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The Six Stages of Early Development

From the moment it was confirmed, to the moment of their arrival, you have anticipated and planned for everything. These next stages are the most crucial, however. The first six stages of a child's educational development can determine their future.

At The Learning Experience®, we have designed a curriculum around the six early stages of development and built a foundation for kids to learn, play and grow in our state-of-the-art facilities under the care of our nurturing teachers and staff.


Stage 1: Infant (6 weeks to 1 year old)

At TLE®, we realize that your infant is the center of your world, and we treat them with equal importance. For that reason, our infant centers have been designed for maximum safety, efficiency, and security. Each detail has been meticulously planned to ensure that your child experiences the same comforts of home while they spend the day with us. Everything from the selection of infant equipment, toys, curriculum, and activities, to the screening and training of our infant caregivers, has been carefully orchestrated to ensure that your infant never wants for anything. Parents can leave their baby with us and feel confident that their infant is being cared for in the most loving way.

Infants will experience:

  • Regular playtime including belly and music time, exploration, stimulation, as well as nap and feeding times that we keep consistent with your baby’s individual schedule.
  • Sign language is introduced to increase early advancement in children’s ability to communicate.
  • All infants have their own personal cubby and crib, and we provide private nursing rooms for moms.
  • Private and clean nursing rooms equipped with gliders are provided for mothers that wish to nurse at the center.
  • A 14-step diaper changing procedure is strictly adhered to.
  • Toys, gliders, cribs and changing stations are sanitized daily.

Stage 2: Toddler (1 to 2 years old)

When your child reaches the toddler stage, they have reached their first milestone. They are no longer infants, and have grown into the mobile stage where they begin to investigate and explore the world around them. At The Learning Experience®, our energetic and caring teachers encourage and gently guide each toddler through this important exploratory and discovery stage.

Your toddler's natural inquisitiveness will be encouraged and nurtured with daily activities that include music, movement, fitness, playing with toys and equipment, art supplies, blocks, and books that encourage and support their urge to explore and discover. Since toddlers learn through play and exploration, we give them the space, age-appropriate materials, and stimulation they need to help quench their thirst for knowledge of the world around them. Toddler rooms are designed to be self-contained, with a diaper changing station and a refrigerator and food preparation area.  

A typical day in the life of a TLE® toddler is filled with stimulating, age-appropriate activities and materials. Our Little Learners™ curriculum focuses on eye-hand coordination, motor development and problem solving. Little Learners™ is written by the National Academy for Educators and Caregivers® and is distributed to each center monthly.

Toddlers will experience:

  • Interactive play, music, and dance.
  • Outdoor time encourages social engagement in plenty of fresh air and sunshine.
  • Age-appropriate fitness toys and activities keep toddlers on the move.
  • Self-help skills such as washing hands, picking up after themselves and sharing are taught to this age group in order to foster sociality assimilation.

Stage 3: Twaddler (2 to 2½ years old)

At The Learning Experience® (TLE®), our twaddler program is the next stage of development following our toddler program. Twaddlers still have the need to explore, but with far more to learn and experience; all while still having lots of fun!

Group Circle Time

Up until now, most of the play with infants and toddlers has been independent. To get twaddlers more accustomed to social participation, we start each morning with group circle time.

Potty Training

This stage also marks the beginning of a child's potty training journey. Our staff frequently asks each child if they have to go to the restroom, and then guides them through the process. Before you know it, you have a potty-trained child.

Little Learners™ Curriculum

Our Little Learners™ curriculum helps twaddlers as they pursue their priority of exploring and nurtures their increasing need to communicate. By this point in their development, twaddlers have expanded their language skills, and our curriculum helps to enhance their ability to communicate verbally.

A day in the life of a twaddler is packed with fun!

  • Beginning with social skills, twaddlers will participate in short group circle times.
  • Engagement in imaginary play, creative arts and a colorful assortment of reading options.
  • Potty training and beginner daily life skills.
  • A daily nap and quiet, soothing books help unwind a busy twaddler.

Stage 4: Prepper (2½ to 3 years old)

As children reach the prepper stage, they experience rapid increases in physical, cognitive, developmental and social skills. With their skills on the rise, it is the perfect time to introduce them to My Little L.E.A.P.® Books (Learning Experience Academic Program®). These books have been designed to challenge the quickly developing verbal skills of each child and to teach them about language, letter recognition, shapes, colors, numbers, science, manners, etiquette, math, art, music, and physical fitness. L.E.A.P.® encourages each child to achieve success independently, while also developing intellectually, socially, and physically. The prepper program was designed to meet the special needs of maturing two and three-year olds to build a perfect bridge to our preschool classroom.

L.E.A.P.® provides prepper teachers with a comprehensive monthly curriculum that also includes a monthly workbook for each student. These workbooks are completed by the children and sent home to parents so that they can share in what their prepper is learning.

Reinforced Potty Training

Once a child is mature enough to handle "potty time" by himself/herself, he/she may enter our prepper program, where continued potty training is reinforced. In the prepper’s classroom, teachers are prepared for "potty accidents."

Computers and Technology

As our society becomes increasingly more dependent on computers and technology, it becomes even more important that children are introduced to technology at an early age. At TLE®, our preppers begin this process with a very basic introduction to computers and technology.

A prepper's day is packed with fun!

  • Through our proprietary L.E.A.P.® (Learning Experience Academic Program®) curriculum, preppers are taught early writing and object recognition skills to help prepare them for reading and preschool.
  • An increased focus on developmental behavior, including social skills.
  • Reinforcement of potty training.
  • Basic lessons in computer skills and technology.

Stage 5: Preschooler (3 to 5 years)

Preschoolers are growing up; they are potty trained and are ready to conquer the world! At this stage, children are like sponges. They absorb all of the information around them and are eager to master the new skills they have acquired. To help satisfy their appetite for learning, we equip our preschool classrooms with challenging equipment and toys that assist in satisfying their thirst for knowledge.

Our preschools are broken up into three completely separate classes according to chronological age and developmental stage. We do this to provide an environment where children can be independent and exercise a variety of personal, social, and emotional skills with children at similar stages of development.

  • Vital cognitive skills, such as matching, sequencing, storytelling, and writing are all incorporated into the preschooler’s daily routine.
  • Preschoolers are introduced to Fun With Phonics®, an early reading program.
  • Preschoolers are also introduced to a foreign language for the first time with our L.E.A.P. into Spanish® or L.E.A.P. into Mandarin® program.
  • Socio-dramatic play is encouraged at our Make Believe Boulevard®.

Stage 6: Kindergartner* (5 years old)

The Learning Experience® pre-k/kindergarten program is only offered in select centers. Where kindergarten is offered, it is only offered to those children that (1) have missed the local school cut-off, or (2) have entered a half day pre-k/kindergarten program in the public school system and will be entering first grade the following school year.

Entering kindergarten is one of the biggest steps your child will take. This is a very exciting time and selecting the appropriate kindergarten environment is important. In addition to our L.E.A.P. curriculum, our pre-k/kindergarten classes provide an environment for children to have fun while taking part in open-ended exploration, investigation, and discovery. As they are busy exploring, investigating, and discovering, they will also build their self-confidence and self-esteem. Our pre-k/kindergarten is the perfect environment to provide children the opportunity for optimum growth in academics, socialization, physical fitness, and emotional well-being.

All pre-k/kindergarten teachers at TLE® are state-certified and the curriculum is administered in accordance with state standards to ensure readiness for first grade. Additionally, most teachers enhance the curriculum with additional activities and learning tools. The curriculum includes playground time, dramatic play, the arts, music, computers and more.

Pre-k/kindergarteners at TLE® learn about and master many of the skills and concepts necessary to enter first grade:

  • How to write their first and last name using the proper capitalization, spacing and letter formation
  • How to recognize and print the letters of the alphabet
  • How to recognize and write numbers
  • How to use the library and read literature
  • Language development
  • Computer experience with specially selected software and programs
  • Visual discrimination
  • Health and nutrition
  • Journal writing
  • Understanding the purpose of the calendar
  • Identify the planet, country, state, and city that they live in
  • How to utilize objects of scientific exploration
  • How to explore the world of art, music, physical fitness, science and dance

A typical day in the life of TLE® kindergartener includes:

  • Our kindergarten teachers are state-certified and plan their lessons according to your state’s standards.
  • Our kindergarten programs prepares your child for the next development stage by helping them master not only their social, cognitive, and physical skills, but also more complex concepts such as distinguishing between left and right, problem-solving, and independent reasoning.