Teaching Children Basic Life Skills: The ABC’s of Toddler Curriculum
By Fallon Beaudin, B.S. Elementary Education, currently seeking M.A. in Early Childhood Education
As the younger toddler teacher for the Harris Creek Mother’s Day Out program, I help a group of one- to two-year olds learn some “grown up” habits.
In March, my assistant teacher, Brittney Westbrook, and I taught four different self-care skills: cleaning up, brushing teeth, drinking out of open cups, and hand washing. We tailor the daily activities for each child based on their development, interests, and background and enlist the help of their families.
“My son gets excited when I mention washing hands, brushing teeth or I ask him to throw something away. He runs to go do those things and it is really neat to see him enjoying this new sense of independence,” Bethany Brown said.
Teaching these tasks is a long, yet rewarding process. Sometimes it’s hard to step back and allow children the time to practice these skills without intervening. I remember when a little girl was having trouble drinking out of the cup causing water to spill all over her face. The problem was she tilting it way too far back. After a couple outfit changes and some instruction on how to tip it slowly, she was drinking out of the cup with barely any spills.
“I never realized how many life skills my 18-month-old was capable of accomplishing on his own. I definitely underestimated him, and this program definitely opened my eyes to how much my little guy can do!” Elizabeth Oats said.
A teacher also needs patience and sound judgment to know when the tasks are too difficult for a child to do on their own. But when they get it right, they feel a surge of independence and pride.
“I love their precious looks when they are so proud of themselves for a skill accomplished,” Meg Watwood, who has a child in the program, said.
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