Toward a Philosophy of Infant Caregiving
Pgs. 1-15 SG*
Pgs. 2-8 ITG**
*See How They Grow text
**Infant/Toddler Guidelines text
A Philosophy - what’s that?
A philosophy is the perspectives and values that shape practice.
Everyone has philosophies - even if you don’t realize it. For example, what perspective and values do you have that influence your practice in :
Money (do you save and spend, or keep to a budget, or just spend until the money runs out, etc.??)
Examining your Beliefs and Values
Look at Box 1.1 on page 3 of SG.
Take some time to really think about your feelings about the items listed (please jot down the thoughts on paper).
The next step
After we are more fully aware of our values, we need to think about how to translate that into practice.
For example, thinking back to your values about money - if you value saving, how does that translate into your practice? Do you set aside a percentage of your income to savings?
Sometimes, having a value and practicing it is difficult.
Review the ‘Code of Ethics’ at www.naeyc.org
This is a familiar issue - why do we need to study Child Development if we already know about children?
Professionals in the Early Childhood Field strive to be ‘consciously competent’.
We not only know ‘what’ to do (the instinct), but we also know the ‘reason why’ we do things (the knowledge of child development) .
For example, not only do I serve and eat lunch with children, but I’m also aware of why I’m doing it - to foster social development, nutrition, etc.
So, now what?
We need to reflect on our current values, and examine them consciously and carefully.
Figure 1.1 on page 5 in SG illustrates the process of reflective practice.
The next several slides will ask you to reflect on the statements. TAKE YOUR TIME to analyze your thoughts.
What’s wrong with the way I was brought up?
We all perceive the way we were raised as “the normal way”.
Experience, especially in childhood, often leads to passive acceptance of a certain philosophy.
Reflection and evaluation helps us to make decisions.
But I was trained for this job?
Our training is based on the theoretical beliefs of the time.
Our knowledge of infants is increasing at a very fast pace, which requires teachers to keep up with the latest knowledge and research, and to consistently use reflection and evaluation in decision making.
Is “child-centered” good?
The term is often interpreted in many ways. What does it mean to YOU?
Being child centered is a positive approach; the idea of children self-directing their play in real and meaningful ways, with the support of responsive adults, is well supported by research.
Is more toys better?
Current research tells us that children learn best when they are an ‘active participant’ in play.
Evaluating toys for passive involvement (watching a toy move), and active involvement (the child makes the toy move) is key here!
What about food in play?
This has been a topic of discussion among many early childhood teachers.
Read the information in your book (p.6-7) on the topic.
Reflect on your thoughts....
Remember, thoughtful reflection can be hard! It requires a commitment to challenge and evaluate thinking and our practice.
Development as ‘domains’?
Dividing development into ‘domains’ is often a way to understand particular aspects of a child.
Holistic development looks at the ‘whole child’.
Current practice supports both - knowing developmental norms and appreciating the individual child’s uniqueness’.
What about DAP?
Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) is knowledge of:
Norms of child development “what I know about the development of 3 yr. olds”.
Each child’s individual needs and skills “Natalie has excellent verbal skills, and is cautious of climbing up the slide”.
The ‘context’ or ‘culture’ of the child’s experiences. “Ryan is the youngest child in a large family that relies on extended family”
Do children learn by environments (materials, time, space) that support their development?
Do children learn when the teacher is responsible for structuring learning experiences?
What do you think? (remember to reflect on this question, not just answer it)
Direct Instruction con’t.?
Research supports that children and adults are needed for learning:
“They are most successful if the intervention is supplied at the right time developmentally and in a way that is mindful of learning that has already occurred.”
So, classrooms that are planned according to children’s interests and needs, and teachers who watch carefully for appropriate ‘teachable moments’ seem to be the most appropriate.
Back to the Question...
So, now that you have read and reflected on these issues, how do you feel?
Have you consciously made a shift in thinking?
How comfortable are you? Sometimes reflection is difficult, and takes more than just a few minutes to analyze thoughts.
I hope that you have become more aware of your thoughts, and will become comfortable with thoughtful reflection.
Infant/Toddler Learning & Development Guidelines
This textbook is part of an exciting new project by the CA Dept. of Education and PITC (the Program for Infant/Toddler Caregiving).
This book is meant to offer Child Care Programs a framework for improving Quality. The next book in production will focus on the Foundations of Development in I/T.
You’ve read the introduction, and have a good understanding of the focus of the book. We will refer to various sections as we look at Infant Development.