Laughter, discovery, smiles, playtime—you’ll find these in every BASIS Independent McLean (BIM) Toddler class, just like any toddler room. You’ll also find Mandarin, STEM, performing arts, and more learning mixed in with their curiosity and joy. Our Toddler Program (ages 2–3) is your child’s first classroom, not a daycare.
Joyful learning begins from students’ first steps through our Toddler classroom door and carries throughout their educational journey. Each day, our toddlers engage in self-led, hands-on activities that develop their natural curiosity in World Discovery, READ, Math Discovery, and Language and Literacy. They are learning, but more importantly they are having fun while understanding new ideas and concepts, such as colors, shapes, numbers, and seasons. During choice time this fall, toddlers chose between the sensory bin where they might feel leaves and acorns or a math station to compare the weight of pumpkins and gourds using a scale.
Once a week, toddlers sing in music, dance in performing arts, create in visual arts, experiment in STEM, and explore in Mandarin. Last week in STEM, our youngest learners taste tested apples (red, yellow, and green) and graphed the results (red won!). From leaf art to learning the friendship song to hypothesizing and then discovering what is inside a pumpkin, our learning is rooted in purposeful play to help develop a love a learning from day one.
"I see the value of ‘joyful learning’ at BIM. Three weeks after Emma joined the Toddler Program, she came back home and sung a complete song using her pretend guitar,” says Lishuang Z., mother of Emma Z., Class of 2035. “She is playing back the ‘joy’ from the fun time she had learning to sing the song. As a parent, that’s the true value of early education.”
Passionate teachers are a pillar of the BASIS Curriculum, including in our Toddler Program. Each classroom is led by two teachers who are thoughtful, caring, creative experts in early childhood development. The co-teaching teams of Ms. Garcia and Ms. Sharma and Ms. Sanders and Ms. Soylu Kucuk teach the core subjects as well as key social-emotional growth, such as language and social skills. For Mandarin, music, visual arts, and performing arts, a Toddler teacher is joined by a Subject Expert Teacher that specializes in that subject, just like in our Primary Program.
Beyond inspiring every child to develop an early passion for learning and a healthy, fun relationship with school, our teachers are guiding students to be better friends and create positive habits. Students are building their social-emotional vocabulary about how to share their joy, how to engage with a friend when they are upset, and how to communicate a need. They are also learning how to identify letters and how to embrace routines, such as getting in line, washing their hands before eating, and putting a toy away in its proper place.
“As a parent, seeing your child happy to go to school and fully engaged is a wonderful feeling. Aarya is happy and her mind and spirit are growing,” says Anjuma K., mother of Aarya K. ’35. “I appreciate that BIM takes learning both academically and socially to heart. I have seen Aarya embrace more core-values-based concepts, and it makes me proud. She is learning to be kind and to care.”
Additionally, students, teachers, and parents have the support of our Director of Toddlers–Grade 3 Ms. Korik and our Dean of Students for Toddlers–Kindergarten Ms. Gaul. There is a lot of transition and change in the early childhood years, as Dean, Ms. Gaul supports these transitions and the students by being another layer of behavior and emotional support for the student.
By the end of the school year, the goal is for each of our Toddler students be familiar with letters and letter sounds, independently change their clothes, and be comfortable with their routine. They will have gained developmentally-appropriate independence, have increased their problem solving and communications skills, and have had so much fun with friends in the process.
You’ll find plenty of smiles, silliness, outdoor play, naps, and snacks at BASIS Independent McLean, too. However, you will also experience our holistic approach to early childhood education, which is rooted in opportunities to inquire, discover, and create. This is key to providing our youngest Red-Tailed Hawks with the foundation necessary to grow socially and academically and to instill a culture of joy and a lifelong love of learning.
Learn more about our Toddler Program at our Early Learning Meet & Greet on Friday, November 1, 2019 at 1:30 PM or join our interest list.