Early Childhood Development

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Ashford University
Jennifer Jeffries
ECE 332 Child Development
Instructor: Robert Gallo
Issue Date: November 30, 2010
Due Date: December 6, 2010

Abstract
Toddler hood is a huge time of change for a child. The child is moving from being an infant to the next stage – toddler. Being a toddler is usually considered when a child is between “13 – 24 months of age” (13 – 18 months – young toddler, 19 – 24 months – older toddler.) (Berk, 291) Toddlers need space, materials and guidance to help in their development which mainly and essentially done through play. They need an environment that stimulates all the senses and welcomes activities that further their development in all areas.

Stages of Development for Toddler
During toddler hood there are a vast amount of changes in the following developmental areas: cognitive; small and large motor skills; social; emotional; moral; physical and language. It is one of the roles of the early childhood teacher to set up the environment to foster development in all these areas. The environment should have a variety of materials that leads the child to explore and discover through play. Cognitive

Brain Development
During toddlerhood the brain’s synapses still continue to connect to form neurons. “Formation of synapses is rapid during the first two years, especially in the auditory, visual, and language areas of the cerebral cortex.” (Berk, 169) The neurons that are formed will only sustain if they’re used. It is the use it or lose it mentality. Hence, children need stimulation to continue their synapse connections. “Neurons that are seldom stimulated soon lose their synapses. In all, about 40% of synapses are pruned during childhood and adolescence.” (Berk, 169) Teacher Directed Activities

Teacher directed problem solving activities should be taking place in the classroom. Examples of such activities are as follows: Weighing objects to find out which object weighs more or less. In this activity the teacher should be asking the child(ren) to make predictions about the activity. The teacher should be playing with the child to check for the progressive understanding of object permanence. Stated in the text, “Grace figured out how to fit a shape through a hole in a container by turning and twisting it until if fell through. According to Piaget, this capacity to experiment leads to a more advanced understanding of object permanence.” (Berk, 211) This activity can be child initiated but the teacher can challenge the child in a more directed activity by taking away the shapes Grace knows, for example; circle and square and adding diamond and oval. Setting up the Environment

In the toddler environment it is important to have enough space between furniture because they’re beginning to walk, however, as they become older toddlers the environment should have more defined areas and be set up to reduce running. There should be a variety of materials and duplicates of the items. Some examples of materials to have available for toddlers to explore are explained in the following sentences. In the art area children should be able to explore the differences in textures. The use of food at this age is encouraged due to the fact that they still may be oral. For example: Cold whip cream with sprinkles of different textures; Lumpy pudding (tapioca); Smooth pudding; and/or cinnamon art (DAP for young or older toddlers). Simple science experiments in the discovery area, such as, setting up about a cup of flour in a container; make available the following: eye droppers, cup of water. The teacher observes for the following: Which children use the eye dropper to add water to the flour; which decides to pour water in the flour little by little from the cup; and which pour the entire cup of water in the flour (older toddlers). There are many other areas to observe, but those are just a few. In the block area, there are various items that can be placed to enhance...
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