Teaching Infants/Toddlers?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Miss J. Pre-K, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Dec 21, 2010

    I've taught pre-school for two years and I'm applying/interviewing for infant/toddler positions. I assistant taught for two years in an infant/toddler combined classroom, currently babysit for a 13-month-old, and I miss the age group. The infant toddler class I was in was Reggio-inspired curriculum, so there was lots of free play, free art, lots of choices for the children, etc. I'm just looking for advice as to what a "typical" infant or toddler room looks like, how the curriculum is, how you assess, and what the directors will be looking for in interviews. Also any "must haves" or creative ideas for these ages.

    Basically, tell me about working with infants and toddlers!
     
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  3. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Dec 22, 2010

    An infant room should look like any other room in the facility. Toys and materials should be DAP. The best place for an infant is on the floor interacting with materials or people. (Do not hold them all day.)

    Infants will need a crib to sleep in and their schedule should be determined by their needs.

    All furniture should be of proper size for the child. So, in the toddler room you will have tables and chairs so small that you can not sit on them. Infants will not have tables or chairs, but some rocking chairs for the teacher to sit in while feeding a bottle.

    What else do you want to know?
     
  4. SamIAm

    SamIAm Companion

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    Dec 22, 2010

    I have not taught in a toddler room, but my understanding is that an infant and toddler room in any traditional school will be essentially the same as in the Reggio school. It is not DAP for you to be teaching them ABC's and such. They should be mostly involved in free exploration and play. Some schools do a circle time for this age group, but that wold probably be no more than five minutes and usually involves mostly singing and movement.

    I would think that your director might like to get an idea of the things you want to work on with this age group. Here are some things you will want to make available and spend time working on:

    • Gross motor skills - working on crawling, walking, jumping, etc. For this you could make obstacle courses; pretend to be trains, planes, cars or any number of animals; play copying games like Simon says (with out the Simon part) dance to music etc.
    • Art - (fine motor) - using a lot of different materials to work fine motor muscles like glue (don't forget colored glue), crayons and markers, play-doh and clay (if possible). The more materials they can work with the better. Think of all the different things they can pant with: fingers, brushes, q-tips, stamps, popsicle sticks, string, spoons, pine needles. I even had my kids paint with fake flowers once. The flowers turned out prettier than the paintings. You can also add things to the paint to give it texture like salt or coffee grounds.
    • Self help - This is a big one for this group. They need to work on self feeding (using a fork and spoon), washing hands, putting on and taking of clothes or jackets, and shoes.
    • Literacy - A lot of reading and story telling!!! My all time favorite toddler book is "Going on a bear hunt."
    • Manipulatives - (fine motor and numeracy) Blocks, blocks, blocks!! puzzles, sorting toys etc.
    • Sensory table - Here is a link to a bunch of sensory table ideas: http://bcmnc.blount.k12.al.us/sensory_table_idea_links.htm. You can also do things like color sand, pasta, shaving cream etc. to work on colors.
    • Music - Lots of musical instruments and tons of singing (preferably with movement) I would start out with just a few and add more as you go.

    I can't think of anything more right now. I'll write again if more comes to mind. Hope that helps!:)
     
  5. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Dec 27, 2010

    Thanks Blue and SamIAm (love your name, by the way). I love your ideas and I'm bookmarking the site. I guess I was just wondering if infant and toddler rooms "in the real world" were going to be play based and developmentally appropriate. My two years in pre-k were fun, but I didn't really want to do things like teaching four-year-olds to read (when most had not gotten basic letters!), having 45-minute circle times, giving nightly homework, etc. I thought that was what later school was for--I want the students to learn, but if I wanted to do lots of paper/pencil work, I would have gotten an elementary degree.

    Anything you can tell me about assessments for infants and toddlers would be appreciated. We did portfolios with many documentations in my Reggio school. I imagine other classrooms don't do that but do a standard assessment of some type?
     
  6. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Dec 27, 2010

    There are many types of assessments on line. Or, you can purchase some. I would create my own, based upon my curriculum.
     

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