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Worlds for Infants and Toddlers: New Ideas

by Jim Greenman
September/October 1987
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/worlds-for-infants-and-toddlers-new-ideas/5005715/

Our surroundings affect our behavior. As adults we whisper in libraries, we feel lost on the streets of strange cities, we relax in our own homes. Exactly like adults, children's feelings and behaviors are shaped by the physical situation in which they find themselves.

Even children who are too young to know about rules or possible dangers are affected by physical space: think about an infant's surprise at being laid down on a cold changing table, the way a two year old runs when faced with a ramp, the shyness of many four year olds entering a new classroom.

But for many years people have argued that while young children react to their environments, they are most strongly affected by the immediate qualities of their surroundings: cold air or bath water, wet diapers, rough edges, lost balance, or loud noises. This view of children's relationships to the physical world is meeting considerable challenge.

What Do They Know?

For a number of years, researchers argued that the vision of infants is hazy. Consequently, people believed that infants react to skin sensations more than to the world out there. Over the last 20 years, researchers like T. G. R. Bower and Robert Fantz have shown ...

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