Mandell Cubs, a program for children ages 16 - 24 months, offers a gentle introduction to preschool. During the fall, children explore the wonders of the classroom with their grown-up close by, in this non-separation portion of the year. Then, in January, after the children are fully acclimated to school and have bonded with their teachers, Cubs becomes a gentle separation program. Children in our Senior Cubs class all turn Two by January 1st and may opt for the three day a week session. During separation, parents will remain in the building.
In the Cubs classroom, teachers use a developmentally-age appropriate version of our Learning Circles curriculum. Through use of art and playtime, music and movement, science and story-time, we build on a child’s natural sense of curiosity to enrich their emotional, physical and intellectual development. By providing a nurturing, well-rounded, experiential environment, your child will develop independence and expand their social skills as they make new friends.
Young children learn with their whole body and so it is important to provide them with many opportunities to actively use all of their senses as they explore and learn in this, their first school experience. Whether they are involved in self initiated playtime in the kitchen and doll corner, or a more teacher guided art activity, children are experimenting with language, building social skills and strengthening their motor coordination. Awakening the senses through such activities such as dipping hands into paint, experiencing the taste and texture of bananas for snack, hearing the bells in a song, provides the foundation for the units we will explore during the year, be it seasons, families or transportation.
Allowing opportunity for children to move their bodies is important. Climbing the stairs of the loft, jumping like frogs, and the rhythmic rocking of the seesaw boat, all play a role in helping children develop their gross motors skills and sense of body in space. Children move their bodies to the rhythm of the beat as recorded music is played. Often the songs encourage children to move in certain ways, whether they have to stomp like dinosaurs, or sleep like lions. They are also developing their listening skills as they wait for the next move.
Children at this age come into school with varying degrees of language. Some are speaking in short, but complete sentences, while others are still experimenting with sounds and words. Even though children may not always be able to voice their needs and thoughts, it is extremely important for teachers to model language in order to facilitate the child’s expanding vocabulary. In particular, modeling the language of sharing and caring is so important at this age, for it can often be a child’s first experience in a more formal group setting, and it is natural at this age for children to hesitate to share that favorite toy! Through simple conversation, reading stories, and singing songs, children not only expand their vocabulary, but build their understanding of the world around them.