Responsive Relationships and Interactions: The curriculum consistently promotes responsive relationships and interactions with infants and toddlers, which research shows are foundational to children's development in all domains. Volume 1: The Foundation (Volume 1) and Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning (Volume 3) provide strategies to build secure, trusting relationships with children (e.g., smile at children, show affection, talk with children, spend time playing with children). Volume 2: Routines & Experiences (Volume 2) offers guidance on how to engage in sensitive, responsive caregiving during daily routines (e.g., hellos and goodbyes, diapering and toileting). For each routine, the curriculum includes "Responding to What Children Need" with a brief scenario, teacher's thoughts and responses, and what the child might be learning. Throughout Volumes 1–3, the Intentional Teaching Cards, and the Book Conversation Cards, the curriculum offers several prompts and examples of how to engage children in joint attention as well as how to respond to children's language and communication.
Daily Routines as Opportunities for Learning: The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos provides comprehensive guidance on how to use daily routines to support infants' and toddlers' development and learning in all domains. Volume 1: The Foundation includes guidance on how to create predictable and flexible schedules centered around infants' and toddlers' routines (e.g., diapering and toileting, eating and mealtimes) and experiences (e.g., playing with toys, imitating and pretending, enjoying stories and books). It also includes specific tools to support teachers in the process. For example, the "Individual Care Plan" is developed with each family to help create individualized schedules for infants. Volume 2: Routines & Experiences gives further guidance on how to create an environment to support caregiving routines, how to create caring and teaching strategies during routines, and how to partner with families.
Play and Exploration: The curriculum promotes infants' and toddlers' play and active exploration, which research suggests provide a rich context for learning in all domains. Volume 1: The Foundation describes how children learn through play. It also guides teachers to provide sufficient time in the daily schedule for play and exploration. Volume 2: Routines & Experiences offers several examples of equipment for active physical play (e.g., riding toys, climbers, slides, push-and-pull toys) and open-ended materials (e.g., grasping and mouthing toys, blocks, balls, dough, painting materials) that would foster children's curiosity, exploration, and creativity. Several Intentional Teaching Cards reinforce these principles by inviting children to explore and use objects in multiple ways (e.g., cups, whisks, rocks, nesting toys, foam blocks, cardboard boxes).
Language-Rich Environment and Interactions: The curriculum offers research-based teaching practices to promote language-rich environments and interactions. Volume 1: The Foundation provides guidance on how to engage in varied types of talk with infants and toddlers throughout the day. It suggests using high-pitched and sing-song voice with infants, imitating infants babbling, asking toddlers open-ended questions, and describing what children see, hear, taste, and smell. Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning offers strategies to build infants' and toddlers' vocabulary (e.g., use gestures and concrete objects to clarify words; introduce children to new words through books, songs, conversations, and pretend play). The Intentional Teaching Cards include guidance on how to engage in back-and-forth exchanges with children, as well as descriptions of several opportunities to support children's emergent literacy skills. Finally, the Book Conversation Cards give developmentally appropriate prompts and strategies to read the curriculum's Highlights Hello books with infants and toddlers.
Promoting Emotional, Behavioral, and Cognitive Self-Regulation: The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's emotional, behavioral, and cognitive self-regulation. Volume 1: The Foundation offers general strategies to help infants and toddlers begin to regulate their behaviors (e.g., establish and follow rituals, redirect children's behaviors as needed, offer choices). Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning gives strategies for creating an emotionally supportive environment (e.g., label and talk about emotions and their causes, help children detect and interpret cues about how someone else feels) and for facilitating cognitive self-regulation (e.g., model self-talk to help children stay engaged and persist; provide specific, positive verbal feedback or physical support during challenging tasks). The Intentional Teaching Cards reinforce these strategies with learning experiences to support children's emotional, behavioral, and cognitive self-regulation. For example, "Let's Try This Instead" invites teachers to use a positive approach to redirecting children's inappropriate behavior during routines and experiences.
Facilitating Cognitive Development: The curriculum promotes research-based teaching practices that facilitate infants' and toddlers' cognitive development. The Intentional Teaching Cards provide specific prompts for teachers to support cognitive development (e.g., describe objects, comment about cause and effect of actions, encourage child to make comparisons). Volume 1: The Foundation highlights strategies to embed math language and concepts throughout everyday routines and activities (e.g., count with children, use comparison words, talk about shapes). The Intentional Teaching Cards provide multiple, related opportunities for children to explore math concepts (e.g., matching shapes, doing puzzles, reading counting books). Volume 3: Objectives for Development & Learning offers suggestions to teachers on how to scaffold children's problem-solving skills (e.g., provide opportunities to explore objects in new and creative ways, describe children's problem-solving strategies).
Supporting Physical Development: The curriculum consistently recommends research-based teaching practices to support infants' and toddlers' perceptual, motor, and physical development. The Intentional Teaching Cards include many, varied opportunities for infants and toddlers to practice fine, gross, and perceptual motor skills. For example, the curriculum features several learning experiences for children to practice the fine motor skill of squeezing (e.g., manipulating playdough, squeezing sponges, wringing out wet clothes). Throughout the learning experiences to support physical development, the curriculum prompts teachers to choose appropriately challenging physical tasks for each child, explain how to perform physical tasks, model actions, describe children's movements, praise children's efforts, and encourage children to keep practicing.