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The World of Toddlers and Twos: The Second and Third Years of Life

This course offers a developmental interactional view of toddlers, two-year-olds and their families. The primary goal of the course is for students to internalize a solid and accessible grasp of development in the second and third years of life, and across individual differences and contexts. Students examine how separation-individuation, attachment and mutual recognition are achieved through a focus on the interactive affective and cognitive contributions of toddlers and caregivers. Research, theory and student observations will be utilized to better understand the toddler's developing symbolization and language; changes in motor and movement patterns; and social-emotional aspects of development, such as play, peer relationships and the range of toddler conflicts and fears. The class members attempt to reconceptualize traditional theories in light of the real issues faced by toddlers today in the context of the wide range of family structures, group care settings, and cultures, sub-cultures and degrees of ability/disability. A great deal of attention is paid to the specific contributions of familial and cultural contexts as well as the contributions of toddlers themselves. Students strive to achieve a fair balance between the "expected " global shifts in development and the profound individual differences that each human being presents. The course is organized around a developmental history of a toddler or a two-year-old in the context of his or her family and often a group setting. This study, along with on-going electronic journal discussions, provides rich opportunities for students to integrate their knowledge of developmental theory with real toddlers and twos and to practice articulating their knowledge with peers and parents. Prerequisite: EDUC 500 or EDUC 800.