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Encouraging Intellectual Development in Infants and Toddlers
Research has confirmed that there is an astounding amount of development in children's brains during the infant and toddler years. This development sets the stage for later capabilities. Early childhood teachers create learning experiences that allow children to reach their maximum potential. As infants and toddlers gradually explore their environments, they are observing and learning cause and effect. “If I do this … then this … happens.” This learning can be observed when infants discover their toes, learn to roll over, crawl, balance and walk.
We observe children’s intellectual development as they learn that shaking a rattle produces noise; something is not gone when out of sight (peek-a-boo); items can change shape (doors open and close, lids come off and go back on); or that items must be smaller than the hole in order to go inside (such as shape sorters or stacking blocks).
Children must have repeated and varied experiences with these concepts in order to build understanding. Intentional planning by the teacher ensures materials and experiences are offered to children to enhance intellectual development.