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August 9, 2022 / Blog

Benefits and components of an infant lesson plan template

Babies are born with the neurological essentials for learning – but they need a variety of experiences to activate them.  An infant lesson plan template guides caregivers to be intentional with instruction to build and strengthen essential brain connections and wiring.

The most beneficial infant lesson plans are intentional and individualized for each baby. Activities should be age appropriate and support the language, cognitive, social and emotional, and physical developmental domains.

Most of all, learning should be fun!

Encouraging optimum brain development

The first three years of life lay the foundation for lifelong learning. The child’s brain is busy wiring the foundation for vision, emotional stability, social interactions, language development, motor development, thinking skills, and much more. By age three, a child’s brain has achieved 80% of its wiring foundation.

Research shows that all children – no matter where they are born or the conditions under which they are born (premature, developmentally delayed, or typically developing) – have the same optimum periods for wiring specific skills. These are referred to as “open windows of opportunity.” Positive experiences during open windows result in positive outcomes. Negative experiences during open windows result in negative outcomes.

An infant lesson plan template should address the optimum opportunities for brain development.

Open windows for developmental domains:

  • Social and emotional – 0-48 months
  • Cognitive – 0-48 months
  • Physical – 0-24 months
  • Language – 0-24 months

Intentional instruction

Teaching with intention means the caregiver is focusing on activities with specific outcomes for each child, with developmental domains as the focus. As part of an infant lesson plan template, intentional instruction should accommodate the individuality of each baby’s temperament, personality and learning styles.

Another aspect of intentional teaching is selecting everything from toys to activities to songs with purpose (like the windows of opportunity) in mind.

Examples of intentional toys and equipment for each domain:

  • Social and emotional – music and one-on-one interaction
  • Cognitive – rattles and blocks
  • Physical – balls and pull toys
  • Language – books and puppets

Play, learn, repeat!

A comprehensive infant lesson plan template should create opportunities to repeat activities. It’s important to repeat again later if the activity requires additional practice or even if a child especially enjoys it.

Repetition is critical because it builds strong neural connections that optimize the chance that the concept or skill will be remembered. Experiences wire the brain – repetition strengthens the wiring.

Assessment and screening

It’s important for an infant lesson plan template to cover the growth and development milestones that are monitored by developmental screenings and ongoing assessments. This includes their rapidly expanding skills in the social and emotional, cognitive, language, and physical developmental domains.

Caregivers can find resources and support to optimize the growth and development of infants in their care through curriculum like Frog Street Infant. Designed around early brain research, it provides intentional activities and support in essential developmental domains in four age ranges: 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months and 12-18 months.