Every morning, the Toddlerland students use their big bridge and wide window to watch children and parents arrive and depart. Often, the children wave “bye-bye” to their own parents before beginning their play at EC3. Seeing parents leave in the morning and arrive again in the afternoon is one way that young children develop the cognitive skill of object permanence—the understanding that an object or a person still exists even if the child can’t see or hear them. Twentieth-century developmental psychologist Jean Piaget labeled this the “sensorimotor stage” of cognitive development, when infants and toddlers learn about the world through movement, reflexes, senses, and by manipulating materials. (This is why a game of “peek-a-boo” is so fun to play with a baby; they actually think that the person or object does not exist when they can’t see it!)
This week, waving “bye-bye” also sparked a little discussion opportunity about the weather. It was pretty rainy and stormy–so Ellie and Marie had a great time watching the mesmerizing raindrops fall along the window.