Though I have run the Admissions team since 2017, the Toddler Program was my first experience as a BIM Mom. And, it really laid the foundation for my son, Marcus, to love learning. Last week, I revisited the toddler classroom to showcase a day in the life of a toddler at BIM.
When I planned a day with our toddler friends, I had no idea that I was in for a day of BUGS! Throughout the year our Early Learning Team introduces a variety of themes from community helpers to farms and space to hibernation. These themes are weaved into everything from language and literacy to STEM and numeracy to help students make connections between classroom learning and the world around them. And, today it was bugs, bugs, bugs… or bugs and insects to be exact.
8:30 AM – Morning Recess
We started the day by putting away our backpacks and heading outside for a bit of fun on the playground. Many friends, including Colleen and Ezra, grabbed buckets and shovels to dig, while some went straight for the slide. Even these moments of outside fun are teaching opportunities, as we learn to share, take turns, practice our colors, and keep each other safe.
8:45 AM – Morning Meeting and Language and Literacy
Returning my friends sanitized their hands, visited the potty or diaper changing station (or both), and washed their hands again. With a 1:5 student to teacher ratio, our lead teacher is able to focus on delivering lessons that are fun and meaningful, while having support with the other classroom management needs.
Morning Meeting began by welcoming each friend with a song before going over the day of the week and the date, where many excited friends shared that April begins with “A.” Each friend enjoyed grabbing their nameplate and placing it on the board during attendance. Then, we gathered around the circle for story time. During story time, our students are active participants as teachers ask them to share questions, predict what will happen next, or simply identify items or colors on the page.
9:15 AM Music and Movement
Subject Expert Teacher Ms. Glanzer joined us, armed with her guitar and beautiful voice, to sing about bugs. With songs incorporating each child’s name, movement motions and puppets, and even a special instrument box for each child, we sang songs about bees, caterpillars, and more. It is truly amazing how movement and music help student expand their vocabulary, learn new concepts, and just have fun!
9:45 AM Center Time and Recess
Ms. Neelam now joined the circle to talk about taking turns and being good friends, as we took turns going to the potty, before we set off for our classroom centers. Centers are redesigned throughout the year to keep them interesting, and this year, our friends take turns being assigned to a center each day. During this time, Olivia chose to build ice cream cones while practicing colors, and Sahana chose to play with kinetic sand in the sensory station.
10:30 AM STEM
With STEM, you guessed it… It was all about bugs and insects! Ms. Galina shared that bugs had infested the classroom, and we each received a magnified glass to explore the classroom and collect these bugs. Once all of the bugs were safely in the container, she explained what makes an insect an insect and how insects are different from bugs. Through videos, drawing, songs, and more, we learned the three things that all insects have – three body parts, six legs, and two antennae.
11:00 AM Lunch and Nap
Aris, Lizzy, and the group were now ready for some lunch. Luckily, our lunches were already unpacked and our nappers placed on our cots. Lunch was full of engaging chatter about… bugs! We also talked about fruits – which ones we like, what color they are, and how they taste. Another restroom break, and it was time for a well-deserved, two-hour nap.
1:45 AM Snack, Story, and Recess
Awaking to another quick snack, we listed to a read-a-loud story. It gave us another chance to name the bugs that we had collected earlier in the day and describe them before playing outside one more time.
2:00 PM Center Time and World Discovery
As we ended our day, Tristen wanted to show me the flower that he planted last week. He explained that the theme the previous week was all about the parts of a flower and how they grow. More of my toddler friends wanted to share their growing plants with me, so Ms. Galina reminded everyone of the parts of their plants, and we talked about how much they had grown.
As I reflect on my day, I am still amazed at how literacy and numeracy skills, fine motor skills, routine-building, and citizenship are built into every lesson and every part of the day. I watched students who struggled asking for help realize how important it was to ask, receive, and be thankful for help from other. I watched kids being coached to be more independent and problem solve when two friends wanted the same color buckets. I watched kids sing, and giggle, and laugh together as they developed friendships and ate a lot of snacks.
The BIM toddler program is truly designed to empower a young child’s natural tendency to question, explore, and create. It is guided by caring and nurturing teachers who love kids and think deeply about how to make lessons interconnected and exciting. It is focused on the development of early literacy and numeracy skills, while also focusing on character development such as personal responsibility, self-reliance, and social awareness. As a BIM mom, I will be forever thankful to the teachers who first showed my son what it means to be a Red-Tailed Hawk, who showed him that learning is fun, and who made him excited to arrive on campus each day!