Two years old may sound young, but there is plenty that little ones are learning at the developmental age.
This year, the is offering 2-year-old preschool for the first time. The program mostly focuses on teaching kids to play with each other, recognizing the feelings of their peers and introducing them to routines.
"We want to provide a positive experience for the young children, getting their confidence ready and teaching them social skills," said Miriam Gerrietts, the Recreation Department's preschool coordinator.
In addition to overseeing the preschool program, Gerrietts teaches the 3- and 4-year-old preschool class at Lydell Community Center, which is now in its fifth year. Since its beginning, it has expanded from a Monday-Wednesday-Friday class, now also offering a Tuesday-Thursday class.
Recreation Department Director Carin Kelland said the increasing demand in preschool programs led them to open a section for 2-year-olds.
“It’s really just an extension of our existing Lydell preschool program," Kelland said. "Our hope is that those toddlers stick with us for 3- and 4-year-old preschool, like a feeder system."
So far, the 2-year-old preschool idea has also taken off, with 12 toddlers in each section and eight other families on the waiting list.
Both the 3-and 4-year-old class and the 2-year-old class have two teachers per room. The new 2-year-old preschool classes run from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and another section is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The classes are taught by Martha Fleck and Sabrina Henderson.
"A lot of the expansion of this program is due to their efforts," Kelland said.
The cost of the tuition for the classes covers the department's expenses, Kelland said. The majority of participants are Whitefish Bay residents, although residency is not required.