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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET introduc tion : te aching through qua lit y c a re you may find that water and sand table activities are not realistic in your setting. If this is true for you, your challenge then becomes determining what sensory activities can be included. There is always more than one way to accomplish a developmental objective. For example, sorting socks for color and texture, playing with playdough, and fingerpainting provide wonderful sensory experiences. There are many oppor- tunities for children to engage in water activities that do not require a water table. Creating a curriculum that meets the developmental needs of all the participating children while allowing providers and their families to enjoy the character of their homes should not be mutually exclusive goals. Following the activities, part 3 offers a collection of information that applies to all age groups. This information reflects frequent questions from family child care providers, including daily schedules, information on using computers with chil- dren, having pets in your home, and caring for children with food allergies, as well as safety information. I include book and website resources you can use to inspire your teaching through quality care. Caring for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschool Children This curriculum acknowledges all the beneficial interactions that occur naturally between caregivers and children. Perhaps even more importantly, it also acknowl- edges all the beneficial interactions that can occur between children who are for- tunate enough to be included in mixed-age programs. Understanding that learning occurs as a result of your active involvement in daily tasks as well as children’s active involvement with one another is important. Children of all ages will often respond in a positive way when they understand that you are not simply caring for them but also caring about them. Talking and smiling while changing a diaper, patiently repeat- ing a story to a toddler who needs your attention, and praising a preschooler who has offered to help you set the table are all examples of how you personally affect the positive development of children. The interactions between caregiver and child mat- ter. Your gentle guidance in encouraging children to appropriately interact with one another also matters. Throughout this book you will find activities that require your support and active participation. To provide support that meets the needs of each child in each age group, your curriculum and your daily schedule of activities need to be as flexible and as inclusive as possible. They also need to provide many opportuni- ties for children to learn from one another. Although the activities are organized by age, you will find that the activities and suggestions were designed to be easily applied within mixed-age groups. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 7