In our preschool, our two year olds play and learn alongside our older children. With this in mind, our adult role and how we interact is crucial in supporting their development.
We understand that two-year-olds need:
- a key person who will provide the personal support and emotional security, and form a close, supportive relationship with their parents
- adults who respond positively to their interests and passions
- adults who understand them and their delight in repeating the same actions, games and routines
- adults who tune in and listen attentively as they begin to express themselves verbally
- adults who get involved in their play, rather than adult-led activities
- support for their pretend play
- support to develop relationships with each other
- support for self-care, such as dressing and toileting
- no expectation that they will sit still or participate in a large group or wait for their turn.
Achieving this requires careful planning, setting aside time for the key person to support settling-in and building those strong relationships with child and family, especially as the personal circumstances of some families receiving two-year-old funding in September may mean they need plenty of support.
The flexibility of our curriculum allows us to focus on the prime areas of learning and development with the youngest children, whilst allowing them to learn and grow alongside their slightly older peers. For example, whilst enjoying a small group story time, our preschool aged children may take an interest in the types of machines or in predicting what happens next in the story, whilst our youngest children may enjoy the cosiness of the story or by beginning to name things in the picture or joining in with repeated sections.