toddler at toy boxThere is a much wider range of developmental differences among children this age, and neither parents nor teachers should get too obsessive about trying to impose a certain standard of learning abilities on their kids.  Fostering curiosity and exploration are far more important than mastery over basic skills.   That said, there are a number of key proficiencies that adults should help children develop between the ages of one and three.  The core curriculum for toddlers outlined herein will give home schooling parents and child care providers plenty of ideas for teaching toddlers these basic learning skills.

Toddler Learning: what kids should know by the start of preschool

Ideally, by the time a child is about 3 years old, they should be proficient in the following areas:

Cognitive Learning for 1- & 2-year-olds

  • Understand basic cause and effect
  • Understand orders and sequencing and concepts such as first and last


Language Skills for Toddlers

  • Speaking ability: By the time a child is 3-years-old, a stranger should be able to understand at least 75% of what they say.
  • At 3 years of age, a child should possess a vocabulary that consists of thousands of words.
  • They should be capable of expressing needs and making statements of observation in sentence form.


Toddler Motor Skills

  • Know how to cut and use safety scissors.
  • Have the ability to hold and properly use a writing utensil.
  • Be able to color within lines to a reasonable degree and make simple shapes on paper.
  • The ability to run, jump, hop, and stand on one foot for a brief period of time.
  • The ability to throw an object and kick a ball.


Core Knowledge & Basic Skills for Toddlers

  • Recognize and name the standard colors.
  • Recognize basic shapes such as circles or squares.
  • Be able to name and point to the basic areas of their body.
  • Be able to follow simple instructions of 2 or 3 sequential commands (for example, go get the ball, bring it here and place it on the table).


Mathematical Skills

  • Understand more versus less and have the ability to make gross estimations.


Complete list of learning for toddlers