Infant/Toddler Environmental and Instructional Strategies

Teacher/Caregiver Considerations

Environmental Considerations

Birth to 8 Months

  • Talk to infants about what is occurring during routines, such as diapering and feeding
  • Respond to children’s babbling and cooing
  • Take note of how infants respond to your voice, others voices, loud noises, and new sounds
  • Take note of how infants indicate or communicate their needs
  • Engage infants with books, name the objects in pictures and tell simple stories
  • Provide interesting things for infants to look at and watch
  • Include multiple times throughout the day for infants to reach and explore a variety of books, toys and materials
  • Provide appropriate books designed for young infants, including plastic, board, and cloth ones
  • Include a variety of books with bright pictures and simple print
  • Provide opportunities for sharing books, pictures and songs
  • Provide interesting things for infants to track with their eyes, grasp, and release

8 to 18 Months

  • Provide multiple language experiences - read, sing, ask questions, repeat rhymes
  • Notice infants’ cues to help them understand how to get their needs met, such as picking up a child when he or she stretches out their arms
  • Take note of infants’ interest in language
  • Provide commentary of your own actions, as well as those of the infant
  • Make language experiences meaningful by including information from home
  • Provide interesting objects and materials and plan many opportunities to talk about them
  • Provide a variety of materials for scribbling and painting

18 to 24 Months

  • Provide opportunities to share books one-on-one, in small groups, and in large groups throughout the day
  • Establish eye contact when talking with young children, allowing them to see your face as you are speaking
  • Talk with parents and families about early literacy development and encourage reading at home
  • Incorporate children’s home language in conversations and activities, as much as possible
  • Encourage toddlers to ask questions
  • Provide multiple opportunities for pretend play
  • Model writing and discuss what you are putting on paper
  • Provide opportunities and materials to encourage dramatic play, both indoors and outdoors
  • Provide comfortable and sufficient spaces within the environment for children to enjoy books
  • Make sure books are within easy reach for toddlers
  • Create books from photos of familiar objects and people
  • Provide a wide-variety of books throughout the classroom
  • Provide materials, space, and time for pretend play
  • Provide materials and opportunities for drawing, painting, and scribbling, both inside and outside.


  • Model good grammar, and gently correct grammar errors by simply repeating what children say correctly
  • Read books with inflection
  • Learn about children’s interests and provide books related to them
  • Tell stories and encourage children to do the same
  • Ask open-ended questions and provide time to children to respond
  • Repeat and extend children’s responses and utterances
  • Make reading time special
  • Ask children to tell you about their drawings and writing
  • Engage in pretend play with children
  • Plan and provide comfortable spaces that encourage conversations both indoors and outdoors
  • Provide a variety of books, such as storybooks, picture books, books about nature, books about the way things work, etc.
  • Label objects in the environment with both pictures and print
  • Rotate materials and props to encourage dramatic play throughout the year
  • Provide a variety of types of paper and writing tools