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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 1 Caregiving and the Early Childhood Professional As an early childhood professional who cares for infants, toddlers, and twos, you play a critical role in children’s growth and development. You are essential to their well-being and future development, and this takes commitment and dedication. You need to know what responsive caregiving is, the types of care available, and the developmental stages of infants, toddlers, and twos. Such knowledge deepens your understanding and improves the quality of care you provide. CharaCTerisTiCs of responsive Caregivers As a responsive caregiver, you do a lot! To make a long story short, you provide a loving, nurturing, stable, and responsive learning environment for all children. You respond to their needs quickly and appropriately. Because infants and toddlers are wholly dependent on adults for their care and safety, their well-being lies in your hands. Positive interactions with caregivers are critical to children’s formation of early attachment and trust. You create an atmosphere in which these can arise: Your set- ting is relaxed and peaceful. You recognize that establishing trust with the important adults in their lives is the cornerstone for how children will feel about themselves and others throughout their lives. As children develop and change, you modify your program to meet their changing needs. You continuously evaluate your activities, the environment you’ve created, and the children in your care. You’re flexible in your daily schedule, balancing the pre- dictability and comfort of routines with the changing needs of children. You adjust and modify your setting so children can master their developmental milestones. Because a cohort of children differs so widely, you plan a range of activities that vary in difficulty. You challenge children, but only to the extent that they can successfully COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 7