Specific Factors Considered while Developing an Infant/Toddler Curriculum
Between birth and age three, a child goes through three distinct developmental stages: young infant, mobile infant, and toddler. The type of care and experiences given should change when the child's stage changes and should also take into consideration transitions between stages.
Infants learn holistically
Infants do not experience social, emotional, intellectual, language, and physical learning separately. Adults are most helpful to the young child when they interact in ways that reflect an understanding of the fact that the child is learning from the whole experience, not just the part of the experience that the adult gives attention.
Relationships are primary for development
The infant is dependent on close, caring, ongoing relationships for positive physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth. Infants develop best when they are sure of having trusted caregivers who can read their cues and respond to their needs.
Infants are developing their first sense of self through contact with others
An infant or toddler learns most of how he or she thinks and feels by imitating and incorporating the behaviors of those who care for her or him— how they first see themselves, how they think they should function, how they expect others to function in relation to them.
Home culture is an important part of a child's developing identity
Because an infant's sense of self is such a crucial part of a child's make-up, early care must ensure that links with family, home culture, and home language are a central part of program policy.
Infants are active, self-motivated learners
Environments and activities that keep motivation, experimentation, and curiosity alive must be constructed to facilitate the infant learning process.
Infants are not all alike - they are individuals with unique temperaments
Because of these differences, staff need to individualize and adapt to each child.
Language skills and habits develop early
The development of language is particularly crucial during the infant-toddler period. Quality care provides many opportunities for infants to engage in meaningful, experienced-based communication with their caregivers, and have their communications acknowledged and encouraged.
Environments are powerful
Infants and toddlers are strongly influenced by the environments and routines they experience each day. This is particularly true for very young infants who cannot move themselves from one environment to another. The physical environment, group size, daily schedules, plans, and routines must foster the establishment of small intimate groups in which relationships with trusted caregivers can develop.
Adults exhibit strong emotions and opinions when entrusted with the care of infants
Parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers often experience heightened emotions about how to care for infants and toddlers. Strategies for dealing with conflicts that may emerge between parents and staff must be considered by each program.