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Older Toddlers (Adventurers)

(2 - 3 year olds)


Our center uses an emergent curriculum.  Our curriculum is therefore designed around the interests and strengths of the children, utilizing what the children enjoy to build on and enhance their skills. Here is a small example of the philosophy behind the curriculum found in the Adventurers:


When I finger paint I am learning:

-to exercise my imagination and creativity

-about how colors mix to form new colors

-concepts of shape, size, and location

-hand-eye coordination

-an acceptable way to make a mess, and having fun sharing ideas with others who are near.


When I play with play dough I am learning:

-to see the shape against the background of a table, a reading skill.

-concepts of shapes, relative sizes, big, small, length, height, etc.

-that the amount of substance remains the same, even when the shape changes.

-to express feelings with squeezing and pounding.


When I string beads I am learning:

-hand-eye coordination.

-concepts of color, shape, and location.

-number concepts, as well as concepts of more, less, longer, and shorter.

-to create and copy patterns.

-pride and accomplishment.


When I sort things I am learning:

-to notice details and likenesses and differences in objects and form categories.  (Essential concepts in reading and math)

-concepts of color, size, and shape.

-numerical concepts of more and less.

-logical reasoning.


When I use scissors I am learning:

-to control the small muscles of my hand.

-concepts of shape, size, color, and location.

-to exercise my imagination and creativity.


When I use glue and collage materials I am learning:

-concepts of shape, size, location, and design relevant to learning to read.

-about things that are sticky and things that have different textures.

-how to create patterns and designs; a math skill.

-to distinguish patterns from background; a reading skill.


When I play with sand I am learning:

-how to use tools.

-to solve problems.

-concepts of warm, cool, dry, wet, heavy and light.

-how to play socially with others.

-to create a system of classifying, ordering, and arranging.

-to observe change; a science skill.

-concepts of size, shape, volume, empty and full.


When I scribble and draw I am learning:

-that my ideas have value.

-to express myself with words to describe my drawing.

-to hold a drawing implement and to control the pressure.

-concepts of color, shape, size, and location.


When I play with water I am learning:

-that some things float and some things sink

-to observe changes as water takes different form.

-about different temperatures.

-about wet, dry, and evaporation.

-hand-eye coordination as I learn to pour.

-concepts of empty, full, volume and weight, relevant to mathematics.

Classroom Environment

In the Adventurers, we base our curriculum and environment on interest areas.  These interest areas include a block area, quiet area, gross motor, dramatic play, table toys/manipulatives, art area, and a sensory area.  The materials provided in each area often reflect the thread the children are interested in and change as their interests change.  Having defined areas of play helps children make choices about what they would like to explore.  Within each area, small groups of children are provided with space and comfort for focused and constructive play.

Potty Training

Once children reach the Adventurers we start offering toilet training.  We offer the option of using the toilet to all children, however we only actively engage in toilet training with children that show us that they are ready.  Research shows that there are several things that need to happen before children are ready to begin toilet training and that starting too early can cause the process to take longer or create a negative association with using the toilet that is difficult to break (and creates a less reliable training experience for the child).  Some things we need to see here at the center are:

  • Your child seems interested in the toilet and in wearing underwear instead of diapers (not just wanting to wear both)

  • Your child can understand and follow basic directions and is eager to do so

  • Your child tells us through words, facial expressions or posture when they need to go

  • Your child stays dry for periods of two hours or longer during the day as well as after waking from nap

  • Your child complains about wet or dirty diapers

  • Your child can pull down their pants and pull them up again

  • Your child can sit on and rise from a potty chair

  • Your child’s bowel movements do not occur during the night or nap

  • Your child can tell us when their diaper is dirty and will also ask to have it changed

  • Your child acts interested in the process when other classmates use the bathroom


When we don’t see most of these things occurring, your child is showing us that they are not yet ready to start potty training.  We have found that a positive, welcoming, and encouraging atmosphere is much more welcoming for children and they will have more luck and ultimately potty train faster.  When children are both physically and emotionally ready to potty train before they begin, the process is usually quite short and very exciting.  When children are not ready in both senses, however, the process is often more frustrating for the child (and usually the families) as well as often taking much longer.  While we know that many families want to see their children potty train as early as possible, we will not begin here until we see signs that your child is actually ready to embark on that journey.  We are committed to making it a positive process for your child, and we will look for these signs to ensure we are taking the cues directly from your child. 

Currently we will ask each child if they want to sit on the potty during diaper changes.  While we do encourage it, we do not force the child to sit.  Once children are potty trained, they use the toilet whenever they need to go.  We will still ask at regular potty times, but they become in charge of their own toileting.  The journals contain information about whether your child sat, whether they had success, whether they requested to go, and so forth so you will know what has occurred during the day.  When things change at home (for example, your child begins to wear underwear during the day), please let us know so we can discuss what makes sense to start trying at school.

Outside Time

The Adventurers go outside on a regular basis.  We go for walks, trips to the park, and spend time on the playground. We go even when it is raining or windy or wet outside.  We need weather appropriate attire for your child so that we can continue to take our learning and discovery outside.  This includes raincoats, boots, layers, hats for different seasons, and so forth.  We continue to go outside year round, so please be sure to provide your child with the appropriate clothing for each season.  In the summer, a sun hat is recommended.  At beginning of the summer season we will require sunscreen, and you are welcome to provide bug spray if you would like.  In the winter, please send waterproof jacket, snow pants, mittens, boots, and a hat.  The wet snow easily soaks through fleece snowsuits and knit mittens.  It is nice to have extra mittens and socks during this time of year.  When we go outside for walks, each child holds onto a loop on the safety rope or holds hands using the buddy system.  This helps the children walk safely as a group when traveling inside and out.

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