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Infants & Toddlers workbook

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Infants & Toddlers online course

Infants & Toddlers

An online course from The Education Hub

Below are your notes and reflections from Part 1: Core principles for infant and toddler pedagogy

Notes and reflections from ‘How do you view babies?’
Notes and reflections from ‘A portrait of an infant/toddler-caregiver relationship’
Relate your learning to practice

Drawing again on the ideas presented in the previous reading, in this activity we want you to cultivate (or further enhance your skills in) the art of presence. Remember that presence means both physical and emotional presence, and the total orientation of your attention towards the child and what they are experiencing. It requires the careful use of eye contact and body language, as well as responsiveness to the child’s cues (you might choose to review the sections of the reading on listening, responsiveness, reciprocity, imitation and joint attention/intersubjectivity which can help you to be fully present). This attentiveness should be akin to engrossment: you should be still and quiet, not trying to do something else at the same time (so it will be important to choose an appropriate time to practise this skill). After your practice, make some notes in response to the following reflective questions:

Below are your notes and reflections from Part 2: Responsiveness

Notes and reflections from ‘Developing intersubjectivity with infants and toddlers’
Notes and reflections from ‘An introduction to serve and return’
Relate your learning to practice

In Part 1, you chose a focus child with whom you will work on all of the following activities. This week we want you to try out a serve and return interaction with your focus child. It is a good idea to ask your critical friend to video this so you can reflect on your success. Consider the following reflective questions, and seek your critical friend’s perspective too: 

Below are your notes and reflections from Part 3: Communication

Notes and reflections from ‘Why you must talk to infants and toddlers’
Notes and reflections from ‘supporting infants and toddlers to develop social skills’
Relate your learning to practice

Try out one of the ideas below for increasing your language input to your focus child, and then answer the reflective questions that follow. You could:

  1. Practice talking through a routine or process, or
  2. Practice commentating on children’s play, or 
  3. Practice picking up on and adding language when children ‘serve’.

Try to think about the quantity and the quality of the language you offer. If you have the opportunity to record your conversation with the child (using audio or video), it will make it easier to reflect on the quantity and quality of your language input to the child, and you might also notice the more subtle responses that the child makes. Again, share your video and your reflection with your critical friend and see what they think. 

When we think about supporting communication, we must remember that learning to communicate involves so much more than learning to use language. To collaborate with others in ways that enable children to share meanings and understandings requires a whole host of personal, emotional and social skills. Infants and toddlers are learning social and emotional skills alongside language as they learn to be effective communicators.

Below are your notes and reflections from Part 4: Caregiving

Reflections from ‘Developing respectful relations with infants and toddlers
Notes from eight features of quality caregiving for infants and toddlers
Notes from The importance of one-to-one caregiving routines in infant and toddler care
Relate your learning to practice

In this part of the course, we focus on the quality of your caregiving moments with your focus child. Choose a caregiving moment and have your critical friend either observe or video the moment. You might choose to focus on a particular aspect of the interaction: for example, you might focus on a quality such as attentive responsiveness or partnership, or on how you might use the caregiving moment as a learning moment. Answer the following questions in a reflective conversation with your critical friend: 

Repeat this exercise with the same child later in the week, using your reflective discussion with your critical friend as a source of professional learning.

Below are your notes and reflections from Part 5: Play

Notes and reflections from What is play and why is it important for learning? and the two example videos of Jack, and William and Ollie.

Look again at the reading and the list of valued learning that play in early childhood promotes (benefits for wellbeing, academic/cognitive benefits, social and emotional benefits, and physical benefits), and then go back to each video.

Notes and reflections from Materials for play: Why open-ended loose parts are important and the example video of Mila.
Notes and reflections from The importance of play for infants and toddlers.
Relate your learning to practice

Drawing on the ideas from this part of the course, prepare a treasure basket or some open-ended loose part resources for play. Observe, interact when appropriate (remember to give children space to think and explore, but also to be waiting for the serve for you to return – this is a perfect place to practice these interactions) and then answer the following reflective questions. You could use these observations and reflections as a basis for a learning story.

Below are your notes and reflections from Part 6: Movement

Notes and reflections from How infants and toddlers develop movement skills.
Notes from the videos of infants on the move, showcasing their physical skills
Notes from the two videos show the variety of movement skill

In these videos you will have noticed that the children are engaging in activities that are not principally focused on movement skills, but on exploring objects, resources, spaces and other people.

Below are your notes and reflections from Part 7: Approaches to infant and toddler care and education

Notes and reflection on The Pikler/Resources for Infant Educarers approach 

Several features of the Pikler/RIETM approach, including the promotion of attachment, attunement to the child, joint attention and responsiveness, align with the broad principles for infant-toddler pedagogy that we introduced in Part 1. As we know, research supports the value of attachment between infants and their caregivers and the value of joint attention and serve-and-return interactions. It also confirms the capacity of infants and toddlers to construct their own learning. 

However, as the Pikler/RIE™ approach to infant and toddler care was developed for a Hungarian orphanage, and adapted for parent and toddler groups in the United States, it was not specifically designed for infant and toddler group care situations, and nor is it responsive to the context of bicultural, and increasingly multicultural, Aotearoa New Zealand. Our next reading explores a more local set of perspectives on infant and toddler care and education.

Notes and reflections on Māori and Pasifika cultural perspectives on infant-toddler care

Think carefully about how culturally specific the practices and pedagogies you employ for infants and toddlers are.

Notes and reflections on The importance of Māori approaches to infant and toddler care

You might focus here on communal caregiving, or on the practice of carrying babies, or a stronger focus on children as cultural beings, as described in the video.

Relate learning to practice

As we come to the final parts of the course, we’d like you to spend some time gathering your thoughts about what you’ve learned about your focus child from your sensitive and careful observations of and interactions with them. What have you learned, specifically, about:

At the beginning of the course, you wrote a list of what you already knew about this child.

Below are your notes and reflections from Part 8: Working with families and colleagues for the best infant and toddler care

Notes and reflections about Partnership with families

Look again at the list above about family expectations about their relationships with teachers, and ask yourself how you currently provide for these needs.

Notes from What is parent partnership?
Notes and reflections from Principles for partnership: A four-step approach

There are some real challenges for us as teachers in implementing partnership with children’s families.

Notes and reflections from The importance of teamwork and supportive relationships in infant and toddler care
Relate learning to practice

In this activity we want you to bring together the information that you collated about your focus child during the activity for Part 7 of the course, and to build on and use your relationships with the child’s family and your teaching team to evaluate learning and develop some shared goals for the child. There are three parts to this activity:

Have another look at the Principles for partnership: A four-step approach resource and decide what level of involvement would be appropriate for the family, depending on the stage of relationship development you are at (strengthening your relationship, developing reciprocal information-sharing, taking mutual responsibility for learning, or shared decision-making)In a manner appropriate for this stage of relationship development, share some of your observations of the child and their learning with the family, and invite their perspective, analysis, or decision-making in relation to the next steps.

Bring your observations and understanding of your focus child to a staff meeting or some other opportunity for reflective discussion. Make the most of this chance to hear your colleagues’ perspectives on the child and their development and learning by developing a specific question or two about your observations that are likely to promote a deeper level of conversation. Remember that sharing thoughtful, reflective and deeply meaningful dialogue is a key way to strengthen your team, and is likely to support your pedagogical understanding and practice with the child too! 

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