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Best Practice Tips – Is it Age Appropriate?

Posted in: Blog | April 15, 2021

Children are very tactile. They learn so much by touch, and not only by touching with their hands. Being orally tactile, is in-built in small children. They learn from putting things in their mouths. This is why we must be hyper-vigilant about what our children are playing and learning with. Anything they are using unsupervised, and by that we mean playing without direct supervision, must be bigger than their open mouths. A good guide is, ‘if it fits through the middle of a large toilet roll centre, it’s too small.’

We are very lucky at TinyToes, in that we have a large range of age appropriate resources. Unfortunately, they often get moved from one area to another, and are not always returned, or if they are, they are incomplete.

This causes two problems. Firstly, resources which are inappropriate for our younger children, can put them in danger of choking, if they are used, or left, in the ‘wrong’ places. Secondly, if we don’t put them away properly, they become lost, or incomplete, and are therefore no use. What a waste of resources!

Supervising children who are using objects smaller than their open mouths, involves more than simply being in the same area as them. It is impossible to keep our eyes glued on all of the children all of the time. So how can we keep them safe?

o Only ever let them use small objects if they are working directly with you in a small group. Count the objects at the beginning, and at the end of the activity.
o Don’t have small objects in the area unless they are for a specific, supervised activity.
o Make sure you return them to their correct, safe, storage space.
o Be aware, especially in the Culture Room, of which drawers the children are taking things from. Perhaps we need to review the way in which resources in that area are stored.

There are more than enough age- appropriate toys, games, and books for all of the children. If we respect where they stay and how they are used, and teach the children to do the same, we will benefit from children being free to develop in a safe and exciting environment.

It is our responsibility to safeguard our children, and to teach them to respect their, and others, belongings. Having a floor littered with toys isn’t an indication of children having a good time, rather, it shows children who are not being taught how to play constructively, and with care and respect.

We are all caring, thoughtful individuals at TinyToes, and we always put the children first. Let’s help them even more by choosing age-appropriate resources for whichever group we are working with.