One of our favorite and must exciting activities is exploring worms. To start, we first figure out where worms live; often, children have seen worms out on the sidewalk or crawling on dirt and have a good idea of where to search for more. Exploring all the places in our outdoor space where they can live—asking children where they saw them and where they could have crawled under. By taking on this approach to finding the worms, we set the groundwork to learn more about worms’ habitat. Plus, it is fun to look for clues.

Once we decide where to look, the fun and messy part starts, children can use their hands, or I provide shovels so they can dig in the dirt. Figuring out what children are comfortable with is key; some will love to touch the dirt, while others may not want to. The same can be said for when we find a worm. Some children are curious and want to pick them up immediately. Others may want to see them from afar. We give children space and allow them to go at their own pace in the exploration.

If they are touching the worm, we talk about kindness, responsibility, respect, and compassion for the worm. Years ago, when we saw a worm or bug, I would immediately say, “look with your eyes, we might scare it or hurt it”. Over time I have learned the importance of having children experience holding insects, animals, and materials. I had to shift my thinking, and instead of avoiding the touching. I began to trust the children. Talking with them about how we treat animals and how we want to make sure we are caring for nature. Allowing them to take responsibility and feel proud of how they care for others helps them develop a great sense of self.

 

Healthy social-emotional development for babies and toddlers occurs through positive relationships with caring and nurturing adults. Caregivers can help babies and toddlers learn about their own emotional experiences and those of others; from here, the development of empathy begins to emerge.

Learn more about how infants and toddlers develop empathy and your role as a caregiver in this resource created by Office of Child Care
Administration for Children and Families U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 

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The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning provides resources for parents, teachers, and providers with the goal to improve the social and emotional outcomes of young children. The resources include trainings and modules as well as resources specific for teachers and caregivers to download, all geared to help adults meet the social and emotional needs of young children.

 

 

One of the most important tasks for young children is developing self-regulation, and the support of caregivers is critical in this process. This Town Square created handout offers information on what is involved in self-regulation, why it is important, and how responsive caregiving can support it.

Self Regulation PDF

Changing activities throughout the day can be challenging for children.  This handout from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) gives some helpful ideas about being proactive when it comes to transitions to help children become independent in moving between activities over time.

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Helping Children make transitions between activities 

One of the most important tasks for young children is developing self-regulation and the support of caregivers is critical in this process. This handout offers some information about what is involved in self-regulation, why it is important, and how responsive caregiving can support it.

Fostering Self Regulation Handout

Fostering Self Regulation Handout – Spanish

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Town Square Research to Practice Statements offer information from theory and research with examples and suggestions for what it means in your work with children.  This series of position statements includes topics such as the benefits of a home-like environment, the power of open-ended materials, and the benefits of incorporating the arts.

Town Square Research to Practice: Fostering Self Regulation

Una de las tareas más importantes para los niños pequeños es el desarrollo de la autorregulación, y el apoyo de los cuidadores es fundamental en este proceso. Este folleto creado por Town Square ofrece información sobre lo que implica la autorregulación, por qué es importante y cómo puede apoyarla un cuidador.

el desarrollo de la autorregulación