Creating a Responsive, Relationship-Based Environment.

Infants and Toddlers need to be in environments that make them more active and relaxed. The environment needs to be designed in such a way that allows infants and toddlers to be stimulated enough to learn and develop their cognitive, physical and social capabilities. To ensure that infants and toddlers reach these levels, they need to be in a responsive and in a relationship-based environment

Creating a responsive and relationship-based environment requires creativity and understanding the child. To meet these demands, I will draw guidance from Kay and Linda (n.d) and Maine Department of Health and Human Services and will have the following main topics to approach the topic from; interactions, scheduling, privacy, and visuals. 

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Interactions

Infants and toddlers need to interact with each other and with adults. This element ensures that the children have their emotions taken care of as well as facilitated to grow. As they interact with each other, they are able to learn how to develop and respond to senses and stimulation according to Maine Department of Health and Human Services. This way, they will be able to learn their limits as well as controlling their environments. Through interactions they will be in a position to understand the feelings of others and how to act in different emotional settings. Through interactions children are able to appreciate the role of rules. 

To ensure that there are sufficient interactions, I will ensure that there are sufficient activity areas where children will play alone, with each other and with adults. According to Kay and Linda (n.d), children need to have settings that adopt to their behaviors and skills. In this context, an environment should not limit the capabilities of a child and should allow the kid to go where it suits them. The environments should be sufficiently stuffed with numerous sources of stimulation to enhance growth and development as well as sufficient interaction surface. Interactions have been shown to enhance language and should thus be encouraged. Through interaction, especially with adults, children are able to learn the basics of language and attempt to replicate what has been said. In my case, I will encourage parallel talk where a tutor talks to a child when the kids’ attention is at its highest. The number of nos being said by the caregiver should also be limited (Maine Department of Health and Human Services). 

Scheduling 

It is important to ensure that there is a significant natural individual scheduling of biological activities rather than imposing it on the infants as indicated by Kay and Linda. This calls for observation of the kids to ensure that their biological systems work efficiently. Allowing natural scheduling means that there will be kids who shall be feeding while others are sleeping, changing dippers, or playing. This allows the care giver the opportunity to avoid being overwhelmed by one single activity at one point. Kids will therefore learn how to express their needs to their caregivers and to other kids. I find it necessary to avoid planning out activities for children to the last detail as it restricts the imagination and activity of children. Children are easy to have their interest drawn towards a given direction and therefore planning too might not be necessary. Caregivers should allow natural courses of events to take place with children. 

Privacy

It is interesting that kids need privacy too. This is the phase in their learning where they explore, experience, watch, and investigate. The kids need to be left alone at instances to serve their curiosity but they should also be under the supervision of a caregiver, who, according to Kay and Linda should make babies non-verbal expressions that motivate the kids to keep trying. 

Visuals 

Kids interest is highly stimulated by what they see. It is therefore important to have elements that excite them and alter their mood depending on the intention of the caregiver (Maine Department of Health and Human Services). Materials for use by the children should have be made in such a way that communicates the intention of the item. For instance, colors of the walls and toys. The graphics to be used to personalize the environment should be made in such a way that the babies can relate to them, for instance, photographs with pets, parents, homes, and relatives who stimulate the children. 

In conclusion, kids need to be brought up in environments that are responsive to their needs. There above, I have demonstrated this by discussing how the activity areas should be flexible to the child, how plans should be made flexible to allow natural systems to take over as well as allowing natural schedules of kids to dictate what they should be doing rather than imposing the same to them. Kids should be allowed some time alone but under supervision to allow them work on their curiosities. 

References

Kay A. and Linda M. (n.d) Dimensions of Infant & Toddler Programs and Curriculum

Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Supporting Maine’s Infants and Toddlers: Guidelines for Learning and Development.

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