We’ve been sharing about the changes we’ve made to the First Look download matrix here on the blog. (If you haven’t seen ALL the changes, make sure you check out this post.) And, I’m VERY EXCITED to share my favorite change with you.
We now have EXTENDED TODDLERS!!
What is Extended Toddlers you ask? Well, let me share. Over the course of the last year, we’ve talked to many churches who have everyone under the age of two in one room. They were using our awesome toddler curriculum (and don’t forget the toddler posters), but needed just a little bit more to keep the kids engaged and learning. They felt the twos curriculum was too much and the toddlers just not enough. After much research and deliberation among the First Look Team, the Extended Toddlers was born.
The Extended Toddlers is meant to accompany the toddler curriculum and includes one story script and craft for each week. What’s important to know is that we are telling the same story in the toddlers the entire month long. We’re just telling it in different ways.
If you choose to use Extended Toddlers, you will want to print both the toddler curriculum and the extended toddler curriculum. You will set up the four toddler activities around your room so Small Group Leaders can interact with your toddlers via these activities all month long. All toddler activities work to introduce the bottom line to our youngest friends so they fit right in with the story of the month. As toddlers arrive, you will play with them making sure to emphasize the bottom line as you interact.
Then, at some point during the morning, you will gather as many toddlers as you can together to tell the story. Again, it’s the same story all month long so don’t worry if not everyone is sitting down every week. And, just because they aren’t sitting doesn’t mean they aren’t listening. You keep telling them about how much God loves them. They’ll hear you.
After they’ve heard the story, you can gather a few toddlers at a time to do the craft. Each of these crafts is very simple and meant to communicate with the parents what their toddlers learned today. At least once a month, there will be a hand-print craft because toddler parents LOVE those, and they are sure to become a keepsake. Invest in a good set of large stamp pads so you have them for the year. If completing a craft with an entire group of toddlers at one time feels overwhelming to you, set up one Small Group Leader at a table and have one or two toddlers brought to her at a time. Just create a checklist to make sure you get them all. In fact, you may want to have a toddler do his craft and then head to the changing table to make sure they have a clean diaper and clean hands before mom and dad return.
To see a sample of August’s Extended Toddler Curriculum, click below.
We’re so excited about this addition to our monthly curriculum and can’t wait to hear stories from your toddler classrooms.