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.
Tina Tacken, leader or the infant and toddler space at the AUT Childcare Centre, discusses how she balances Magda Gerber’s concept of respectful practice with the need to develop a rich language environment
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