18 Chapter 1
6 Ways a Toddler Teacher Can Encourage Development
As an early childhood professional working with toddlers, you get to witness
an abundance of growth and development in a short amount of time. Here’s
what you can do to encourage toddlers’ development:
1 Know about child development so you can recognize the skills
toddlers have mastered.
2 Recognize and delight in their emerging skills.
3 Provide many opportunities for toddlers to use and practice their
skills. 4 Offer encouragement.
5 Provide help to avoid frustration.
6 Know that toddlers rarely need to be taught skills or pushed to per-
form emerging skills.
Neither infants nor preschoolers, toddlers are increasingly mobile, autono-
mous, social, verbal, thoughtful creatures with constant urges to test and
experiment. They have little language yet, so they use behavior to com-
municate. They are living contradictions: the erratic do-it-yourself desire
competes with the passive and completely dependent you-do-it. They
are prone to change their minds about what they want. These restless,
mobile little people have a drive to take apart the existing order and to
rearrange it, by force if necessary, to suit their own whimsically logi-
cal view of the universe. They are often charming and engaging, but at
times determinedly defiant or out of control with frustration or anger.
Toddlers are very exciting people to work with, but their stage of devel-
opment brings with it many challenges and considerable frustration for
both the child and the adult.
Are you ready for the challenge? In the next chapter, I address how
toddlers and twos learn. You’ll explore the importance of play and how to
create environments that help toddlers and twos interact with the world