How to Manage a Two Year Old Classroom
Caring for a room full of two-year-olds can be a challenge. Although each child is different, toddlers at this age are accumulating a vocabulary, getting ready to read, learning to potty train, and developing their logic and reasoning skills. Physically, two-year-olds are making use of their developing motor skills to explore their environment, and socially they are often eager to play and interact with other children. On the other hand, two-year-olds are generally inclined to throw tantrums when frustrated with their caretakers or other children, making this age group demanding on caretakers. Despite the occasional challenge, with some organization, fun activities and the right supplies, you can manage a classroom of two-year-olds with success.
Stock your classroom full of art supplies, books, furniture, learning aids and toys that are appropriate for two-year-olds. Some examples of furniture include child-sized tables, easels, cubbies, and storage bins for supplies and toys. Cover the floor with soft, washable play mats.
Plan out arts and crafts activities ahead of time on a calendar, and get the necessary supplies ready. You can do this on a weekly basis or as much as a month in advance. Arts and crafts ideas include finger painting, coloring with crayons, making Christmas decorations, or creating gifts for parents for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Follow a daily schedule that includes frequent snack times, naptime, learning activities, reading, and both inside and outside play time. Learning activities include reading, singing and doing alphabet flashcards. You may run off-schedule from time to time, but you and the children will benefit from a set daily pattern.
Encourage unstructured play time during the day. Children can play independently or with others while you supervise at a distance and step in when needed, for example, when upsets occur between children or if a child gets hurt.
- Make sure your classroom is baby proof. Recheck the room often to make sure it stays that way. Keep in mind that children at this age may be tall enough to reach high onto the counters or may be skilled enough to open doors and cabinets.
- Read aloud on a daily basis, especially from board books with captivating pictures, simple stories and few words, in order to hold the kids' attention.
- Encourage children to help with straightening up, cleaning, handing out snacks and other simple tasks.
- When children throw temper tantrums, remain calm and don't raise your voice or threaten them.
- When two-year-olds become cranky or difficult to deal with, this may be a cue for food or a nap.