Developing Sense of Self
Infants and toddlers are just beginning to develop a sense of themselves as individuals
What You Need to Know
Infants and toddlers are just beginning to develop a sense of themselves and an awareness that their bodies, thoughts, and actions are separate from others. They may notice and comment on how they are alike and different from others. Teachers can support children to develop a positive sense of self and appreciate diversity. They can acknowledge children’s attributes, promote their autonomy, and embrace similarities and differences.
What It Looks Like
Ways you can help infants and toddlers explore their budding sense of self
Drawing attention to similarities and differences, like various colors of hair, helps children develop self-awareness and an appreciation of diversity.
Giving children choice within an activity, such as deciding how to greet someone, is a great way to let children know that their ideas and preferences are valued.
Recognize Every Child
Giving children opportunities to use their own names and creatively express themselves through movement is a fun way to support their growing sense of self.
BUILDING CONNECTIONS WITH BOOKS
The Skin You Live In
Written by Michael Tyler and illustrated by David Lee Csicsko, this story encourages young readers to love themselves and embrace others, no matter the color of their skin.
Focusing on Strengths
This blog from Brookings invites us to look beyond trauma. Learn how you can focus on children’s strengths to help them build a more positive view of themselves.
The National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning shares tips for teachers on building relationships with families of dual language learners.
Recognizing Bias and Promoting Equity
This short video from the Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation encourages teachers to embrace children’s cultures to support their sense of self.
Activity Cards for Infant and Toddler Classrooms
Part of the STREAMin3 curriculum, these activity cards provide simple and fun ways you can help older infants and toddlers explore their budding sense of self
Get Our Resource Guide
Includes questions and activities to guide your use of the videos, book suggestions, and activity cards featured for each of our core social-emotional skills