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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET CHAPTER 1 About Young Children w hat comes to mind when you think about young children? Do you picture a child who is fun-loving? Warm? Creative? Busy? Lovable? Cute? Do you recall times when young chil- dren you know were frustrating or even difficult? All these descriptions, and many more, can apply to young children. Children, like adults, are often lov- able and fun to be with. And sometimes they will challenge your patience and make your role as a teacher and caregiver difficult. Decades of research have given our profession a solid understanding of the developmental norms for children of varying ages or stages of devel- opment. We know a lot about what an infant, a toddler, or a preschooler is likely to do. But a child is more than just a set of research-based expecta- tions. Children also have unique personalities, needs, interests, and behav- ior patterns. Over time you will get to know the actual children in your care, and you will be able to predict many of their behaviors based on their devel- opmental abilities and their individual characteristics. Yet even when you have this knowledge and experience, children may surprise you from time to time! This is one of the fun aspects of working with young children. They can be unpredictable, and their changing developmental abilities and moods make each day unique. You probably chose this profession because you like children. A fondness for children is a great start—but it’s just a start. Understanding how children develop will help you work with them effectively. This knowledge will make 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL