Pedagogy for infants and toddlers
Specialised infant and toddler pedagogies are crucial for young children’s effective development.
Infant and toddler pedagogy is pedagogy designed for and focused on the needs of children under three. It is focused on strong, intimate relationships and responsive and reciprocal interactions between children and their caregiver(s).
Experiences of responsive, attuned caregiving in the first years of life facilitate emotional and cognitive well-being. Pedagogies focused on building strong, attuned relationships with children support children’s resilience and security. Positive relationships with caregivers have far-reaching consequences, setting the foundations for adjustment, development and learning across the child’s education.
There is a strong and well-established research base on the importance of emotionally attuned relationships early in life. There is also a large body of research which suggests that pedagogical skills such as developing joint attention with infants and toddlers are linked to a range of cognitive and social skills including increased abilities in language and communication. Finally, another well-established finding in the research literature is that low quality care and inadequate relationships with adults are a source of stress for infants and toddlers, and associated with a negative impact on brain development, emotional well-being and the immune system which can remain across a child’s lifetime.
- Focus on the infant-caregiver relationship as a major component of practice
- Build firm relationships by increasing one-to-one interaction opportunities and being positive and responsive while allowing time for relationships to develop
- Develop strong non-verbal communication skills (particularly listening), and develop sensitivity to infants’ and toddlers’ gestures and body movements
- Reflect on practice and the quality of relationships
- Build positive relationships with other caregivers and parents that enable collaboration
- What strategies do you use to build relationships with infants and toddlers?
- Have you learned to understand and respond to each infant or toddler’s individual cues and communications?
- How do you ensure calm, unhurried routines for infants and toddlers?
- How often do you develop moments of joint attention with infants and toddlers?
- How language-rich are your interactions with infants and toddlers?
"When you're so busy dealing with the day-to-day, it's great that The Education Hub provides a snapshot of a topic so I can get to the information I need quickly."