers and families work in partnership and share information and anecdotes to support children’s learning and development. Children are guided and assisted to wash hands upon arriving by the adult dropping them off.

8:00 to 8:30 a.m. - Breakfast is served
We are lucky to have Ms. Gay, our amazing cook prepare truly delicious and nutritious homemade meals for us. Pancakes with blueberry sauce and banana muffins are two breakfast favorites. Families are welcome to join the classroom for meals to assist children and model table manners. Children are encouraged to serve themselves and to say, “Please” and “Thank-you.” Meals are served family style and adults sit with children to promote language development and polite conversation.

8:30 to 10:00 a.m. - Multiple child-initiated play and planned learning experiences are offered 
Teachers promote problem solving skills and help children build a feelings vocabulary. Children are encouraged to use words and to label and express feelings when interacting with peers and teachers. Painting, magnets, light exploration, cooking projects and gardening are all small group activities that may be offered at this time to help develop fine motor skills and promote science learning. Reading is a favorite choice that promotes language development. Drawing, painting, play dough, and stickers are favorite activities offered that help children develop their fine motor skills.

Children may visit the Active Room or outside play yards for running and climbing, toddler yoga, music and movement, and other gross motor activities. Each day is different! Teachers develop an intentional curriculum based on their observations of children’s development and interests while remaining flexible and responsive. Diapering and toileting begins at 9:00 AM or as needed and is repeated every two hours.

10:00 a.m. - Morning snack is served
Children are asked to help put toys away, wash hands and sit at the table. Ms. Gay prepares a wide variety of healthy children’s snack favorites such as bananas, fruit smoothies, cinnamon pitas, applesauce and milk. Teachers and children may sing as a group or engage in conversation. Teachers use rich language and ask open-ended questions in conversation with toddlers to promote language development and critical thinking skills. 

After snack to 11:30 AM - toddlers usually visit one of our outdoor play areas (weather permitting) 
Exploring the natural world of bugs, birds and trees, riding trikes and in toy cars are favorite activities at this time. Children may choose to dig and build in the sandbox. Children are asked to help pick up and put away toys before going inside.

11:30 a.m. - Lunch is served 
Children coming in from outside put their coats away, wash their hands and then sit at the table. Teachers may sing a song. During lunch, teachers talk with children about their shared morning experiences and encourage age-appropriate expectations for serving and eating in a family-style group. After they finish eating lunch, children clear their setting and wash their hands.

Noon to 3:00 p.m. Children are diapered or use the toilet and then offered a rest period
Teachers offer to pat backs and help children to calm their bodies and rest. Children who do not sleep after resting on their cots for 45 minutes are offered books, drawing materials and other quiet activities.

2:30 p.m. or as children wake up from napping - Afternoon snack is served 
Fruits and milk, crackers and juice, or vegetables and hummus are typical afternoon snacks.

3:00 to 5:15 p.m. - Children may revisit morning activities to expand on their learning experiences
Weather permitting, outdoor play and nature exploration are encouraged as afternoon activities. Children from several classrooms may combine at this time providing the opportunity to interact with different friends and teachers. Families picking up their child may decide to play in the sandbox, look for worms or blow bubbles outside before leaving for the day. Or if we are inside, children often ask to sit and read a favorite book or share what they painted or drew that day. Teachers share information about the children’s day and learning experience and children say ‘Good-Bye’ to their teachers and friends.