How Critical Thinking Promotes Excellence in ECE: Infants & Toddlers

Here are a few real world examples of how early care and education providers who work with infants and toddlers can incorporate critical thinking skills:

Using Critical Thinking

• Gather information and get to know each child as an individual. Discover children’s likes and dislikes, preferences, moods, responses to stimuli, and ways that they recover after an upsetting situation.
• Seek to understand parents’ perspectives on childrearing decisions, goals for their children while they are in your care, and approaches to education.
• Collaborate with coworkers and/or parents to create a plan to meet children’s needs at all times.
• Question your beliefs about children’s behaviors.
• Evaluate the use of space and materials as you design an optimal learning environment.
• Conduct research about developmentally appropriate infant and toddler environments (descriptions in books, professional articles, teacher blogs, videos, etc.). Compare and contrast your current environment to those discovered in your research.

Promoting Critical Thinking

• Build upon child’s current level of knowledge and skills by adding new challenges and activities.
• Model for children how to find solutions to problems.
• Present new materials in thought-provoking ways.
• Encourage children to think of new ways they can use familiar materials.
• Point out how things are similar and different. If appropriate, encourage children to compare items.
• Encourage parents to consider their children’s skills and abilities, motivations, and preferences.