What’s special about being two?


Helen Moylett, lead tutor on our Leading Learning with Two-year-olds MA Pathway, explains a bit about what it means to be two and sheds some light on the importance of this pivotal stage in a child's development.

Being Two Going on Three: A Year of Excitement and Wonder

Most of us can remember very little (possibly nothing) about being two-years-old. Nonetheless, many of our patterns of behaviour and our feelings about ourselves as learners are built on the great explosion of learning and development that occurred during our third year. 

Two-year-olds are generally mobile, curious and full of exploratory enthusiasm for the world and the objects and people in it. However, their exuberance and intense physicality sometimes gets them into trouble. They may be known as the ‘terrible twos’ and be told off for not being able to share and ‘play nicely’ with others. 

Adults often find sharing difficult, so why do we expect young children who have just learnt the concept of ‘mine’ to be so compliant with an agenda which seems very much like giving away something they regard as theirs -- often with no guarantee they can ever have it back?!

Although they need to learn to share and take turns, this is a gradual process and it is inappropriate to expect high levels of compliance and empathy. Two-year-olds are not just small three or four-year-olds – a year makes a big difference when it’s a third of your life!

So how do we progress from these egocentric ideas about the world to ideas of community and helping others?

Two-year-olds have a lot to learn about themselves, other people and how social rules work, but they are programmed to do just that. During the year between two and three, social, physical and language development progress rapidly.

The Leading Learning with Two-year-olds MA Pathway explores these areas, as well as ways in which psychological drives of forming relationships and being competent and autonomous (as described by Deci and Ryan, 1995) can be fostered in two-year-olds through adult support for play and exploration, active learning and critical and creative thinking. Some ongoing themes will be working with parents and leading learning.

We will cover a lot of ground mixing practical ideas and activities with theory and the generation of new ideas and plans for development.

The group will be a resource for learning from each other as we share our own stories and ideas that both trouble and enlighten us about this fascinating stage in our human development.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1995). ‘Human autonomy: The basis for true self-esteem’. In M. Kemis (ed.), Efficacy, agency, and self-esteem (31–49). New York: Plenum.

A bit more about Helen Moylett

Helen is an independent early years consultant and writer.

She has been a junior, infant, nursery and home-school liaison teacher, a local authority advisory teacher and a university lecturer in primary and early years education.

Helen was an expert adviser to the Tickell EYFS review team and co-authored Development Matters with Nancy Stewart. Also with Nancy, she wrote best sellers Understhttps://twitter.com/HelenMoylettanding the revised EYFS and Emerging, expected and exceeding: understanding the revised EYFS Profile.

She has also written Active Learning (2013) for Practical Pre-school books and edited Characteristics of Effective Early Learning (2014) for Open University Press.


You can connect and keep up with Helen on Twitter: @HelenMoylett

For more information about the Leading Learning with Two-year-olds MA Pathway with CREC, including 2019/20 course dates, fees and entry requirements, please visit the MA Pathway page, here.


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