Chapter 12

At birth the human brain is an astoundingly unfinished state. All of the “hardware” is present, but no connections have been made. The experiences that children have from infancy result in connections that are reinforced as the experiences are repeated. This process is the neural circuitry that lays the foundation for lifelong learning

(Shonokoff & Phillips, 2000).

The Development of Infant Memory

Infant Memory

The Need for Pretend Play in Child Development

The Role of Pretend Play in Child Development

The Importance of Pretend Play

The Impact of Pretend Play on Children’s Development

The Development of Problem Solving in Young Children: A Critical Cognitive Skill

Tools of the Mind

Following a Child’s Lead: Emergent Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers

Empowering Infants’ and Toddlers’ Learning Through Scaffolding

Sharing the Wonder: Science with Infants and Toddlers

Mathematizing with Toddlers and Coaching Undergraduates: Foundations for Intentional Math Development

Virtual Lab School:

Infant and Toddler Cognitive Development

Infant and Toddler Creativity

The Project Approach with Toddlers:

Using the Project Approach with Toddlers

Beginning the Journey: The Project Approach with Toddlers

Dr. Kaywork’s Project Approach Website: Infants and Toddlers

Examples of Project Approach Experiences – The following series of videos will give you examples of project-based learning in with toddlers and preschoolers:

“Investigations is the curriculum used by Eastern’s Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC). The curriculum was developed by CFDRC teachers and administrators in partnership with Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith. The curriculum is centered around engaging projects—called “investigations”—on topics that are selected by children, teachers, and families. Each video in the Investigating… series captures one topic of investigation explored at the CFDRC. Videos include interviews with preschool and toddler teachers about how children engaged in literacy, math, science, art, and other activities through the three- or four-month investigation.”

Additional Readings

American academy of pediatrics. (2011). Media use by children younger than two years. Pediatrics,128 (5), 1040-1045. Retrieved from

Friedman, S., & Soltero, M. (2006). Following a child’s lead: Emergent curriculum for infants and toddlers. Beyond the JournalJuly 2006, 1-5. Retrieved from

Guyton, G. (2011). Using toys to support infant-toddler learning and development. Young Children, 50-56.

Helm, J. H., & Katz, L. G. (2010). Young investigators: The project approach in the early years. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Kogan, Y., & Pin, J. (2009). Beginning the journey: The project approach with toddlers. Early Childhood Research & Practice11(1), Retrieved from

LeeKeenan, D., & Edwards, C. (1992). Using the project approach with toddlers. DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Retrieved from

Miller, K. (2002). Caring for little ones: How infants and toddler use symbols. Child Care Exchange, May/June 2002.

Additional Websites

Making Sensory Bottles and Bags:

Zero to Three’s The Power of Play: Learning through Play from Birth to Three:

Zero the Three’s Interactive “Brain Map:”

Dr. Kaywork’s Project Approach Website:

Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child:

“Serve and Return”

5 Steps for Brain-Building Serve and Return

Filming Interactions to Nurture Development

CDC’s Resource Library 

Babies and Toddlers Amazing Learners:

Informational Videos: