FAQs About Toddler Learning, Kindergarten Prep, And More

How can an early childhood education center help prepare your toddler for kindergarten? Even though your two-year-old won't start elementary school for a few years, take a look at what parents need to know about toddler learning, development, and the childcare or preschool environment.

Does Your Toddler Have To Go To Preschool?

No, there is no mandatory government requirement for toddlers to attend preschool or early learning programs. Compulsory school attendance laws vary by state. But the earliest age any state currently requires children to attend school is five-years-old, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Even though state compulsory attendance laws don't require toddlers to attend school, the early learning environment provides benefits for young children. These include:

  • Kindergarten preparation. Many kindergartens expect children to have basic knowledge (such as counting or identifying letters) when they start school. The early learning setting can help your toddler to build basic skills that they will use in the future.

  • Social growth. Along with academics, preschools help young children to build valuable social and emotional skills. The classroom setting gives your toddler the chance to communicate with others and practice social interactions. 

  • Self-care development. Even though your two-year-old isn't ready to tackle major self-care tasks, they can start to build skills in preschool that will eventually lead to independence. 

Along with these benefits, your child can develop physical/motor skills and build on existing cognitive abilities (such as problem-solving and critical thinking) in an early learning program. Like academics and social/emotional skills, these abilities can carry into the elementary school years.

What Will Toddlers Learn In School?

The answer to this question depends on the program you choose. Different early learning centers offer different types of activities that are guided by a school-wide curriculum or educational philosophy (such as Montessori or Reggio Emilia). 

In general, common content areas and types of learning toddlers in child care/pre-k explore include:

  • Early literacy. This area includes reading, writing, and communication through language. Early literacy activities could range from story times to writing-based art explorations.

  • Early math. Calculus can wait until high school. But right now your toddler can start to build basic math skills. These could include counting, number identification, or shape recognition (geometry).

  • Science. Young students often explore and experiment with biology, chemistry, physics, and the Earth sciences in the early childhood classroom.

  • The arts. These activities include visual arts (such as painting and drawing) and performing arts (such as music, drama, and dance).

Toddlers may also participate in social studies lessons that focus on their community or other cultures, technology activities, and physical/motor-based play.  

About Me

teaching a child with ADD

Teaching a child with Attention Deficit Disorder brings on more challenges than many people may ever realize. Trying to give that child enough attention and guidance while taking care of a classroom of other children is hard, but it isn't impossible. If you work with children that suffer from ADD, there are several things that you can do to make the learning process a little easier on them and the teaching process easier on yourself. Find out several tips and tricks that can make your classroom a more peaceful and educational setting for the special needs child, the other students and yourself here on my blog.