Baumhaus Talk Series: Teacher Vanessa on the Challenges of Teaching One Year Olds
One of the most challenging classes to teach is the classes for 1 year olds. Level 1 provide toddlers with a stimulating setting to explore their new movements and language skills with a sense of security, comfort and confidence. That being said, the one year olds are always moving, wanting to explore their bodies and surroundings, and they are also in a locomotor stage. This is what makes teaching them more difficult than the rest. You sometimes have a class full of toddlers moving around, unable to sit still during circle time. Keeping them all in a group without losing their interest is difficult especially if some pre walkers and some advanced walkers have different levels of gross motor skills. Finding the balance between challenging activities for walkers and suitable activities for prewalkers. But that is also what makes teaching Level 1 quite wonderful! You realise that even if these children are moving and wanting run and use their feet all the time, they are still learning!
I have a very fun time teaching this age group and it is always such a joy when children start implementing the learned content in practice, especially in movement. We dance and move around in this class, and it is so fulfilling to see the toddlers follow you and move and dance the steps you've taught them! Dealing with children this age is like a journey towards discovery! Children this age have a rapid increase of vocabulary in an expressive way. Expressive vocabulary is what the children are able to say, while receptive is what they understand. It is also this age wherein they discover how to say “No.” Children begin to run away from their adults as a form of toddler independence, and start to panic when they realise how far away they are to their grown ups. It is quite an amazing stage in a child’s life and being part of it is truly wonderful!
To make my classes extra special, I try to give them a multi sensory experience, where all of their senses getting stimulated. For themes such as Rain or Shine, I make sure to use a bottle spray and water as the rain, so the children are able to feel the rain in their hands, bodies and faces. My favourite theme for this age group is “Hello Day!” I love to teach this unit, since I will help the toddlers in my class greet the day with all of their senses. Saying good morning to the sunshine, blowing away the morning dew, and stretch high and low as they explore and exercise fine-motor skills through instrument play and other fun activities. So get ready to wake up and say HELLO DAY!
Teaching one year olds may be challenging but the learning of the children make it all the while worth it. I can’t wait to meet your children and see them grow in class!