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Teachers in high-quality settings, both family child care homes and centers, bring many important attributes to the job of guiding infant and toddler learning and development. These attributes include: an understanding of child development, the ability to observe and identify each child’s unique characteristics, interpersonal skills to support relationships with families and colleagues, and a professional commitment to ongoing learning.
Infants and toddlers thrive in places where they can feel secure, express their drive to learn, and build their competence. They rely on adults for nurturance and guidance as they learn. When infants and toddlers receive care in a relationship that consistently meets their physical and emotional needs, that relationship becomes a base for exploration and discovery.
For children in an infant/toddler program, the teacher is the center of their experience. The teacher notices when children are hungry or tired and takes care of them. As children grow and change, the teacher puts materials in the indoor and outdoor environments that introduce new opportunities for exploration and discovery. When a young infant reaches out to touch another baby, the teacher is nearby—smiling, providing encouragement, and helping the children learn how to be with each other. The teacher is at once a nurturer, a guide, a supporter, an encourager, an observer, a planner, a provider of new experiences, a safe lap, and a listener. The teacher helps the children feel that they are in a place that was made just for them.
The Discussion Board is a tool for sharing thoughts and ideas about class materials.
1. Tell us what you know developmentally about toddlers.
Example: What is a toddler like? For example, toddlers say “no” all of the time, they are distracted easily, etc.