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Toddler Program

12 to 24 months

Fostering joy, autonomy,
and collaboration

At Big and Tiny our toddlers explore and investigate the world around them through their senses. Using a wide variety of materials and opportunities, we encourage critical thinking, creative expression, and autonomy. The toddler program is designed to foster independence, self-awareness, and respect for others through social interaction, collaboration, physical activity, and plenty of playtime.

Program Objectives

Exploring the world through our senses

Our teachers help your toddler make connections between the language and motor skills necessary for completing tasks and responding to requests. At this stage, toddlers develop analytical skills and understand the relationship between ideas through problem-solving activities and games, storytelling, music, movement, and more.


  • Repeating actions for cause and effect

  • Encouraging critical thinking by Interacting with purposely selected objects and toys to solve problems

  • Cultivating curiosity and asking simple questions

  • Identifying and categorizing objects by color, shape and size with prompts

  • Learning about sizes and volume by filling buckets with sand and water at the sensory table

  • Developing spatial awareness

Cognitive Development


Language development during the first 2 years of a child’s life is an imperative part of their development. During these critical months, a baby learns how to communicate, express, and understand their feelings. Our teachers help transition your toddler from nonverbal to verbal by modeling conversations, teaching sign language, and helping them identify familiar people and objects by name. New vocabulary and appropriate interpersonal communication skills are introduced to prepare them for a lifetime of friendships.

  • Repeating simple words and phrases and learning to elaborate on nonverbal requests

  • Naming and identifying items and concepts

  • Understanding the meaning of action words (jump, clap for instance)

  • Listening and reacting to stories through interactive read-aloud

  • Combining words into 2- to 3-word

  • Introducing simple words in Spanish

& Communication


Building independence and autonomy allows your little one to create a sense of mastery over their body and their environment. Fostering independence supports critical thinking, encourages intrinsic motivation, and inspires confidence. At Big and Tiny we create a safe, supportive and encouraging environment to explore their emotions in a healthy manner. Your toddler will participate in activities designed to help them identify feelings and foster relationships with friends and caregivers.

  • Fostering independence and learning how to take turns through Visual thinking strategies

  • Understanding emotions, sharing feelings and learning calming techniques

  • Learning how to collaborate and play alongside their friends

  • Developing pride in accomplishments and developing empathy and interest in other friends’ actions


Cognitive Development

Fine & Gross Motor
Skill Development

At this stage, your toddler is extremely active. Our team guides them through fun and safe activities that keep them moving and help them refine their gross motor skills. Toddlers develop fine motor skills in their daily activities including grabbing toys, using utensils, and eventually holding a pencil.

  • Dressing themselves while playing dress-up with their friends

  • Learning to feed themselves with utensils and drink from cups during lunchtime

  • Improving climbing in our play structure and equipment, riding our fun ride on cars, balancing, bending, and jumping through fun activities and games

  • Practicing fine motor skills by painting with brushes and experimenting with other materials like play dough

A day for the Toddlers

Let’s say hello! – Arrival

When children first arrive at Big and Tiny, they store their belongings in their cubby, remove their shoes, say goodbye to their grown-ups for the day and greet their friends. Practicing this transition from home to school everyday helps your little one discover the excitement of healthy independence.


Let’s meet! –  Morning time!

Children gather as a whole group and review the calendar and contribute to the expectations and plans for the day. This includes the job list with the responsibilities for the day (feed the pets or take care of the plants for instance). Community time often incorporates movement, songs and social-emotional practice games to help understanding the emotions of others.


Let’s explore! – Proposals for discovery

Every day Big and Tiny educators stage thoughtful work centers around the learning space as proposals for concepts of exploration, which children are free to explore and decide independently what they would like to focus on and discover. Experiences include art, sensory, science, math, literacy, blocks, sand, and water. During this time, teachers assess, observe, and document each student’s progress and interactions.

Let’s eat! – Snack

Let’s build! – And destroy!

Children will work on organizing and categorizing objects and toys, and creating simple structures using different materials.


Let’s practice! – Practical life skills

Many practical life activities are incorporated throughout the day to allow the children to understand the world around them. They learn a routine and procedure that is consistent and can be followed at home, too.

Let’s read and share! – Read-a-loud

Interactive story time takes place at different times of the day. These books are selected according to the topics that the children are working on. Children will become familiar with books and rhymes, repeating words and phrases from different stories, helping them grow their vocabulary and  sentences. Open-ended questions and group discussions allow children to develop their own ideas and opinions as well as their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events. Interactive story time is led by the Master Teaching Artist in residence.

Let’s eat! – Snack/lunch & socialization

Children come together for a nutritious meal. Educators encourage them to observe and discuss their various meals with each other, sparking thoughtful conversations about health and sustainability.

Snacks and lunch from Little Spoon are available for purchase.


Let’s take a rest! – Nap time (optional)

Learning and playing can be exhausting! Big and Tiny knows how important sleeping is for a young child’s growth, development, and knowledge synthesization. Optional nap and rest time is offered for children.

Let’s play and move! – Outdoor play & active learning

Children develop large motor functions through group games, outdoor play, dancing, and community walks around the neighborhood and Rockefeller Park. Appreciation for the natural world is developed through gardening, observation of seasonal changes, and exploration of living things. This time includes right-brain/left-brain exercise, literacy development, and social-emotional growth.


Let’s make a mess! – Art Lab

Art is one of the many ways children express themselves and communicate their feelings. During this time children engage and experiment with different art forms and materials. We provide open-ended art activities that help children explore and use their creativity.

Let’s reflect! – End-of-day reflections

Group gathering to reflect on their work and possibilities for the next day. Time to share connections, questions and ideas. This time often incorporates an exercise in mindfulness, gratitude, and guided movement.

Let’s say goodbye! – Dismissal routines

To transition to go home at the close of the day, children work together to tidy up, change their shoes, gather their belongings and say goodbye. Children are encouraged to share their various projects from the day with their grown-ups.

Program available

from coast to coast


The program runs Monday through Friday from 8 am to 6 pm in our New York studio and 8 am to 5 pm in Ocean Park and Santa Monica Place studios. Two, three and five day a week plans are available at all locations.




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