We at Orange are very strategic in teaching to each child’s phase of life. Specifically, we rely heavily on research and child development to ensure the curriculum isn’t only engaging for the child, but is also developmentally appropriate for him or her. After all, this is when meaningful learning can happen!
And while we all know that preschoolers have many similarities across the various ages, there’s no denying that there are several distinct differences in cognitive development from Crawlers and Toddlers than older preschoolers.
That’s why we have intentionally created a curriculum for Crawlers and Toddlers that is different from their older preschool friends – one that is targeted to meet their unique needs at their unique phase!
To get a better understanding of why crawlers and toddlers need their own curriculum, it’s important to understand how they learn.
Crawlers and Toddlers need repetition.
All kids thrive with repetition. Sticking to the same schedule, singing the same songs, repeating the same verse, hearing the same story – these are all important ways we can help children learn. But did you know that in the Crawler and Toddler phase, they need repetition even more than the other ages?
It’s true! More than the twos, threes, fours, and five-year olds, crawlers and toddlers need an excess of repetition. Thankfully, Orange curriculum accounts for that.
By telling the same story in different ways each week and having a different craft that refers to the same story and bottom line, we are teaching directly to the crawlers’ and toddlers’ cognitive development. They will learn more by hearing the same story leading to the bottom line and basic truth over multiple weeks than hearing a different story each week.
In an older preschool class, you might be able to tell a Bible story and have a meaningful discussion about it afterwards. However, this is not the case with crawlers and toddlers. Developmentally, children at this age are not ready to respond to a story the first time they hear it. This is why time, consistency, and repetition are so important to crawlers’ and toddlers’ growth. If you do have some older toddlers that you feel are ready for something “more,” we encourage you to introduce some of the twos’ curriculum to them.
Younger preschoolers are listening.
Have you ever wondered if the toddlers you’re teaching are actually listening to you? It’s easy to be skeptical sometimes, especially when they might be running around, not making eye contact, or playing during the story. But the truth is . . . oftentimes they are listening!
While crawlers and toddlers may be moving around and not “acting” like they are listening, that’s not not always the case. Oftentimes, they are hearing what you’re saying and may surprise you at a later time with a response to something you said during story time. Their brains are working even when we feel like our storytelling is falling on deaf ears. We must remember that preschoolers think like artists.They learn best through movement, music, and art. So in those moments when you’re tempted to stop the story because no one is paying attention, remember that odds are . . . they are listening. Keep watering that seed of faith! You never know what they will absorb.
As ministry leaders and volunteers, it’s crucial to remember that allowing younger preschoolers an excess of repetition will allow them to truly learn what we’re teaching. Each retelling of the Bible story matters. Every craft reaffirms their understanding. All of your Sundays count. When given the time to absorb the basic truth Sunday after Sunday, our children will better understand God.
For further questions, feel free to reach out to you Orange Specialist. He or she would be happy to talk with you! You can find out who your Orange Specialist is here.