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ECE Resources

ECE webinar: What is specialist about infant and toddler practice?

Professor Carmen Dalli (Victoria University of Wellington) and Dr Karyn Aspden (Massey University) draw on local and international research to explore key messages about the specialised nature of highquality infant and toddler practice. The webinar also provides practical advice and insights about effective pedagogy when working with infants and toddlers. 

To help you navigate the webinar easily, there is a list of the key topics covered in the session below, including the time each was discussed. The key ideas discussed in this webinar are also shared in a short insight article

Topics discussed in this webinar 

Times shown in minutes and seconds from the start of the video: 

2.37Why do infants and toddlers require a specialist practice? 
8.24What are the key ideas from neurobiological research that support the need for specialist practice? 
16.42What do high quality infant and toddler practices look like? 
34.32The importance of room layout to support optimal group size 
37.10Is there a role for love in relational pedagogies? 
43.36Pedagogies for play 
46.36Which aspect of infant and toddler pedagogy is most important to focus on when stretched for time and attention? 

Questions for exploring the key ideas from this webinar 

How do you understand the professional imperative of care for infants and toddlers, and how is different from motherly care? 

What kind of shared understandings do you and your team have around what it means to care, and what you want children to feel in a caring interaction or moment? 

How do you honour and affirm whānau relationships through your own relationship with each child? 

Have you explored the strategies for extending children’s language experiences described in the webinar? 

In what ways is your infant and toddler environment safe and predictable while at the same time challenging, and how does this vary for each child? 

Further reading 

This short entry describes key teaching: 

Dalli, C (2019). Key teacher in infant pedagogy. In M. A. Peters. Encyclopedia of Teacher Education. Springer. Living edition.  

This short article collates key pedagogical tips for working with infants and toddlers: 

Dalli, C. (2018). Refreshing our work with infants and toddlers: Mantras from theory and research into practice. Folio, 22 (1), 15-20. 

This is the literature review mentioned in the webinar: 

Dalli, C., White,J., Rockel,J., Duhn, I., with Buchanan, E., Davidson,S., Ganly, S., Kus, L., & Wang, B. (2011). Quality early childhood education for under-two-year-olds: what should it look like? A literature review. Ministry of Education.  

This short paper updates and develops the key ideas in the long literature review above: 

Dalli, C. (2014) Quality for babies and toddlers in early years settings. Occasional Paper 4. TACTYC, Association for the Professional Development of Early Years Educators.  

This is a good summary of research on group size and the need for new research: 

Dalli, C., & Pairman, A. (2013). Group size in infant and toddler settings: Old news in a new context calls for new research. The First Years. New Zealand Journal of Infant and Toddler Education, 15 (2), 8-16. 

This article discusses complex environments, and Ann Pairman’s thesis can be accessed at Victoria University of Wellington library: 

Pairman, A. (2018). Little boxes, rambling houses and children’s agency. Early Childhood Folio, 22(1), 27–32.  

Pairman, A. (2018). Living in this space: Case studies of children’s lived experiences in four spatially diverse early childhood centres.  Unpublished PhD thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. 

Other recommended reading includes: 

Aspden, K., Clarke, L. & McLaughlin, T. (2019). Transitions as opportunities: Teaching practices to support major transitions for infants and todders. The First Years: Ngā Tau Tuatahi, 21, 2, 5-12. 

Clarke, L., Aspden, K., & McLaughlin, T. (2018). Teachers’ perspectives on how to support and promote toddlers’ learning during peer conflicts. The First Years: Ngā Tau Tuatahi, 20, 2, 19-26. 

 Clarke, L., McLaughlin, T. W., & Aspden, K. (2017). Promoting learning during toddlers’ peer conflicts: Teachers’ perspectives. Early Years. 

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