In the Avenues Small World program for 2- and 3-year-old students, the children take partner walks with a teacher and one peer in the neighborhood as part of our regular spring curriculum. These walks encourage curiosity, friendship and adventure!
Each Small World student takes a walk with a teacher and one classmate, making the experience more intimate than a more typical whole-class outing. Instead of walking in the neighborhood as a group, two toddlers walk independently without holding the teacher’s hand, or hand-in-hand with his or her partner! This allows students to explore the outside world freely, stopping when they want to look at a construction vehicle digging or a window washer at work. The freedom of walking outside allows children to experience their own small world in a new way. They see the sidewalk and street at eye level, and they are better able to examine things such as a crack in the sidewalk or their own reflection in a store window.
An important aspect of partner walks is that Small World teachers encourage students to lead. The children choose the destination and, within reason, guide the route and duration of the outing. They gain a new perspective of the world when they get to be “in charge” of the walk.
Walking outside with a teacher and one partner encourages a friendship with a peer that a child might not otherwise befriend. Partnering two Small World students together for a walk brings two classmates together in a novel way, encouraging more language and interaction between peers, an important developmental step in early childhood. Partners encourage each other as they spy various rocks at the construction site and take turns walking backwards while laughing at their own silly behavior.
These walks take children to the High Line Park, into art galleries to see “real grown up artwork,” into the local deli and even down the street to visit the “school for kids that are 3 years old.” Small World partner walks are just one way the Small World program encourages Avenues’ youngest students to embrace their own small world as a truly fascinating place.
- Early Education
- Small World