Les Feux Follets
18 – 24 months
As soon as a child figures something out, something admirable takes place in him: You see him get up, explain the idea with wild gestures, and suddenly laugh from the bottom of his heart, as if it was the best game ever. – Émile-Auguste Chartier
The terrible twos: a term I find rather unfair to our children who are going through a very difficult stage. It is at this age that children separate themselves from those around them. Until this age, in their minds, their close relatives were integral parts of their own beings. Realizing that they can do things on their own, make decisions for themselves, tackle things on their own, create things, etc., is a crucial step in their emotional and social development. This is the “That’s mine!” and “On my own!” period. It is also at this time that children often “reject” the protective and nurturing mother, they are “ready to stand on their own two feet.” They look for new examples and references in their lives.
In order to allow a toddler to freely discover his own identity, this class will focus on free play: the child-to-be will choose HIS toy, will want others’ toys, will impose his desires, explore his limits, touch everything, make decisions about everything, and “watch out” to anyone who tries to get in his way. And he is fully justified in imposing his desires because this is how he will acquire the majority of his self-confidence.
Early childhood educators are very present to encourage and motivate the children, and applaud and supervise them in these new experiences. In order to develop their sense of sharing, which is still very primitive, group play will be emphasized so that toddlers learn to have fun in a group with friends and not rivals. Group play will teach them how to become aware of the community in which they live. Helping to put things away and prepare snacks, singing in a group, listening to stories, putting costumes on, etc., are all activities that will introduce them to others and develop their sociability.
This is also a time when children imitate everything, mock everything, and store the words, images, and gestures of those around them. Our toddlers will be given free rein in the classroom to perfect their imitations. This is the time to play tea party or house, to joke around, etc. This is an age when a child likes himself because he thinks he’s funny and important, makes friends, builds his “social network,” – in fact, he will always be trying to grab the attention of others, and the more admired and liked he feels, the more exaggerated his impressions and clowning around will become. It is a fun time to watch them indulge. Your child will become a small little man or a small little lady ready to move on to the next step, perfecting what he or she has learned and becoming more and more independent.