First Classes that Make the Grade

Make Sure the Program is Age-Appropriate

Whether it's a music session or a gym class, the program must fit the specific physical and emotional needs of a toddler. "For a child this age, the point is exploring the world through the senses, not going home with a completed project or learning a specific skill," Teitelman says. "An 18-month-old can't stand at an easel and paint a landscape. But she can dip her hands into the paint and see how it feels."

Toddler classes should also be repetitive. "Though this seems of little value to adults, nothing is old hat to 1-year-olds," Teitelman observes. "Each time they repeat an activity, they're learning something new."

Similarly, the tempo of the class should be toddler-friendly. "Young children may need a lot of transition time between activities, so the teacher needs to take that into account," says Teitelman. Every child has a different threshold of interest, too, so a class that allows kids to begin and end projects at their own pace is ideal.

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