Acorns – 18 to 24 months
Communication- The children in the Acorn room are beginning to gain competency in their verbal skills. While some may be limited to just a few words, some are able to complete short sentences. The teachers spend time during the day identifying items, actions, and ideas in clear terms so that the children become familiar with the proper names and can begin to use them themselves. Morning meetings are filled with songs and stories that include repetition, think Old MacDonald’s Farm, which further supports their early language development.
Sharing- Acorns are developing so quickly and their interests are sparked by everything around them, often times this includes the items that their friends are engaged with. Sometimes it is difficult for them to remember that they must wait their turn or share an item, so the Acorn teachers are always available to help support a difficult situation. Rather than jumping in and managing the situation for the children, the teacher will identify the challenge with the children and encourage them to take turns and to share the items. Redirecting a child to another activity while they wait is often helpful in diffusing the situation. The children are encouraged to use gentle words and touches when interacting with their classmates and when they cannot, they are encouraged to “take a break” until they can return and handle things more productively.
Self Care- Acorns are embracing all that independence has to offer and the teachers encourage this by providing them “jobs” to do throughout the day. Children may be asked to clear their plate after a meal or snack, to wash their hands after a mess, or to assist in cleaning up the toys in their classroom. Sometimes the job encourages them to help a classmate, such as offering them a crayon or piece of paper, picking up a dropped cup, or making space for them at the table. The “jobs” are broken down into small achievable tasks and recognition for success is always offered. Recognizing the positive choices that the children make reinforces their decision making skills and their success within the classroom.