The following post is from information sent to us by Mary Tabb of the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership, which is a wonderful resource that is available to support the social and emotional development of children in your care and in your early childhood program.
Infants and Toddlers often need a soft, quiet, protected place where they can relax and have some space away from loud or busy areas in the classroom. Teaching children to soothe themselves by going to a ‘cozy area’ can help them feel comforted and better able to cope. They may benefit from a ‘cozy area’ to be by themselves while they adjust to events such as drop off or overly noisy activities such as movement or music.
Infant and toddler rooms strive for a comfortable and comforting environment which is more homelike than a typical classroom. These classrooms have soft surfaces and places to sit, lie down, and cuddle up for infants and toddlers seeking comfort and cuddling. Here are some tips for classroom setup:
• Provide a ‘cozy area’ in your classroom that is easily accessible. Allow children to use the ‘cozy area’ freely. This is an area with soft surfaces, cuddly toys, some cushions, a cozy rug, a blanket, and a little sofa or chair. Have a few books available that children can look at and perhaps a toy or two that gives the child the option of some music.
• Self-soothing is an important skill for children to learn. Some children may need time alone to soothe themselves. These are children who may refuse the comfort of a caregiver. They may cry a little, suck a pacifier or thumb, and after a little calming time, rejoin the group willingly. A soft cozy area that children can go to easily can help with this self-soothing process.
Organizing Classroom and Outdoor Learning Environments
White, C. S., & Coleman, M. (2000).
Soft Spaces www.communityplaythings.com/resources/articles/softspaces/index.html
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Early Childhood Consultation Partnership©
A program of Advanced Behavioral Health www.abhct.com
Funded by CT Department of Children & Families