The ages of 12 to 24 months bring about a flurry of activity, movement, language, and initial steps of independence as young toddlers continue their growth and learning. Everything is new and exciting, or a bit challenging and frustrating to toddlers. As Little Duckling teaches young toddlers, the “Learning Beyond Paper” curriculum helps by including practical, concrete learning opportunities for young toddlers while giving the teacher the knowledge to know if each child is at their developmental level, requires more opportunities for practice and encouragement, and how a single activity can meet the needs of many young toddlers when teacher expectations are consistent with the child’s age. Learning Beyond focuses on building practical skills, language, social, and emotional learning – all with relationship-focused teaching and care at the heart.

Older toddlers

“I’m 2 now!” From 24 to 36 months, older toddlers show more and more independence when they have opportunities to do things for themselves and have logical consequences. Older toddlers are learning from their behaviors and choices, trying lots of new things, getting messy, and learning how to clean up. The “I” is strong with older toddlers as they begin friendships, strengthen relationships with teachers and other important adults, learn how to talk and communicate in more sophisticated ways, and have many chances to try experiences and activities under the supportive connection with their teachers! Learning Beyond helps educators focus on scaffolding children’s learning, teacher interactions and ways to build children’s knowledge, and giving children choices and options to empower them.

Curriculum goals & objectives

Cognitive and language skills

  • Demonstrate continual growth in understanding increasingly complex and varied vocabulary

  • Respond to simple statements, requests, and/or gestures

  • Use gestures to clarify communication 

  • Use single words or simple phrases

  • Demonstrate intent of communicating with others

  • Distinguish words from pictures

  • Engage in word and sound play with adults

  • Distinguish between words that contain similar-sounding phonemes 

  • Bring a book to a caregiver to read

  • Look at books independently 

  • Pretend to read familiar books

  • Attend to pictures and text for several minutes

  • Show preference for familiar stores

  • Respond to simple questions about a story with adult support

  • Explore drawing, painting, and writing as a way of communicating

  • Imitate drawing marks or scribbling

Math skills

  • Imitate verbal counting sequence

  • Line up or organize objects

  • Identify numerals as different from letters or other symbols

  • Identify which is more

  • Develop the concepts of more and less

  • Give “all’ objects when asked

  • Separate a whole quantify of something into parts  

  • Take away objects or combine groups when asked

  • Attend to a new object in a group of objects

  • Follow along and imitate patterns of sounds and movement

  • Clap or move to a beat

  • Identify attributes of objects with adult support

  • Combine shapes to make new shapes

  • Hide behind or between objects for play

  • Match identical shapes

  • Follow a daily schedule      

  • Use basic measurement words or gestures to express measurable attributes such as big/little, hot/cold  

Social & emotional skills

  • Identify image of self

  • Say own name

  • Show knowledge of own abilities

  • Communicate feelings and emotions

  • Express emotion toward a familiar person

  • Imitate comforting behaviors of caregivers

  • Use sounds, gestures, and actions to express feelings

  • Follow simple routines with adult support

  • Self-soothe with minimal adult support

  • Demonstrate the beginnings of impulse control with adult support

  • Imitate how others solve conflicts

  • Experiment with trial and error approaches to solve simple problems and conflicts

  • Use social referencing when encountering new experiences

  • Observe friendship skills in the environments

Approaches to play & learning

  • Show interest in what others are doing

  • Select desired objects from several options

  • Show curiosity/interest in new objects, experiences, and people

  • Ask questions about familiar objects, people, and experiences

  • Explore and manipulate familiar objects in the environment

  • Use objects for real or imagined purposes

  • Engage and persist with an activity, toy, or object

Scientific thinking

  • Notice and react to cause and effect within the physical environment

  • Use tools to explore the physical environment

  • Begin to identify physical attributes of objects

  • Imitate the actions of others as they explore objects

  • Copy patterns and rhythms with objects

  • Notice and gesture to different objects in the sky

  • Explore the natural environment

  • Observe and investigate environment, nature, and climate/weather

  • Identify living organisms by name

  • Name basic body parts

  • Test limits of the environment

  • Begin to construct and deconstruct using readily available materials

  • Demonstrate curiosity

  • Solve problems using trial and error

Social studies

  • Participate in celebrations and other cultural events if observed

  • Demonstrate a sense of belonging to a group by engaging in parallel play

  • Notice differences in others

  • Use simple words to show recognition of family members and familiar adults 

  • Adapt to changes in routine and/or schedule

  • Anticipate events

  • Respond to stories about time and age

  • Understand and follow basic guidance

  • Respond to simple location terms

  • Use a variety of materials to represent familiar objects

  • Recognize parts of surroundings

  • Look toward location where familiar objects are stored with the expectation of finding them

  • Show interest in various aspects of the environment

  • Communicate desire for objects and/or persons that are in the classroom or home

  • Imitate familiar roles and routines

  • Observe others carrying out routines and responsibilities and begin to imitate

  • Make choices known

Creative arts

  • Respond to music by moving own body

  • Imitate sounds using voice or objects

  • Sing along to familiar songs

  • Make rhythmic patterns with objects

  • Use simple art materials

  • Express preferences for certain art materials

  • Explore a variety of media 

  • Express likes or dislikes of certain colors or patterns 

  • Look at pictures, photographs, and illustrations

  • Use objects as symbols for other things

  • Demonstrate simple character/animal sounds with motions

Physical health & growth

  • Participate with adult support in health and hygiene-related behaviors

  • Imitate personal health practices

  • Demonstrate awareness of danger

  • Respond to adult direction to change behavior in order to avoid danger or prevent injuries 

  • Express when hungry or full

  • Try new foods

  • Feed self with some assistance

  • Try a new action with a familiar object

  • Identify basic body parts

  • Use trial and error to discover how the body and objects move through space

  • Use simple movement skills to participate in active physical play

  • Gain control of hands and fingers

  • Begin to develop coordination and balance, requiring less support

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