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Encouraging a New View of Toddlers

by Margie Carter
July/August 2008
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/encouraging-a-new-view-of-toddlers/5018238/

Among the various age groups in our early childhood programs, toddlers seem the most challenging for teachers to work with. What words do you typically hear used to describe these newly mobile citizens of our world? Toddlers are often viewed as oppositional, clingy, whiny, prone to tantrums, untrustworthy, and exasperating. Imagine if your identity were being shaped by words like these? How would you begin to feel about yourself? How might you, in turn, start to behave? The reputation of 'the terrible twos' is ubiquitous across our country. I think this characterization inserts unnecessary negativity into the spirits of toddlers and their caregivers. My goal in working with toddler teachers is to shift the mindset from 'terrible' to 'terrific' twos.

With such platitudes I could be perceived as a Pollyanna and further annoyance to caregivers struggling with too many children in their group and too little support. The stress imbedded in their work is real, but I believe a different view of toddlers and the caregiving role can transform their daily experience. My working partner, Deb Curtis, has become my role model for this possibility. Leaving her college teaching to return to direct work with children, Deb has spent the ...

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