What Do Toddlers Learn in Child Care?
“What do toddlers learn in child care (or rather school)?” my almost 7-year-old daughter sarcastically asked recently. We were chatting about our upcoming day as we rushed through our typical morning routine. She shared how she was learning about ramps in 1st grade science and reading books to her Reading Buddy. Our conversation turned to Owen (2 years) and what he was going to do in school that day.
And out comes the big “executive leadership” 1st grade attitude, “School? He’s not in school.”
“Sure he is,” I patiently explained. “He’s in pre-preschool and he’s learning a lot.”
“Like what? He can’t do math and he doesn’t know how to read.”
“That’s true,” I said. “He’s not learning the same things you are learning in school. But he’s learning a lot of important skills.” My initial reaction was to go through a laundry list of his developmental milestones he had achieved such as feeding himself and taking off his own coat, better balance achieved through yoga and movement activities, fine motor skills from holding a paintbrush and other objects while creating art masterpieces, and so on. But I paused.
All the things I thought were so amazing weren’t going to pass the Olivia cool factor. She needed this broken down into her level of thinking – academics. So I blurted out, “He’s learning his ABC’s.” Which was absolutely true but I didn’t have much confidence in my next question. “Hey, Owen, can you sing the alphabet song?”
Silence. And then very softly he starts singing. From A until the final “…next time won’t you sing with me”, I just stood there in awe and beaming. “So you see Olivia,” I said, “he’s learning his ABC’s and that’s pretty important in toddler school.”
Just for giggles I tried to record the evidence on video to share with you. Owen was less cooperative the second time around but I did uncover a pretty amazing skill that my daughter has picked up along the way. She is a great toddler teacher – see how she pauses to let him say the next letters?