During the infant/toddler years, all children depend on responsive, safe interactions to mature and absorb. Such programs provide personalized care that reflects consideration for individual differences among children. Programs also develop partnerships with children’s families to connect children’s experiences at home with their experiences in the infant/toddler program. These organizations with families are the cornerstone of culturally sensitive care.
In this paper I will discuss the Physical Environment, the Social Environment, and the adult relations in infant and toddler care and education programs. In addition, children may have a special need that requires particular accommodations and adaptations. To serve all children, infant/toddler programs must work to provide appropriate conditions for each child and individually assist each child’s movement along a pathway of healthy learning and development. The physical environment indoors and out can promote or impede intimate, satisfying relationships.
The environment affects caregiver/infant relationships. “Carollee Howes discovered that in family day care homes in which dangerous objects and fragile prized possessions had been removed from the area in which infants and toddlers played, caregivers smiled more, encouraged exploration, and gave fewer negative comments (“Don’t touch that! “) to infants and toddlers. In an infant/toddler center, a hammock invites a caregiver to cuddle one or two babies (Howes, 1993). ” The environment affects caregiver/parent relationships.
A comfortable place for adults within the children’s environment can encourage parents to visit throughout the day and can also be used to encourage continued breastfeeding with infants. A place for parents to sit comfortably for a moment at the end of the day acknowledges the parent’s needs and encourages conversation. What makes up the social environment in an infant-toddler program and how can you see it? The social environment is made up of the less visible parts of an infant-toddler program. The social environment is seen through the behaviors of the adults and children in it.
The social environment refers to an individual’s physical surroundings, community resources and social relationships. “Parents and other caregivers can create an environment that promotes brain development by providing experiences that stimulate all five senses. A family environment that includes loving attention, responsive care and consistent routines encourages learning and growth. Daily talking, singing and reading to infants will increase their vocabulary and memory skills. Parents need to take positive steps to manage stress to prevent them from feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities of parenthood.
When necessary, ask for help from a responsible adult. Sensitive parenting is essential for optimal brain development. (Barber, 2012) Healthy social skills develop when an infant’s need are met in loving, affectionate way. When adults respond to an infant’s cries with sensitivity, the baby feels safe and secure in it’s environment. When an infant’s cries are regularly ignored or met with harshness, the baby will develop problems interacting with people and objects in his environment. . Adult Relation should start with some kind of attachment so I’m going to start with Secure relationship is the strongest type of attachment.
The child feels that they can depend on their parent or provider. The child knows that person will be there when he needs support. He knows what to expect. “Over time, a securely attached child has learned that he can rely on special adults to be there for him. He knows that, if he ever needs something, someone will be there to help. A child who believes this can then learn other things. He will use special adults as a secure base. He will smile at the adult and come to her to get a hug. Then he will move out and explore his world. Dooley, 2013) The relationships that parents establish with their infants and toddlers provide the basis for their children’s social and emotional development. These early parent-child relationships also set the stage for their children’s emotional well-being and social relationships in later stages of life. As will be emphasized in the forthcoming discussion, parents who are consistently sensitive and responsive to their infants contribute to the development of infant trust and attachment that in turn promotes parent-infant synchrony and is later expressed in toddler autonomy and exploratory behavior.
In conclusion the care of young children in groups is a profession. It includes both science and art. As a society, we need to make it possible for people to study the science and practice the art of caregiving. We need to release caregivers to provide the kinds of responsive care they know how to do or can be trained how to do, and to develop deep relationships with parents, children, and other caregivers. That’s what I have learned about the Physical Environment, the Social Environment, and the adult relations in infant and toddler care and education programs