Toddler/Younger Preschool Curriculum

The ECEC follows the SCEWD curriculum for toddlers that Identifies opportunities, goals and standards for:

Social – Spiritual Development


  • Capitalizing upon opportunities to facilitate trusting relationships with adults and peers.
  • Fostering children’s relationships with God through relationships, Bible stories, prayer, and chapel worship.
  • Providing environments that reflect children’s developing autonomy, interests, and decisions.
  • Teacher facilitated activities to reflect upon past, present, and future events and ideas.
  • Exploration of social roles and places that include gender, self-regulation, and initiative.
  • Supporting a continuum of problem-solving, self-regulation, and initiative.
Illinois Early Learning Guidelines
16 – 36 months
Social & Emotional Developmental Domain 1
Attachment Relationships: Children form secure attachment relationships with caregivers who are emotionally available, responsive, and consistent in meeting their needs.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children begin to use nonverbal and verbal communication to connect and reconnect with their attachment figure.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children demonstrate a desire for their attachment figure to share in their feelings, responses, and experiences.  Behaviors that demonstrate a need for physical proximity with the primary caregiver decrease, while in certain instances of distress, some children seek to be close to their attachment figure. 
Emotional Expression: Children demonstrate an awareness of the ability to identify emotions.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children continue to experience a wide range of emotions (e.g. affection, frustration, fear, anger, sadness). At this point in development, children will express and act on impulses, but begin to learn skills from their caregivers on how to control their emotional expression.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children begin to convey and express emotions through the use of nonverbal and verbal communication.  Children also begin to apply learned strategies from their caregivers to better regulate these emotions.
Relationships with Adults: Children demonstrate the desire and develop the ability to engage, interact, and build relationships with familiar adults.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children actively seek out familiar adults and begin to show an interest in adult tasks and roles.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children interact with adults to communicate ideas, share feelings, and solve problems. Children also actively explore adult roles and tasks.
Self-Concept: Children develop identity of self.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children become aware of themselves as distinct from others both physically and emotionally. During this period, children often struggle with the balance of being independent and needing nurturing from their caregivers.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children begin to identify and discuss their connections to other people and things. Children can also identify their feelings and interests and communicate them to others.
Relationships with peers: Children demonstrate the desire and develop the ability to engage and interact with other children.
  • 16 – 24 months – As play and communication matures, children begin to seek out interactions with peers.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children engage and maintain interactions with their peers through the use of developing social and play skills.
Empathy:  Children demonstrate an emerging ability to understand someone else’s feelings and to share in the emotional experience of others.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children begin to notice different emotions that other children are expressing and may begin to respond to these emotions.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children begin to exhibit an understanding that other people have feelings different from their own.

Communication Arts


  • Utilize graphic symbols in expressive and receptive contexts.
  • Utilize verbal cues in expressive and receptive contexts.
  • Incorporation of a wide variety of communication tools.
  • Literacy opportunities co-exist with drive for knowledge.
  • Create inferences through literature.
Illinois Early Learning Guidelines
16 – 36  months
Language Development, Communication, and Literacy Domain 3
Social Communication: Children demonstrate the ability to engage with and maintain communication with others.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children increase their capacity for complex interactions as they use a greater number of words and actions, in addition to better understanding the rules of conversational turn-taking.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children maintain social interactions through the pattern of turn-taking, and are able to build upon ideas and thoughts conveyed.
Receptive Communication: Children demonstrate the ability to comprehend both verbal and nonverbal communication.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children begin to demonstrate a complex understanding of meaning in words, facial expressions, gestures, and pictures.
  • 21 - 36 months - Children continue to expand their comprehension across a variety of contexts through the use of words, actions, and symbols.
Expressive Communication: Children demonstrate the ability to understand and convey thoughts through both verbal and nonverbal expressions. 
  • 16 – 24 months – Children continue to experiment with language and expand their vocabulary as they begin to speak in two-word utterances.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children communicate about present themes and begin to combine a few words into mini-sentences to express needs and wants.
Early Literacy: Children demonstrate interest in and comprehension of printed materials.
  • 16 – 24 months - Children Begin to demonstrate an understanding of printed words and materials.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children engage others in literacy activities, and have an increased awareness and understanding of the variety of different types of print found in their environment.

Expressive Arts


  • Provide environments that encourage children to initiate, explore, and develop two-and three dimensional representations.
  • Teacher – facilitated opportunities for children to explore various roles.
  • Opportunities to initiate and respond to musical mediums.
Illinois Early Learning Guidelines
Cognitive Development Domain 4
Creative Expression: Children demonstrate the ability to convey ideas and emotions through creative expression.
• 16 – 24 months – Children continue to show increasing ability as they engage with their caregiver(s) in music, movement, building, and play activities.
• 21 – 36 months – Children initiate and engage in music, movement, building, and play activities to interact with others and express ideas, feelings, and emotions. 



  • Foster good practices and understanding of self-care, dietary, and hygiene habits.
  • Environment provides flexibility, strength, and coordination challenges to further fine motor skills i.e.: grasp, pinch, twist, turn, roll, pull, squish, pour, swipe, snip, pound, squeeze, and smooth.
  •  Environment provides manipulation skill challenges i.e.: kicking, catching, striking, throwing, bouncing, dribbling, and trapping.
  • Environment provides locomotor challenges, i.e.: running, walking, hopping, skipping, leaping, jumping and sliding.
  • Environment provides nonlocomotor challenges, i.e.: twisting, turning, stretching, reaching, bending, shaking and pushing.
  • Teacher – Facilitated experiences to foster physical self-regulation and social skills
  • Engage in vigorous indoor and outdoor play 
Illinois Early Learning Guidelines
Physical Development and Health Domain 2
Gross Motor: Children demonstrate strength, coordination, and controlled use of large muscles.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children now have gained more control over their movements and begin to explore different ways they can move their bodies.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children begin to master more complex movements as coordination of different types of muscles continues to develop.
Fine Motor: Children demonstrate the ability to coordinate their small muscles in order to move and control objects.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children begin to coordinate their movements when using their small muscles and begin to manipulate various types of objects.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children effectively coordinate their small muscles to manipulate a wide array of objects, toys, and materials in different ways.
Perceptual: Children demonstrate the ability to distinguish, process, and respond to sensory stimuli in their environment.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children continue to work on using perceived sensory information to decide how to interact with their environment.
  • 21- 36 months – Children begin to process sensory information in a more efficient manner and use the information to modify behavior while interacting with the environment.
Self-Care: Children demonstrate the desire and ability to participate in and practice self-care routines.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children become active participants in addressing their own self-care needs with the support of the caregiver.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children attempt to attend to their self-care needs independently with less support from their caregivers.



  • Ample opportunities for sensory and manipulative play, capitalizing upon natural phenomena.
  • Whole experiences that foster numerical sense and scientific logic, i.e. cutting, mixing, measuring, hammering, gluing and taping, including cooking, woodworking and construction.
  •  Incorporating mathematical and scientific instruments, tools, and vocabulary into children’s work.
  • Experience for child to initiate data collection, hypothesis, prediction, and testing of scientific concepts.
Illinois Early Learning Guidelines
Cognitive Development Domain 4
Concept Development: Children demonstrate the ability to connect pieces of information in understanding objects, ideas and relationships.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children begin to understand object representation and begin to use verbal and nonverbal communication with objects use.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children begin to demonstrate the ability to classify objects based on common characteristics, and begin to apply knowledge of simple concepts to new situations.
Memory: Children demonstrate the ability to acquire, store, recall, and apply past experiences.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children recognize and anticipate the series of steps in familiar activities.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children anticipate the steps in experiences and activities, and understand the sequence of events. They may also remember and recall past events and translate knowledge of past experiences to new experiences.
Spatial Relationships: Children demonstrate an awareness of how objects and people move and fit in space.
  • 16 – 24 months- Children have a clearer sense of size and direction and use this knowledge to expand their understanding of how objects move and fit in relationship to each other. 
  • 21 – 36 months – Children can better predict how objects and people will fit and move in relationship to each other. Children have knowledge of object properties and apply this knowledge without having to rely on physical trial and error.
Symbolic Thought: Children demonstrate the understanding of concepts, experiences, and ideas through symbolic representation.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children demonstrate the beginning of symbolic thinking as they start to label objects in everyday life.  Children also use more complex social interactions and engage in imaginary play to make sense of the world around them.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children use their ability to label and think symbolically to engage in increasingly complex social interactions, exploration, and play. Children use these skills to recreate experiences, problem-solve, and explore relationships and roles.
Logic & Reasoning: Children demonstrate the ability to use knowledge, previous experiences, and trial and error to make sense of and impact their world.
  • 16 – 24 months - Children understand how purposeful and select actions can affect different objects and people. Children also begin to connect objects and ideas based on repetition and experiences.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children have a greater understanding of causation and can predict and choose specific actions to attain a desired result. Children also begin to apply past experiences and knowledge to form ideas.
Quantity & Numbers: Children demonstrate awareness of quantity, counting and numeric competencies.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children recognize various quantities of objects and people, and begin to accurately match number words to the correct amount.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children use language to demonstrate a basic understanding of number representation and quantity identification.
Science Concepts & Exploration: Children demonstrate a basis awareness of and use scientific concepts.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children begin to use experimentation to interact and engage with their environment in different ways. In addition, a new distinct interest in living thing emerges.
  • 21 – 36 months – Children use their communication skills to indicate interest in observations, experiences, and engagement with the world around them. Children actively experiment with their environment to make new discoveries happen.
Safety & Well-being: Children demonstrate the emerging ability to recognize risky situations and respond accordingly.
  • 16 – 24 months – Children begin to build a basic understanding of their physical limits and unsafe situations. Children are still motivated to interact and explore the environment with little regard to risks, and continue to rely on caregiver(s) to help manage their impulses. 
  • 21 – 36 months – Children will begin to demonstrate a limited ability to internalize what caregiver(s) communicates in relation to safety, rules, and well-being. Children continue to act upon impulse but begin to develop strategies to protect themselves in uncertain and potentially unsafe situations.