Hanna Perkins’ Parent/Toddler Group is more than a simple play group. Meeting for 90 minutes, twice a week, every moment has purpose.

Giving young children manageable exposure to the kind of social experiences that will become part of their everyday lives; and introduce them to the process of learning.

Giving parents/caregivers better understanding of what’s going on in a child’s mind, and equip them with tools to effectively guide the toddler through this important developmental stage.

The Parent/Toddler group helps children and parents work together through this important developmental period.

Teachers help parents give meaning to, and verbalize, each child’s actions. This helps  the child start sequencing actions – creating connection between before and after, and building a narrative – prerequisites for symbolic thinking, language development and literacy.

Children are introduced to the natural world through growing plants, observations of the weather and attention to small animals. Art activities, dramatic play, puzzles, books, and a mindfully selected variety of toys:

  • Enhance development of fine motor skills
  • Develop problem-solving abilities;
  • Help children find pleasure in mastering basic skills (such as holding a marker or using scissors);
  • Increase attention span;
  • Foster tolerance for the frustrations that are part of learning itself.

Over the course of 90 minutes, toddlers experience transitions, excitement, sharing, waiting and following instructions – learning to manage these ordinary challenges under the caring guidance of a loved one in an environment that is routine and comfortable. Parents/caregivers come to understand these stress points from the child’s perspective – learning what to say and when for gentle, effective guidance that helps the child through routine social challenges.


  • 9:30-11 a.m., Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Ages 15 months-3 years; parent/caregiver stays with child
  • 3:1 student-to-teacher ratio / 1:1 student-to-parent ratio
  • Child development specialist on hand for regular consultation
  • Healthful snack served at each session
  • Cost: $350/month. Includes weekly meetings with a child development specialist. Financial assistance may be available.

A structured, predictable schedule helps toddlers with their rudimentary understanding of time, and frees them to enjoy activities without worrying about what might happen next. It also begins preparing them for the structured environment they’ll experience later at school.

Typical Day

  • Arrival: Teaches autonomy and responsibility as each child picks up his/her name marker for attendance and stores personal items in an assigned cubby.
  • Free play: Quality time for child and parent/caregiver together, with opportunity to consult with the teacher and/or child development specialist.
  • Snack time: Each day a different child (with parent) sets up snack time for the group, emphasizing structure, self-control and responsibility.
  • Rug time: Includes activities such as a song with hand motions; children learn to work as a group, and experience a physical activity in a contained and limited way.
  • Dressing to go outside and depart: The last of several transitions in the day promotes independence and self-care skills (putting on and zipping a jacket).

About the bathroom

Toddlers think a lot about toileting and everything that relates to it. So it’s a big part of the curriculum. We support toilet mastery by emphasizing the child’s active participation – working with the parent to help each child learn to attend to his or her own body signals in his or her own time.

block-play-anissa thompson_freeimagesToddlers are beginning to think on their own and act as individuals. But they don’t have much experience with the complex world around them, and their vocabulary to ask about it is limited.

Social interactions that are routine to us are new to them, and they don’t understand the powerful feelings these interactions can create inside them.

As a parent, you want to help. But many parents admit they don’t understand what’s suddenly going on inside their child’s fast-developing mind – or how to provide the right kind of guidance.

Image courtesy of FreeImages.com/Anissa Thompson