While I was in high school, I studied Child Development and later went on to study both Child Development and Elementary Education while I was in college.
I spent a lot of time volunteering and working at various preschools and daycare centers throughout my time in high school and college. At many daycare centers, the classrooms are split up by age.
They have classrooms for infants and toddlers, and some of them have classrooms for preschoolers and pre-kindergarteners.
When I first started working in daycares, I didn’t understand why they were so keen on keeping the infants and the toddlers separated, but I soon learned why. There are several differences between an infant and a toddler.
The first difference is age. An infant is only considered an infant up until their first birthday. Then the child is regarded as a toddler and will be a toddler until they turn three.
After they turn three, they are considered a preschooler (even if they don’t attend preschool). So much growth happens for a child during the first three years of their lives.
As infants, they learn to make and hold eye contact, make sounds, develop trust, and play simple back and forth games, like rolling a ball to someone or playing peek-a-boo.
They will often develop a sense of humor and laugh if someone makes a funny sound or a funny face. Infancy is also when they learn to eat some simple, soft foods, sleep through the night (if you’re lucky!), roll over, sit up, and crawl.
The Difference Between an Infant and a Toddler
Toddlers are very different, and one of the main reasons they are kept separated in daycare centers is because infants and toddlers do not have excellent space awareness yet.
This means that not only do they not understand personal space and how to respect someone’s personal space, they often cannot tell how far away their body is from something else.
As a very new toddler (twelve to fifteen months, usually), they begin to learn how to walk, and soon after they know to walk, they learn to RUN! If you haven’t seen much of this yourself, let me say that a toddler learning to run is a bit chaotic.
Their heads are sometimes too heavy for their bodies, and they often topple over. So, the biggest reason that they keep infants and toddlers separated in classrooms is for safety.
During the toddler years are also when children learn to talk. They will usually somewhat quickly go from speaking in just a few simple words to full-blown sentences. Their minds are also expanding very quickly.
It’s often said that small children are like sponges, soaking up everything around them, and this could not be more true.
During the toddler years, children often learn simple songs, learn how to play pretend games, learn simple colors and shapes, and sometimes even learn the difference between letters and numbers. However, letters and numbers are not often taught until they are a preschooler.
Every child learns, grows, develops, and advances at his or her own pace, so it’s important not to compare one child to another. However, there are many differences between an infant and a toddler that you will probably notice reasonably quickly by merely observing the young children around you.
Brittany started her writing career as a ghostwriter before independently publishing The Zion Series (a young adult trilogy), two books of poetry and several other short eBooks. Her novels are currently being translated into three other languages and one is being adapted into a screenplay.
Brittany has an Associate’s degree in Education, and prior to beginning her writing career, she worked as a preschool teacher, a Sunday School teacher, and as a private tutor for adults with intellectual disabilities.She lives in North Carolina with her two children.
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