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Educating and Caring For Very Young Children: the Infant/Toddler Curriculum.

D. Bergen, R. Reid, & L. Torelli. New York: Teachers College Press, 2001. 191 pp. $42.00 hardcover; $19.95 paperback. This readable book encourages educarers to take a thoughtful, individualized approach to designing responsive infant/toddler curriculum and environments. The book is divided into three parts. Part I describes the essential components for designing learning experiences and environments that will nurture infants and toddlers and promote their healthy development.

After this focus on general guidelines for high-quality infant/toddler programs, Part II offers 20 case studies of children ages one month to 3 years, encouraging readers to think about how to take individual factors into account when planning infant and toddler curriculum and environments. The case studies incorporate curriculum guidelines for nine different age levels, at two-month intervals. This helps readers to see how children change and grow within a relatively short time, as well as how individual children vary in their development and responses to the environment and other people. The curriculum guidelines are organized according to three "content areas," which derive from the research presented in Part I: knowledge construction, social-emotional relationship building, and play development.

Part III turns to an examination of the social, cultural, and familial contexts in which young children live, and how these contexts influence children's development and, by extension, the infant / toddler curriculum and environment.

Each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions for discussion. The book also includes three appendices: additional resources, criteria for setting up programs for infants and toddlers, and diagrams for infant/toddler care settings.

The authors bring a wealth of experience as designers of infant / toddler curriculum and environments: Bergen's expertise in the area of play is reflected in the book's emphasis on play-based curriculum and educare settings; Torelli is well-known as a leader in the field of child care design; and Reid has extensive experience in child care settings as a teacher, director, and supervisor of college students. The book's approach to infant / toddler curriculum is well-grounded in developmental theory and brain research, and the engaging case studies portray infants and toddlers as interesting individuals deserving of respect and care. Current and future infant/toddler educarers will find this a valuable resource. Reviewed by Patricia A. Cantor, Associate Professor and Chair, Education Department, Plymouth State College, Plymouth, NH
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Author:Cantor, Patricia A.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 2003
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