‹‹ Return to all Child Growth & Development resources

Fostering toddler learning and development

When children are one or two-years-old, they begin to be able to explore the world and your classroom with some degree of independence. In particular, they take pride and satisfaction in learning and completing tasks on their own. At the same time, they rely on their parents and teachers for guidance and benefit from shared learning experiences.

By providing a supportive classroom environment, you help foster toddlers' independence and ability to master new skills. In turn, you help them develop the confidence and skills that will be valuable as they progress in school and beyond.

The following approaches can help foster children's development:

Let them choose: Emphasize choice in your classroom by allowing students to make independent decisions, whether that relates to what they wear or what toys they use. Of course, it is important to exercise your own discretion, for example if the weather is cold, children have to wear coats. However, always allow them to voice their opinions, and when possible, try to accommodate their preferences or agree on a compromise. 

Don't rush activities: It is important for children to have the opportunity to take part in activities without feeling rushed. Children need extended periods of time to get involved enough in projects to experience the benefits of engagement for learning.

Offer encouragement: Make sure to recognize childrens' achievements and offer praise, acknowledging their progress. For young children, for whom physical, non-verbal cues are just as important as auditory ones, you can demonstrate encouragement through positive expressions and gestures. 

Children have an innate desire to explore and learn, but this needs to be encouraged by adults. By providing encouragement to young children, you equip them with the confidence they will need, both now and as they progress in school.

ProSolutions Training offers many online child care courses on toddler development, including "Great Ways to Promote Cognitive Development in Toddlers." In this course, you will gain familiarity with key aspects of toddler cognitive development and ways you can support children in their learning, along with practices to avoid with toddlers.