Young infants develop a unique relationship—known as attachment—with their caregivers. To develop secure bonds, infants need to know that at least one person really cares about them. Caregivers provide that comfort by helping infants regulate needs and emotions, such as hunger and sadness. With healthy attachments, infants develop a sense of safety and trust.
Infants need to be held, to have face-to-face interactions, to feel another human heartbeat. By meeting these needs, caregivers foster attachment. Plan how you will meet these essential needs—while keeping yourself and infants safe.
Caregivers need to build attachment with infants to help them thrive. Meanwhile, social distancing is necessary to keep settings safe. Healthy attachments are a strong starting place for infants to learn and grow.
When infants can trust their caregivers, they feel not only safe but also ready for learning and developing. Some social distancing precautions mean caregivers need to make an extra effort to form that trust.
When frightened, sad, frustrated, or even disgusted, infants seek comfort in caregivers. Different emotions call for different responses. But in socially distanced settings, staying safe is always a part of providing reassurance.
Now that you’ve read some ways to form attachment in your socially distanced setting, use this planning document to brainstorm how you will form attachment with the infants in your socially distanced classroom.
Family members are a child’s first teachers. So caregivers should maintain a close partnership with families. Building a trusting relationship with them helps you take all necessary precautions to keep infants and yourself healthy. Whether by phone, email, or text, provide opportunities for each family to share information and ideas about the developmental goals for their child. You can also schedule opportunities to share developmentally appropriate practices at home. Finally, by sharing videos of your interactions with infants, families can hear you demonstrating those practices, responding to their needs, and building healthy attachment.
When Covid-19 hit and schools shut down, many of us were certain that it would not impact the 2020-21 school year. But with the pandemic surging and some schools opening up - only to shut down again, it’s clear that Covid is still with us. The length of the pandemic has only heightened concern about Covid related learning loss - especially among underserved populations.
Children need to feel safe before they can explore their surroundings. While curiosity and exploration help awaken children’s talents, teachers help reinforce their learning through guidance and repetition. All children benefit from intentional interactions that inspire them through new experiences—and some children need additional or individualized support.
Given the natural need to be around others, children might have a hard time with social distancing. Organize materials in spaces where two friends can explore together. Make yourself available to facilitate their exploration while ensuring safety.
Toddlers reinforce their trust in caregivers while venturing into the world on their own. Along with stable relationships and independence, they need frequent reminders of behavioral expectations to keep themselves and their peers safe. With support and regulation, educators can help buffer the effects of stress or trauma and promote healthy child development.
Children learn best in a warm, safe environment. While positive interactions strengthen a classroom community, clear safety expectations promote healthiness. Remind children that these measures are in place because you care about them.
Trust for Learning is a “philanthropic partnership dedicated to expanding ideal early learning environments for underserved children.” They have worked over the past few years to articulate a set of principles for ideal learning. These set of principles have been gleaned from well-known early childhood approaches including Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Friends Center for Children, Tools of the Mind, Bank Street College of Education, and Waldorf.