Choosing Curriculum for Toddlers
I have taught preschool Sunday School for years. I love watching children learn and explore. I love giving them opportunities to discover new things & I absolutely love telling them about God.
I believe that young children should be given opportunities to learn and grow. I also believe that children have the ability to understand more than we give them credit for sometimes. But I also know that children have limitations.
It’s important to take into consideration the age characteristics of young children when choosing curriculum. Toddlers love routine and repetition. They are literal and concrete thinkers. They have not developed the capacity yet to think abstractly or to understand symbolism. It’s important to choose curriculum that embraces these truths about little ones.
The best curriculum I have ever seen for toddlers is Biblical, focused on teaching kids what God is like, and fun. The story takes about 2 minutes to tell – this shows an understanding of a toddler’s attention span. The story using short sentences and language that makes sense to toddlers; the illustrations are soft and colorful and appropriate. The themes teach big truths about God in ways that toddlers can understand. God is big; God made everything (God made you); God loves you; God is strong. This shows an understanding of toddlers literate and concrete thinking. The lessons are to be repeated 2 or 4 times before you move on to the next one. This shows an understanding of toddlers love of repetition and routine.
I have also come across toddler curriculum that does not take into consideration toddler characteristics. The purpose of this curriculum was also to teach toddlers about who God is – His character and attributes. But this curriculum focused solely on symbolic truths. For example, the main theme of one of the lessons is that God is my light. When a toddler hears, “God is my light,” they will think literally of a light. So, now God is light. They will think sun or flashlight or light bulb.
When looking for curriculum for toddlers (or children of any age) always evaluate it with the age characteristics of the children it will be taught to. Set children up to succeed by choosing curriculum that will challenge them to learn big truths about God in ways that fit their stage in life.