Older Toddler Program

The Shlenker School encourages the social, emotional, cognitive, physical and spiritual growth of each child. Goals for children enrolled in the Older Toddler program (children two to three years old) include: developing trust, establishing autonomy and self-control, separating from family members, building on existing language skills, and learning to be with peers. Activities focus on sensory experiences, hands-on learning, constructive play, music and movement, communication with peers, and handling feelings in acceptable, socially appropriate ways.

How are the Older Toddler classes structured?

Children must be at least two years old prior to September 1 in order to be in the Older Toddler grade level. The Older Toddler classes meet from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, with morning drop off beginning at 8:45 am. Prior to 8:45 am, teachers are gathering materials and preparing the classroom for the day. We thank you for respecting their morning set-up time and for refraining from entering classrooms prior to 8:45 am. The group size is limited to 12 children in each class, and two teachers are assigned to each group of children. Our 1:6 ratio meets accreditation guidelines administered by the National Association for the Education of Young Children's (NAEYC) Academy for Early Childhood Program Administration.

We currently offer a 5-day program for Older Toddlers. In addition to a daily schedule that includes a short group time, free choice in learning centers, snack and outside play, Older Toddlers participate in Arts Alive!, music and in Kabbalat Shabbat services each Friday. Children attending our program also participate in motor development on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

How should my child be dressed?

Children should come to school comfortable and ready to play. Please do not send them in clothes on which you do not want to see paint, play dough or food. Early learning can be messy! For safety purposes, please do not send your child in any type of open toe or heel shoes, with or without socks. This includes Crocs™, sandals, clogs, etc. In the event a child's toes are stepped on, closed toe and heel shoes will protect his/her feet.

What should I bring for the first day?

  • 4-5 photos of people or pets who are important to your child (mom, dad, siblings, grandparents, etc.); please label photos with "Mom”, "Nana”, "Daddy”, etc.

These will be used to make a family collage for your child. Photos will not be returned.

  • Extra set of clothes, undergarments, socks and shoes

(Please label each piece of clothing with your child's name, including socks and shoes, and place in a Ziploc bag also labeled with child's name)

  • 64 count of diapers and baby wipes (if your child uses diapers)
  • Any transitional objects that might calm your child (blanket, toy, pacifier)
  • Blue Shlenker tote bag from last year (children new to the school will be provided with a bag).

Due to limited storage space in the classroom, please do not send backpacks or other items for your child to carry to and from school each day. Teachers will pack each child's blue Shlenker bag with art, other work, and school correspondence on Friday to be returned on Monday. We use this routine specifically so that backpacks and other tote bags are not needed throughout the week.

  • Small blanket and crib sheet (fits over nap mat).

We provide each child with an individual nap mat to be used only by him/her for the school year. This 2” thick mat is cleaned and sanitized each day. Due to limited storage space, please limit your child's belongings to a small blanket, a crib sheet, if desired. We purchase and plan on having a mat available for each child; therefore, it is not necessary to send a mat to school with your child.

Please do not send: toy weapons or other violent toys, jewelry or money.

What food do I need to provide?

We follow nutrition guidelines set by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and NAEYC. We provide a mid-morning snack that includes one serving from two different food groups. Parents will have an opportunity to participate in our parent snack day by signing up to bring a healthy snack to share with the class on the designated day. Additional information will be provided about food guidelines. Your teachers will talk to you to reconfirm food allergies or any dietary needs your child might have. Please provide a healthy lunch with a drink each day. If your child's lunch needs refrigeration, please place a frozen "cold pack” inside the lunch box. We are unable to refrigerate or heat food in the classroom. Please refrain from sending soft drinks or candy, and remember to include any needed utensils. Please remember no pork or shellfish may be brought into the building.

What about toilet learning?

Our toilet training philosophy is to collaborate and respect each family's tradition in this process. We recognize that children develop at different rates, and that they will achieve bowel and bladder control when they are both physiologically and developmentally ready. When a child shows beginning success in the home environment, we will support their efforts and incorporate potty training within the limitations of the particular group. Teachers will provide regular and consistent opportunities for the children the use the restroom in support of parents' efforts. It is important that the teachers and families stay in communication during this time to ensure the child's success. We do not have strict ages to begin or achieve potty training at Shlenker.

Regular School Hours:

Early Bird Program 7:30 am – 8:45 am
Early Childhood Classes 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Afternoon Adventures Program 12:30 pm – 3:20 pm
Extended Day Program 3:20 pm – 5:30 pm
Children may be dropped off as early as 8:45 am.

Important names to know

Janna Barnhart, Early Childhood Division Head
Dr. Michelle Barton, Head of School
Tara Gassett, Director of Admissions
Staci Jefferson, Early Childhood Administrative Assistant