Infant/Toddler Techniques

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ECE 215

       Course Name: Infant/Toddler Techniques

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

ECE 102 with minimum grade of C or consent of instructor or department chair.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines patterns of growth and development in the child from birth to age three.  Content includes specific needs of infants and toddlers in light of current research; safety measures; and planning developmentally appropriate activities.

IV.   Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of the course, students who satisfactorily complete all work will be able to:

  1. Recognize current research and trends in infant-toddler care as well as state and national standards relevant to providing care and education infants and toddlers.
  2. Cultivate a basic understanding of infant/toddler development: physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language.
  3. Name the purpose, benefit and limitations of different approaches to observation and ongoing assessment methods used with infants and toddlers and develop strategies for assisting families with their understanding of these processes.
  4. Observe and assess overall infant/toddler development and be able to recognize signs of developmental variations.
  5. Name federal, state and local laws / policies related to obtaining Early Intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental variations and develop strategies for assisting families with their understanding of these provisions.
  6. Plan, present and evaluate age appropriate activities for infants and toddlers in order to support all elements of their physical, cognitive, social, emotional and linguistic growth.
  7. Demonstrate skill in managing a safe and healthy indoor and outdoor learning environment for infants and toddlers that supports all elements of their physical, cognitive, social, emotional and linguistic growth.
  8. Understand current research-based techniques for making all mealtimes nutritionally sound and developmentally appropriate learning experiences for infants and toddlers so as to facilitate optimal brain growth and development.
  9. Understand how to provide an environment which supports positive emotional health and identity formation in very young children.
  10. Identify techniques for establishing culturally appropriate and respectful relationships with children’s families.

In addition to the objectives listed above, this course also meets the following Illinois Professional Teaching Standards and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

IPTS Standards

STANDARD 1 – Teaching Diverse Students – The competent teacher understands the diverse characteristics and abilities of each student and how individuals develop and learn within the context of their social, economic, cultural, linguistic, and academic experiences. The teacher uses these experiences to create instructional opportunities that maximize student learning.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
1A) understands the spectrum of student diversity (e.g. race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, special education, gifted, English language learners (ELL), sexual orientation, gender, (gender identity) and the assets that each student brings to leaning across the curriculum;
1B) understands how each student constructs knowledge, acquires skills, and develops effective and efficient critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities.
1E) understands the impact of linguistic and cultural diversity on learning and communication;
1F) understands his or her personal perspectives and biases and their effects on one’s teaching;

STANDARD 2 – Content Area and Pedagogical Knowledge – The competent teacher has an in-depth understanding of content area knowledge that includes central concepts, methods, structures of the disciplines, and content area literacy. The teacher creates meaningful learning experiences for each student based upon interactions among content area and pedagogical knowledge, and evidence-based practice.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
2A) understands theories and philosophies of learning and human development as they relate to the range of students in the classroom;
2B) understands major concepts, assumptions, debates, and principles; processes of inquiry; and theories that are central to the disciplines;
2C) understands the cognitive processes associated with various kinds of learning (e.g. critical and creative thinking, problem-structuring and problem-solving, invention, memorization, and recall) and ensures attention to these learning processes so that students can master content standards;
2D) understands the relationship of knowledge within the disciplines to other content areas and to life applications;
2E) understands how diverse student characteristics and abilities affect processes of inquiry and influence patterns of learning;
2F) knows how to access the tools and knowledge related to latest findings (e.g. research, practice, methodologies) and technologies in the disciplines.
2G) understands the theory behind and the process for providing support to promote learning when concepts and skills are first being introduced; and
2H) understands the relationship among language acquisition (first and second), literacy development, and acquisition of academic content and skills.

STANDARD 3 – Planning for Differentiated Instruction – The competent teacher plans and designs instruction based on content area knowledge, diverse student characteristics, student performance data, curriculum goals, and the community context. The teacher plans for ongoing student growth and achievement.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
3B) understands how to develop short- and long-range plans, including transition plans, consistent with curriculum goals, student diversity, and learning theory;
3C) understands cultural, linguistic, cognitive, physical, and social and emotional differences, and considers the needs of each student when planning instruction.
3D) understands when and how to adjust plans based on outcome data, as well as student needs, goals, and responses.

STANDARD 4 – Learning Environment – The competent teacher structures a safe and healthy learning environment that facilitates cultural and linguistic responsiveness, emotional well-being, self-efficacy, positive social interaction, mutual respect, active engagement, academic risk-taking, self-motivation, and personal goal-setting.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
4E) knows how to assess the instructional environment to determine how best to meet a student’s individual needs.

STANDARD 5 – Instructional Delivery – The competent teacher differentiates instruction by using a variety of strategies that support critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, and continuous growth and learning. This teacher understands that the classroom is a dynamic environment requiring ongoing modification of instruction to enhance learning for each student.

Knowledge indicator – The competent teacher:
5A) understands the cognitive processes associated with various kinds of learning.
5B) understands principles and techniques, along with advantages and limitations, associated with a wide range of evidence-based instructional practices;
5C) knows how to implement effective differentiated instruction through the use of a wide variety of materials, technologies, and resources;
5F) knows strategies to maximize student attentiveness and engagement;
5G) knows how to evaluate and use student performance data to adjust instruction while teaching.

STANDARD 7 – Assessment – The competent teacher understands and uses appropriate formative and summative assessment for determining student needs, monitoring student progress, measuring student growth, and evaluating student outcomes. The teacher makes decisions driven by data about curricular and instructional effectiveness and adjusts practices to meet the needs of each student.

Knowledge indicators – the competent teacher:
7A) understands the purposes, characteristics, and limitations of different types of assessments, including standardized assessments, universal screening, curriculum-based assessment, and progress monitoring tools;
7E) understands how to select, construct, and use assessment strategies and instruments for diagnosis and evaluation of learning and instruction;
7I) knows assessment and progress monitoring techniques to assess the effectiveness of instruction for each student.

STANDARD 8 – Collaborative Relationships – The competent teacher builds and maintains collaborative relationships to foster cognitive, linguistic, physical, and social and emotional development. This teacher works as a team member with professional colleagues, students, parents or guardians, and community members.

Knowledge Indicators – The competent teacher:
8A) understands school as organization with the larger community context;
8B) understands the collaborative process and the skills necessary to initiate and carry out that process.
8D) understands the benefits, barriers, and techniques involved in parent and family collaborations;
8G) understands the various models of co-teaching and the procedures for implementing them across the curriculum.

STANDARD 9 – Professionalism, Leadership, and Advocacy – The competent teacher is an ethical and reflective practitioner who exhibits professionalism; provides leadership in the learning community; and advocates for students, parents or guardians, and the profession.

Knowledge Indicators – The competent teacher:
9A) evaluates best practices and research-based materials against benchmarks within the disciplines;
9B) knows the laws and rules (e.g. mandatory reporting, sexual misconduct, corporal punishment) as a foundation for the fair and just treatment of all student and their families in the classroom and school
9C) understands emergency response procedures as required under the School Safety Drill Act [105 ILCS 128/1], including school safety and crisis intervention protocol, initial response actions (e.g., whether to stay in or evacuate a building), and first response to medical emergencies (e.g., first aid and life-saving techniques);
9H) understands the importance of modeling appropriate dispositions in the classroom.

NAEYC Standards

STANDARD 1. Promoting Child Development and Learning
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs are grounded in a child development knowledge base. They use their understanding of young children’s characteristics and needs, and of multiple interacting influences on children’s development and learning, to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child.

Key elements of STANDARD 1
1A) Knowing and understanding young children’s characteristics and needs, from birth through age 8
1B) Knowing and understanding the multiple influences on early development and learning
1C) Using developmental knowledge to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments for young children.

STANDARD 2 – Building Family and Community Relationships
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that successful early childhood education depends upon partnerships with children’s families and communities. They know about, understand, and value the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities. They use this understanding to create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families, and to involve all families in their children’s development and learning.

Key elements of STANDARD 2
2A) Knowing about and understanding diverse family and community characteristics
2B) Supporting and engaging families and communities through respectful, reciprocal relationships.
2C) Involving families and communities in young children’s development and learning.

STANDARD 3. Observing, Documenting, and Assessing to Support Young Children and Families
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that child observation, documentation, and other forms of assessment are central to the practice of all early childhood professionals. They know about and understand the goals, benefits and uses of assessment. They know about and use systematic observations, documentation, and other effective assessment strategies in a responsible way, in partnership with families and other professionals, to positively influence the development of every child.

Key elements of STANDARD 3
3A) Understanding the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment – including its use in development of appropriate goals, curriculum, and teaching strategies for young children.
3B) Knowing about and using observation, documentation, and other appropriate assessment tools and approaches, including the use of technology in documentation, assessment and data collection
3C) Understanding and practicing responsible assessment to promote positive outcomes for each child, including the use of assistive technology for children with disabilities
3D) Knowing about assessment partnerships with families and with professional colleagues to build effective learning environments.

STANDARD 4. Using Developmentally Effective Approaches
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that teaching and learning with young children is a complex enterprise, and its details vary depending on children’s ages, characteristics, and the settings within which teaching and learning occur. They understand and use positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation for their work with young children and families. Candidates know, understand, and use a wide array of developmentally appropriate approaches, instructional strategies, and tools to connect with children and families and positively influence each child’s development and learning.

Key elements of STANDARD 4
4A) Understanding positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation of their work with young children
4B) Knowing and understanding effective strategies and tools for early education, including appropriate uses of technology
4C) Using a broad repertoire of developmentally appropriate teaching/learning approaches

STANDARD 5 – Using Content Knowledge to Build Meaning Curriculum
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs use their knowledge of academic disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and learning for each and every young child. Candidates understand the importance of developmental domains and academic (or content) disciplines in early childhood curriculum. They know the essential concepts, inquiry tools, and structure of content areas, including academic subjects, and can identify resources to deepen their understanding. Candidates use their own knowledge and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful, challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive developmental and learning outcomes for every young child.

Key elements of STANDARD 5
5A) Understanding content knowledge and resources in academic disciplines: language and literacy; the arts – music, creative movement, dance, drama, visual arts; mathematics; science, physical activity, physical education, health and safety; and social studies.
5B) Knowing and using the central concepts, inquiry tools, and structures of content areas or academic disciplines
5C) Using own knowledge, appropriate early learning standards, and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate developmentally meaningful and challenging curriculum for each child.

STANDARD 6. Becoming a Professional
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs identify and conduct themselves as members or the early childhood profession. They know and use ethical guidelines and other professional standards related to early childhood practice. They are continuous, collaborative learners who demonstrate knowledgeable, reflective and critical perspectives on their work, making informed decisions that integrate knowledge from a variety of sources. They are informed advocates for sound educational practices and policies.

Key elements of STANDARD 6
6A) Identifying and involving oneself with the early childhood field
6B) Knowing about and upholding ethical standards and other early childhood professional guidelines
6C) Engaging in continuous, collaborative learning to inform practice; using technology effectively with young children, with peers, and as a professional resource
6D) Integrating knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives on early education.
6E) Engaging in informed advocacy for young children and the early childhood profession.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
www.oakton.edu/studentlife/student-handbook.pdf

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. The First Year of Life
    1. Infant Development: Physical, Cognitive, Language, Social-Emotional Growth
    2. Activities for Infants (1:1; Group)
      1. Physical games and exercise techniques
      2. Games with sounds
      3. Working with older infants, learning words, talking
      4. Activities that help infants learn about objects in their world and how to use them
      5. Appropriate toys and how to use them
      6. Outdoor play with infants
    3. Care giving Concerns
      1. Feeding, changing, and dressing infants
      2. Social relations among groups of infants; what is appropriate in terms of numbers
      3. Individual differences and how to deal with them
      4. Arranging an appropriate environment for growth
      5. Parent/caregiver relationships
  2. The Toddler
    1. What is a toddler?
      1. Overview of developmental characteristics
      2. Overview of theories concerning toddlers
    2. Activities for toddlers
      1. Physical games to improve motor skills and coordination
      2. Musical activities for toddlers
      3. Books for toddlers (including how to choose and use them)
      4. Games for language development
      5. Helping toddlers learn and use words
      6. Get activities and materials
      7. Appropriate toys and educational materials for 1 and 2 years old
      8. Outdoor play
    3. Care giving Concerns
      1. Discipline and the “terrible twos”
      2. Arranging an environment for toddlers, including child proofing your day care home
      3. Scheduling and variety in activities
      4. Feeding and dressing 2 year olds
      5. Toilet training and group care
      6. Competent in toddlers
      7. Peer interaction
      8. Coping with individual differences
  3. Parent/caregiver relationships
    Assessing Potential Problems
    1. Informal methods of observation
    2. Areas of difficulties
    3. Referral techniques
    4. Activities for working with infants and toddlers with special needs

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Class time will be divided between lecture/discussion of issues related to infant/toddler development and care giving techniques.  Students will be expected to create and present appropriate teaching activities to young children, as well as describe and evaluate these activities during class time


Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

The instructor will provide each class with further information as to attendance, policies, and support services.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Text:  Infants, Toddlers and Caregivers, Gonzalez-Mena, Janet and Widmeyer Eyer, Dianne. Seventh Edition. Mayfield Publishing Company, 1993.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At the end of the semester the student will be able to:

  1. Pass three multiple choice quizzes on course content
  2. Complete assignment sheets and observation forms pertaining to home and center based programs
  3. Plan and write an infant/toddler educational program for one day and one week
  4. Identify, in writing, appropriate referral agencies
  5. Submit teaching activity forms and present oral and written evaluation of activities according to established criteria

XI.   Other Course Information

The instructor will provide each class with further information as to attendance, policies, and support systems.

Plagiarism/Cheating policies are covered under the Academic Dishonesty Section of the current catalog.



If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.