For this assignment, you will use the article provided below. Click on the link to open the pdf copy of the article. Read the article and answer the following questions.
Describe the four main ways that infants and toddlers differ from older children. (worth 5 points)
What do we learn about providing responsive care and a responsive curriculum? Why is this important? (worth 5 points)
Requirements: Simple answer please. No need to be perfect and no need to be that long, just enough
Text from Young Children•July 20061DEVELOPMENT IS A CONTINUOUS PROCESSthrough which a child gradually growsand changes. But as early childhoodprofessionals we need to keep in mindthat each developmental period has itsown challenges and opportunities. Asbrain development research hasreached the general public, most of ushave become aware of the infant periodas an important time when neural path-ways that influence learning and develop-ment are formed.The rapid development of the brain duringthe early years does not mean that infancy is themost important period in life. Each period is important.Although optimum attention to infants’ developmenthelps them become resilient, it is not an inoculationagainst negative experience in subsequent periods. In-fancy, however, is distinctly important. It is a uniqueperiod that calls for unique responses from adults.The ways infants think, feel, and function differsignificantly from the ways of childrenand adults in other periods of life.The developmental periods ofpreschool, middle childhood,adolescence, adulthood,and aging are unique aswell. Each period of lifehas its special challenges,issues, and developmen-tal milestones, calling fordifferent responses,attention, and care.This article focuses onchildren in the first twoyears of life. It points out theunique aspects of this period,and makes recommendationsfor the ways infants need to beapproached and treated. We proposethat infants should be treated differently frompreschoolers and older children with regard to ap-proaches to readiness for school, guidance and discipline,selection of curriculum content, the learning milieu, andthe relationship of teachers to children.In this article we use the terms genetic programming andgenetic wiring to indicate that infants follow commondevelopmental paths and have strong inborn drives tolearn and develop. Experience plays a necessary andimportant role, but infants follow these commondevelopmental paths even though their early experi-ences vary greatly. We use the term infant careteacher to recognize that in infant care settings, theadult simultaneously teaches and cares for the child.The term caregiver refers to all adults who are in acaring relationship with infants, regardless of the setting.The Uniqueness of InfancyDemands a ResponsiveApproach to CareJ. Ronald LallyandPeter MangioneInfants have a built-in plan for how they will learn.They start to pursue their course work even in thewomb and, when born, are ready, interested, andactively engaged in study. For those who are askedto develop curricula and lesson plans for infants, itwould be a great mistake to do too much planningwithout paying close attention to the infant’sbuilt-in curriculum.J. Ronald Lally, EdD, is codirector of the Center for Child andFamily Studies at WestEd, an educational research and devel-opment laboratory in San Francisco. For many years he taughtat Syracuse University, chaired its Department of Child andFamily Studies, and directed the Family Development ResearchProgram. He is a founder of Zero to Three and a recipient of the2004 California Head Start Association Founderís Award.Peter Mangione, PhD, is codirector of WestEdísCenter for Child and Family Studies. He has workedextensively in the fields of child development, earlychildhood education, family support services, researchand evaluation design, and public policy, and helped tomake the Program for Infant/Toddler Caregivers anational model for training early childhood practitioners.
2 Text from Young ChildrenJuly 2006The unique make-up of infantsThere are four main areas in which infants and toddlersdiffer from older children.1. The intensity of infants’ inborn inclination tolearn and develop in particular areasAll humans are internally driven to learn and develop,but this internal drive functions in slightly different waysand degrees at different points in life. Where content oflearning is concerned, infants’ internal drives are muchmore specific than those of older children.Babies have their own learning agenda. For ex-ample, infants and toddlers are genetically pro-grammed to learn language, to become more skillfulin their small muscle and large muscle functioning,to construct knowledge about the functioning ofpeople and things in the world around them, to seekout significant relationships through which they canbe nurtured and protected, and to use relationships tolearn appropriate and inappropriate ways of relating toothers. Infants actively pursue and engage in learning inthese content areas. Selma Fraiberg says, with regard toan infant’s inclination to master learning language, “It’s alittle bit like having God on our side” (Fraiberg, Shapiro, &Cherness 1980, 56).Adults who want to help infants and toddlers learn needto understand this learning agenda and find ways toinfant, there is no need for adults to present specifictopics for mastery or to provide the motivation to learn.Babies are perfectly motivated to seek out the skills andrelationships that will help them survive and pros-per. They have been genetically wired to doso. In a video about her infant/toddler careapproach, Magda Gerber wisely proclaims,“Nobody knows better about what a babyneeds than that baby” (1988). Withoutspecial attention and adaptations to theuniqueness of infants’ inborn curriculum,the curriculum clarity of the infant wouldbe missed, and mastery motivation already inplace would simply be thwarted or ignored. For anadult to usurp this decision-making process is inappropri-ate. The adult role in infants’ learning is facilitative, notdirective. It is only as the child grows and topics of learn-ing are less genetically programmed that the adult rolecomes to involve more guided activities and instruction.As school readiness, language and literacy development,and numeracy initiatives move downward toward infancy,it is important to discourage generalizing pedagogicalpractices with older children for use with infants.2. The holistic nature of infant learningThe second unique aspect of the infancy period is theholistic way in which infants learn. Infants take in informa-tion continuously, naturally, and fluidly. They pick up fromtheir actions, interactions, and observations all kinds ofinformation through which they build knowledge andskills in all areas of development. One interaction canteach many things. They make no distinctions betweenphysical, emotional, intellectual, social, and languagelessons. Lessons in all domains are processed almostsimultaneously and each interaction is mined for all itsinformation, not just that which is intended or focused onby those with whom infants interact.Because infants learn in this holistic way, adults need totake a more organic approach to infant learning than withlearning by older children. Structuring lessons for 15 to 20minutes on a particular content area—for example, lan-guage or shapes—will almost always result in the adultmissing the larger learning experience in which the infantis perpetually engaged. The infant receives informationWhere content of learning is concerned,infants’ internal drives are much morespecific than those of older children.Babies are perfectly motivated to seekout the skills and relationships that willhelp them survive and prosper.facilitate and build on it rather than supplant it. The needto motivate infants’ interest in learning is fundamentallydifferent from the need to motivate older children. Forexample, the impulse to master algebra or ice skating orreading is not necessarily present in an older child’sdevelopmental trajectory. Interest in these topics comesfrom group socialization and an introduction by adults,coupled with the more generalized genetic programmingto learn that all humans have.For the older child, selecting and presenting topics formastery as well as motivating the child to pursue masteryin those areas are appropriate actions to be taken byteachers and other helping adults and peers. Without thisintroduction the child may not become aware of thepleasure and usefulness of certain content. But for the
Text from Young ChildrenJuly 20063from every domain simultaneously no matter which onewe may wish to emphasize. Thus plans to help with infantlearning are best created in ways that reflect this awareness.A teacher may think that crafting a special lesson onseriation or colors will result in specific learning, butinfants don’t segregate their lessons into topic areas.Unless the teacher has considered all the potentials forlearning in the interaction, the lesson learned may windup being nothing to do with colors. Instead, learning willcenter on a part of the interaction that is more importantto the infant whose focus at the time may be the texture ofthe materials used to display color, the emotional tone inthe interaction, or perception of the style adults use tointroduce something new to someone.In high school it is appropriate for teenagers to focusnarrowly on solving a problem in algebra class and putother messages coming into their heads on the backburner, so to speak. For the infant, narrow focusing is animpossible task. Even with the best of intentions, this ismisguided pedagogy. Babies follow their natural inclina-tion to process everything about what is in front of themand never focus narrowly unless compelled.3. Infants’ rapid move through three majordevelopmental stages in their first two yearsDuring the first six to eight months of life, most infantsfocus their attention and behavior on developing a senseof security. On the larger stage of seeking security,nurturance, and protection, infants play out their explora-tions of the world around them and a growing knowledgeof themselves as individuals with separate identities.As they grow toward seven months of age, infants turntheir attention to exploring through movement, manipula-tion, and visual inspection. Although still needing andseeking security, they do so through the lens of explora-tion. No longer do they constantly seek to be given to orheld or immediately gratified by their trusted caregiver.Captivated by the exciting world out in front of them,they now want to move out into and manipulate theworld. Infants see themselves as active explorers,no longer physically bound to the trusted adult but ontheir own for brief periods. They seem to be practicingindependence, motivated by a powerful urge to explorebut still quite dependent on the trusted adult being therewhen needed. The seven-month-old looks to the infantcare teacher to validate his explorative bursts by showingconfidence in his developing competence and providingsecurity on new terms.During this new exploratory stage, adults need to makea switch in how they care for the infant and alter the waysthey provide security and relate to the child’s growingsense of self. If children in this stage of infancy enjoy asafe, secure environment, are allowed to use the caregiveras a base of security from which they can journey backand forth for emotional refueling, and see their caregiversproviding eye contact, they prosper. When caregiverssimply continue relating to the children as if they re-mained in the first developmental stage, children learnthat their natural urge to explore is seen as problematicand think that those who care for them don’t believe intheir developing sense of competence.As children move to the third stage of infancy—startingaround 16 months of age—their focus changes again. Forthe rest of their infancy, they seem to be consumed byissues of me and mine, notions of good and not so good,and distinctions of self from other. Their need for securityand their drive to explore are subsumed under an almostconsuming preoccupation with the pursuit of a definitionof self. Interactions and negotiations with others lead tolearning about themselves as independent, dependent,and interdependent beings. Sixteen-month-old infantsexplore not only the environment around them but alsotheir power to choose how, what, and when they explore.At this stage they frequently resist the suggestions ofthose who provided their security when a choice is in-volved. They start to get a clearer understanding aboutdistinctions between self and other, begin to feel thepower of self to both choose and resist, and then at theend of the stage move toward learning early lessons abouttaking responsibility for their actions.Here again the adult must make a switch in relating tothe child. Providing security becomes an issue of settingboundaries to help children learn the rules of socialbehavior while letting each child know the adult is stillthere for him or her when boundaries are breached.This rapid movement of the infant through three signifi-cant developmental stages and the need for the adult tobe responsive to developmental shifts and the bumpytransitions between stages makes the work of the infantcare teacher challenging. Just when a teacher seems to beThe infant receives information fromevery domain simultaneously no matterwhich one we may wish to emphasize.As they grow toward seven monthsof age, infants turn their attentionto exploring through movement,manipulation, and visual inspection.
4 Text from Young ChildrenJuly 2006getting things right with regard to a child, the child’s majororientation shifts and the teacher is called on to adjust.Curriculum planning, implementation, and supportivematerials should not only anticipate developmental stagesbut also allow for individual variations in learning stylesand temperaments. These elements need to be broadenough in scope to respond to all developmental domainssimultaneously. Infancy’s uniqueness, once again, needs tobe considered.4. Development of afirst sense of selfIn contrast topreschoolers andschool-age chil-dren, infants aredeveloping a firstsense of selfduring their firsttwo years. Howthey are treatedand what they areallowed and ex-pected to do and notto do are incorporatedinto the infant’s develop-ing self. Three-year-olds cantake a stand, resist eating foodthey don’t like, judge someone as mean or unfair. Infantscan’t. Instead, they take in the ways they are treated asexamples of how things are, thinking, “This is the waypeople express emotions,” “These are the things peopleget yelled at for,” “These are the ways to approachpeople,” and “This is how my inborn curiosity is ac-cepted.”Children build a first sense of self through their interac-tions: “I am a person who is liked, encouraged, givenchoices, protected, listened to, or I am not.” Infants pickup their definition of self by perceiving how they aretreated by those who care for them. This distinctionbetween the infant, in the process of developing a firstsense of self, and the older child, acting from a newlyformed sense of self, has many implications for care.Infant care teachers must understand that they aretaking part in the creation of a baby’s first sense of self,that they are molding and shaping the way babies seethemselves. The baby is innocent, trusting, and un-guarded and takes in as the necessary information tobuild a sense of self the messages from those giving hercare. Thus, the infant care teacher’s job carries with it agreat degree of responsibility in influencing the way thechild defines self. Creating a warm, caring, subjectiverelationship with the infant is more than nice; it signifi-ActivePartnershipsFrom all that early childhood educators knowabout how children learn best, we recognizethat infants must have a hand in selecting whatthey learn. The infant should be an active part-ner in selecting curriculum content. The curricu-lum should be dynamic enough to flow andchange daily based on the infantís changinginterests and needs. In this way, curriculumis responsive to and respectful of whatinfants bring to and want from theseearly learning experiences.cantly contributes to a child’s positive sense of self. Asnoted Reggio Emilia pedagogist Carlina Rinaldi (2006)describes, “Learning and loving are not so separate as weonce thought.”Implications for infant care teachersThese four areas of uniqueness—genetic wiring, holis-tic learning, rapidly changing developmental perspec-tives, and development of a child’s first sense ofself—make the infancy period different from allother age periods. This uniqueness makes itincumbent upon adults who care for infantsto treat them differently from older children.Because the infant is genetically pro-grammed for specific learning, the role ofthe adult in supporting learning is one ofrespect for and responsiveness to thechild’s lessons rather than generatinglessons for the child. Because early learn-ing is holistic, plans to facilitate infants’learning need to be holistic. Because secu-rity, exploration, and identity formationmanifest themselves differently during theinfancy period, the way adults respond to theseneeds must fit with the child’s developmentalstage.Infants are just becoming aware of themselves asindividuals and are unable to pick, choose, and judge theappropriateness of messages they receive from others.Adults need to be particularly sensitive to their role in theinfant’s shaping of self, respectful of the uniqueness ofinfancy, and responsive to infants’ particular way offunctioning.What is and isn’t responsive care?In general, infant care practice in the United Statesreflects a picture of curriculum extremes. One approachoften used suggests that very young children only needsafe environments and tender, loving care, and that spe-cific attention to learning is inappropriate. Another com-mon approach suggests that for infants to grow anddevelop cognitively they must be stimulated intellectuallyby adult-developed and -directed lessons and activities,carefully preplanned and then programmed into aninfant’s day. Both views fall short of meeting the needs ofinfants.Loving care is an important base for learning but onlyhalf of what is needed. Adult-generated lessons violate thechild’s learning expectations. Most learning theorists andcognitive specialists affirm that infant interest needs to
Text from Young ChildrenJuly 20065play a significant role in guidingteachers’ selection of learningexperiences, materials, and con-tent (Shonkoff & Phillips 2000).Therefore, curriculum plansshould focus not on games,tasks, and activities, but onways to best create a social,emotional, and intellectualclimate that supports child-initiated learning and imitationand builds and sustains positiverelationships among adults andchildren. For example, in the areaof language learning, spontaneouslyand responsively talking with infants ismore effective in producing rich language thanplanning and sequencing language lessons (Hart & Risley1995).Attention to children’s interests, curiosity, and motiva-tion is the place to begin curriculum planning. Then theenvironment must be seen as a crucial part of the curricu-lum, provoking interest and encouraging and supportinginfants’ learning agendas. And the stage for a responsivecurriculum must be set by establishing program policiesthat create a climate for learning.Planning the responsive curriculumCurricula and lesson plans for infants must center ontheir needs and interests and guide the development ofenvironments, selection of materials, and supportive in-teraction styles that are responsive to infants’ needs andinterests. Plans should engender respect for the compe-tencies that infants bring to each interaction and reflectchil-dren’s need for relationship-based experiences.Responsive curriculum planning focuses on findingstrategies to help infant care teachers search for, support,and keep alive children’s internal motivation to learn andspontaneous explorations of people and things that arenaturally of interest and important to them. Planning towork responsively with infants can begin with the study ofthe specific infant children in care. Each child’s uniquethoughts, feelings, needs, and interests are a significantpart of the equation in developing plans. Records of eachchild’s interests and skills should be kept to guide adultsin creating the role they will take in each child’s learning.Adaptation and change are anexpected and critical part of theplanning process. Once an inter-action with a child or smallgroup of children begins, aninfant care teacher is ready toadapt his or her plans andactions to meet the momentaryand long-term needs and inter-ests of each child. Good plansalways include a number of alter-native strategies and approaches.Lesson plans, appropriatelydeveloped, include strategies tobroaden infant care teachers’ under-standing of and deepen their relationshipwith each child served. In addition, plansspecify content and materials. Good plans (1) reflectactivities that orient the caregiver to the role of facilitatorof learning rather than the role of teacher and (2) assistthe infant care teacher in reading the cues each infantprojects.ConclusionIn a responsive curriculum a good portion of the workhas to do with infant care teachers preparing themselvesand the environment so that infants can learn, not figuringout what to teach infants. Then, program planning in-volves exploring ways to help infant care teachers attunethemselves to each infant they serve and learn from theindividual infant what he or she needs, thinks, and feels.Regardless of what daily plans look like, positive learningrelies on a curriculum and lesson planning that includes•attending to the development of a safe and interestingplace for learning;•selecting appropriate materials for meeting the indi-vidual needs and interests of the children served;•organizing learning and care in small groups;•developing management policies that maximizechildren’s sense of security in care and continuity ofconnection with their caregivers;•building ways to optimize program connections withchildren’s families; and•grounding caregivers in the cognitive, social, and emo-tional experiences in which infants and toddlers arenaturally interested.As we construct programs, let’s keep the infant fore-most in our minds. Let’s ensure that our first goal ismeeting infant needs for intimate, nurturing relationshipsThe infant care teacher’s job carries withit a great degree of responsibility ininfluencing the way the child defines self.
6 Text from Young ChildrenJuly 2006through which a child can have safe, interesting experi-ences. Carlina Rinaldi’s words remind us that “infants andtoddlers should be the primary focus of reference forconstructing services” (1991). If we let these words be ourguide, we will help facilitate the development of moti-vated, powerful, competent, emotionally healthy, andintellectually curious children.ReferencesFraiberg, S., V. Shapiro, & D.S. Cherness. 1980. Treatment modali-ties. In Clinical studies in infant mental health: The first year oflife, ed. S. Fraiberg. New York: Basic.Gerber, M. 1988. Respectfully yours: Magda Gerber’s approach toprofessional infant/toddler care. Video. Produced by J. RonaldLally. Sacramento: California Department of Education.Hart, B., & R.R. Risley. 1995. Meaningful differences in the experi-ences of young American children. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.Rinaldi, C. 1991. Quality infant/toddler care. Presentation at theannual conference of the National Association for the Educationof Young Children, Denver.Rinaldi, C. 2006. New perspectives in infant/toddler care. DVD.Produced by J. Ronald Lally. Sacramento: California Departmentof Education.Shonkoff, J.P., & D.A. Phillips, eds. 2000. From neurons to neighbor-hoods: The science of early childhood development. A report ofthe National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Acad-emies Press.Program planning involves exploringways to help infant care teachers attunethemselves to each infant they serve.Copyright © 2006 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. SeePermissions and Reprints online at www.journal.naeyc.org/about/permissions.asp.Text reproduced with permission from the Na-tional Association for the Education of YoungChildren. This article originally appeared in theJuly 2006 issue of Young Children.All rights re-served.See Lally, J.R., & P. Mangione. 2006. The Unique-ness of Infancy Demands a Responsive Approachto Care. Young Children 61 (4): 14–20.