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Facilitating Infants’ Sensory Development

by Christina Alton
January/February 2011
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/facilitating-infants-sensory-development/5019750/

Sensory development involves stimulation of all the senses an infant uses. Our understanding of sensory development in infants comes from the cognitive theorist Jean Piaget who identified the sensorimotor stage as the first stage of development. Piaget believed that infants and toddlers learn through their actions and sensory experiences to construct their knowledge of the world.

It’s important to understand sensory development because infants use their senses to learn about the world around them; sensory stimulation is linked to all the developmental domains (emotional, social, cognitive, and physical); and all the senses need to work together so that infants can move, learn, and interact with their environment. However, infants are vulnerable to over-stimulation:

• When you start to support sensory development, do it slowly. Possibly focus on only one sense at a time.
• Always take the infant’s lead with any activity. Not paying attention to the infant’s verbal and nonverbal cues will result in a lost opportunity for learning.
• A good time to focus on these types of activities is when the infant’s needs are met, meaning he has been fed and is dry and alert.

Some may question this focus on infants’ sensory development saying:

“The infants I care for ...

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