Questions and Answers
Since Adventures for Toddlers has been made available on the Division website, directors, teachers, caregivers and others have raised a number of questions about the curriculum. Here are responses to some of those questions most frequently asked.
Is there any connection between Adventures for Toddlers and Adventures in Learning, the curriculum for children from 3 to 5?
There is a strong connection between the two curriculums. Both Adventures for Toddlers and Adventures in Learning were developed by the same three early childhood educators through a contract with the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education. Thus there is a similarity in the formatting of the two curriculums.
Adventures for Toddlers and Adventures in Learning list Benchmarks for the different experiences and activities in each curriculum. The benchmarks in the Arkansas Framework for Infant and Toddler Care are continued in the Arkansas Early Childhood Education Framework. Thus there is a benchmark connection.
Both curriculums are based on developmentally appropriate practice for the specified age groups. Thus the experiences and activities reflect best practice in early care and education.
How much does the curriculum cost?
Adventures for Toddlers curriculum can be obtained at no cost from the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education. The curriculum can be downloaded from the Division website or obtained on a CD from the Division.
Why are benchmarks listed for the different experiences in the curriculum?
Benchmarks are the standards on which all learning experiences should be based. Benchmarks tell us the purpose of the experience; why we are including this experience in our plans for children.
The Benchmarks included in Adventures for Toddlers support the following six developmental strands contained in the Arkansas Framework for Infant and Toddler Care:
- To learn about themselves – Self-concept Development
- To learn about their feelings – Emotional Development
- To learn about other people – Social Development
- To learn to communicate – Language Development
- To learn to move and do – Physical Development
- To learn to think – Cognitive Development
I have noticed that some publications refer to toddlers and twos rather than just toddlers? Why did you choose not to do this?
Initially, the developers of Adventures for Toddlers referred to toddlers as children from 18 to 36 months to be consistent with the Arkansas Framework for Infant and Toddler Care. In addition, Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs was a primary reference because it is nationally recognized as the foundation for developmentally appropriate experiences for children from birth to eight. All of the editions of this publication, including the most recent, the Third Edition (2009), refer to the infant and toddler years as ages 0 – 3. Thus the developers chose to stay with this age designation.
On the plan sheets why were chronological ages in either months or years not included for Younger Toddlers and Older Toddlers?
You can help answer this question by observing the toddlers in your group. It will soon become obvious that toddlers of the same chronological age will have differences in their strengths, developmental needs, and interests. Each child is a unique individual. Therefore, it makes sense not to include ages for younger toddlers and older toddlers on the plan sheets. As caregivers/teachers observe the children and adapt the plans for their group and for individual children in that group, they may decide to include experiences from one or both plan sheets. The key is to match the experiences to the strengths, needs and interests of each child.
How did you choose the 30 toddler topics?
The Adventures for Toddlers curriculum begins with the child because toddlers are primarily concerned with development of who they are – their identity. Toddlers are strongly attached to their families. They are intrigued with what they see adults engaged in. They begin to notice and become involved in their natural environment. Thus toddler topics were chosen to support the child’s development and widening interests.
Why are holiday topics not included?
Each early care and education program is different. There are differences in the purpose and philosophy of the programs and differences in the children and families they serve. For this reason, developers of Adventures for Toddlers felt that the decision about holiday topics should be made by individual programs with input from families.
If Adventures for Toddlers is the curriculum I choose for my children, will I be able to change the order of the toddler topics?
Adventures for Toddlers is a flexible curriculum that allows you to decide when and for how long to include a toddler topic.
Do we have to use all of the toddler topics?
You do not have to use all of the toddler topics. Consider choosing topics that are relevant to your children’s experiences and that are of most interest to them. When deciding which topics to use, you may also want to consider the books and other materials you have available for individual topics.
Must I use the plan sheets you have included for each toddler topic?
The plan sheet is included as a guide that can be used as it is or can be adapted or not used at all if your program has a plan sheet that you are required to use. If you have a plan sheet that better fits your needs, then use that one instead. The key is to have a plan sheet to follow so that you do have some structure for your day.
What if I already have a curriculum? Will Adventures for Toddlers be of any use to me?
While Adventures for Toddlers is a comprehensive curriculum that addresses all of the developmental strands, it can also be used to supplement a curriculum you already have in place.
Why do you have big ideas for each toddler topic?
Big ideas give a focus for a toddler topic and for the experiences that are included. Each experience included in a toddler topic supports one or more of the big ideas.
How did you choose the experiences that are included in each toddler topic?
Here are some of the criteria we used when selecting experiences for the topic:
- Relates to one or more of the big ideas for the toddler topic
- Supports one or more developmental benchmarks
- Provides hands on experiences and active involvement of children
- Focuses on experiences for individual and small groups of toddlers
- Is open-ended, allowing toddlers at different levels of development to be successful
- Can be adapted for toddlers with special needs
Why did you include so many books for us to make rather than books we can buy?
It is important that toddlers have access to a variety of books that relate to the topics that are of interest to them. However, for some of the topics no books appropriate for toddlers could be found. For this reason easy to use materials for making books are included for some of the toddler topics.
Where can I get a list of all of the books I need for the curriculum?
Click on the Overview of Adventures for Toddlers for a list of all of the featured books for each toddler topic. The list includes books that can be purchased and books that can be made.
Why do you suggest reading books with small groups of children or even with individual children rather than with larger groups?
The answer to this question can be found in some of the things we know about toddlers.
We know that they like their own space. Put too many toddlers together in a limited space and you will probably have problems. Toddlers like to be near their caregivers; always in close physical contact. It is impossible for each toddler in a large group to be near you, even as close as in your lap. Toddlers want to be able to touch the book, they want to be able to touch it NOW and this is only possible in a small group or with an individual child. So for an enjoyable reading experience with toddlers, keep the group small and read with an individual child when possible.
For additional information, refer to the Reading Books with Toddlers section of the Curriculum Tips and Techniques.
I work in a classroom with children from 6 months to 36 months. Can Adventures for Toddlers be adapted for all of the children in the group?
Adventures for Toddlers is designed specifically for toddlers from 18 to 36 months. The experiences are based on suggested examples for the benchmarks listed; examples that are for that specific age group and that can be found in the Arkansas Framework for Infant and Toddler Care.
Infants are at different stages in their development than toddlers and need experiences that are planned for then individually rather than experiences pushed down from an older age group.
Can Adventures for Toddlers be used in a classroom that includes children with special needs?
Some of the experiences in Adventures for Toddlers may be appropriate for children with special needs while others will need to be adapted for individual children. We suggest that you contact the Arkansas Department of Human Services/Division of Developmental Disabilities for guidance and support. For contact information, refer to Curriculum Tips and Techniques and locate the section on Planning for Toddlers with Special Needs.
I am a new toddler caregiver. How can I find out more about how to involve the children in some of the experiences that are included in Adventures for Toddlers?
On both the Division website and the Adventures for Toddlers CD is a Tips and Techniques section that we feel will be beneficial to you. The section is divided into three major sections:
- Toddler Environment
- Toddler Experiences
We also suggest that you take advantage of professional development opportunities in your area that provide information about toddlers.