“There is no such thing as a baby,” said Donald Winnicott, mid-century child development scholar. While his statement might seem counter-intuitive to adults, it is reflective of the experiences of the child.
An infant is cognitively and physically unaware of himself as separate from his environment. As infant teachers know, when one baby cries, they all cry.
A baby is his environment.
A baby is his adults.
During babyhood, basic survival, development, and cognitive capacities are all linked directly to adults. Infants learn about themselves and their world by how adults respond.
“If I cry: what happens?”
“When I smile: what happens?”
“When my diaper is uncomfortable: what happens?”
Babies’ development depends adults who:
- Respond with consistent, sensitive, and reliable care.
- Place babies’ needs as most important.
- Guide and support development as it unfolds.
- Manage life’s daily ups and downs.
This is true of the babies. And, it is true of each of us as babies. Continue Reading