Provide several different options for toddlers to choose from, arranged in learning centers. There should be a mixture of quiet activities (such as reading) and noisier activities (such as a sensory table) available every day. All center options for toddlers should be limited to small group activities. If possible, an adult should be available to assist at each center during this small group time. If there are a limited number of teachers available for this, be sure to float between centers and provide assistance to the children as needed.
Transition times can be tricky in any classroom, and toddlers are no exception. When it is necessary for children to get ready for lunch, for example, it is important to give the children a warning and a countdown. Announce when it is five minutes, two minutes, and one minute until clean-up time. Sing a familiar song during transitions so toddlers make a connection. Assist toddlers as much as necessary with hand-washing, toileting, and clean up. Allow toddlers to help set the table for lunch. Give them simple tasks such as passing out napkins or plastic cups.
When nap time is over, allow more time for small group learning centers. These can be a repeat of what you provided in the morning, or a whole new set of activities. Allow children to move freely from one activity to another, but make sure your centers are not becoming overcrowded.