"The Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers" was published in 1997 by Teaching Strategies, Inc., to help parents and teachers get their children learning at an early age. The book focuses on research that emphasizes the importance of the first three years of a child's life in developing into a well-rounded adult. It features a number of points that help parents and educators approach toddler and infant learning, including five core components of the curriculum that can lead to teaching success.
Know the Students
Students in the infant and toddler ages present unique personality characteristics and development challenges that teachers can work with to begin education.
A toddler or infant must have certain needs met so that he can feel safe and comfortable enough to learn. These needs include trusting and nurturing relationships with adults and encouragement for their educational struggles, as well as basic needs such as safety and food.
Understanding the needs and personalities of your students will help you provide appropriate support for the learning process.
Create a "Responsive Environment"
Students learn best in an environment in which they feel secure; this is especially evident in young children who may be easily frightened by the unknown. To help a toddler or infant learn, provide an environment where the child feels welcome and safe to move around, play, and be herself.
Children respond to instructors when they know their instructors like them and can protect them from potential harm. Allowing students time to get used the environment, encouraging them to explore and play, and reassuring them that they are safe all help to develop a positive learning environment.
Provide a Role Model
Exposure to positive relationships and experiences boost a student's ability to learn.
Children begin to learn language and interaction through their daily experiences. They repeat words and tones they hear adults use, and also mimic behaviors. Therefore, instructors must monitor their own behavior to provide proper examples for their charges
The Creative Curriculum also explains a teacher's role in the child's life. The teacher serves as a role model but also a moderator for student interaction.
While it is important for a teacher to have a nurturing and responsive relationship with her students, she is also responsible for helping students develop relationships with each other. Teachers can encourage students to help each other or play together so that they are better prepared when they move into the larger classrooms of preschool and kindergarten.
Communicate with the Family
The Creative Curriculum places an emphasis on teachers working with parents and families for the child's benefit. Communicating with the families gives instructors insight into the child's personal life. Parents know if their children are having good days or bad days, if something is bothering them, or if they are having particular trouble in school.
Similarly, teachers can share a child's accomplishments and weakness with parents. This way, parents can continue to encourage their students and provide support outside the classroom.
- infant with four teeths image by Pavel Losevsky from Fotolia.com