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Educating Infants and Toddlers: Environments

In this course students examine, define, and expand the varied meanings of the environment as it applies to the early care and education of children under three and their families. The integrating principles are socioeconomic influences as well as developmental principles. Typical infants and toddlers as well as those with special needs are considered in planning environments. Issues surrounding diversity and anti-bias care are addressed throughout in order to increase the awareness and sensitivity of caregivers. Students gain experience in designing, setting up, and maintaining nurturing environments. Principles of design and material selection are grounded in developmental theory about the needs of all children. Topics include the relation of physical space to learning and development, scheduling the child's day, staff relations, care of the family, and issues in care giving such as separation, health, safety, and the nature of care. The broad focus includes settings in centers, family child-care homes, and hospitals. Students keep a journal of children's lived experience in care, visit and report on a care setting, and write a final paper on an aspect of environment.