During this developmental stage, toddlers are concerned about who they are and who is in charge. Our staff realizes the importance of helping toddlers become comfortable with who they are and to help them become independent little individuals. Beginning around 18 months of age, identity becomes the dominant developmental issue for children. Behavior is closely tied to questions of independence and control. The sense of security that began to develop in the earlier months, and the desire to explore (with increasing purposefulness), continues.
Caregivers help toddlers find appropriate ways to assert themselves by supporting their individuality, allowing choices whenever possible and by introducing social guidelines. Caregivers provide a well-designed environment that offers toddlers chances to be in control and to participate in group play, fantasy play and independent activity. This helps our staff to foster cooperation, facilitate toddler development and understand a strong sense of self.
Caregivers, at this stage, offer toddlers experiences that support initiative, creativity, autonomy and self-esteem. They recognize that while striving to be independent and self-reliant, toddlers count on the understanding and vigilance of the adults who love them. Caregivers are prepared to prevent injuries and handle conflicts as toddlers learn to defend themselves, share and cooperate with others. Our competent caregivers are aware that toddlers are capable and desirous to test their social skills. Toddlers are allowed the opportunities to “take responsibility” for others and take advantage of unplanned encounters to demonstrate their competence. Seeking autonomy, occasionally the toddler may push adults away at times. Toddlers know that they can still count on caregivers to protect and provide a secure base when needed.