Responsive Relationships and Interactions: The curriculum consistently promotes responsive relationships and interactions with infants and toddlers, which research has shown are foundational to children's development in all domains. The curriculum's "Social Experiences" provide strategies for building secure, trusting relationships with children (e.g., engaging in back-and-forth interactions, making eye contact, sharing physical affection). In addition, they promote sensitive, responsive caregiving (e.g., guidance on how to appropriately respond to children's cues and requests). Nearly all of the curriculum's learning experiences offer examples of how to engage children in joint attention (e.g., naming an object that the teacher and the child are looking at; responding when a child points at something). Finally, the curriculum encourages teachers to talk with children throughout the day, acknowledge children's responses (e.g., movement, crying, vocalizations), and respond to children's communication (e.g., pointing, babbling, talking).
Daily Routines as Opportunities for Learning: Beautiful Beginnings provides some guidance on daily routines and schedules. The "Self-Help Experiences" offer several examples of how teachers can engage children in the daily caregiving routines of eating, diapering, toileting, dressing, washing hands, and preparing for naptime. One "Self-Help Experience" for older toddlers suggests having consistent daily routines, helping children understand the routines, and giving cues prior to next steps in routines. However, the curriculum lacks any further guidance on how to establish individualized schedules for infants or developmentally appropriate schedules for toddlers.
Play and Exploration: The curriculum offers learning experiences that encourage infants' and toddlers' play and active exploration, which research suggests provide rich contexts for learning in all domains. Many of the "Gross Motor Experiences" provide opportunities for children to engage in active physical play (e.g., crawling up and down stairs, walking on a balance beam, playing on riding toys). In addition, many of the "Discovery Experiences" provide open-ended learning experiences that promote children's curiosity, exploration, and creativity (e.g., playing with water, exploring a texture box, finger painting). Finally, the curriculum approach advises teachers to observe children and select "Experiences" that build on their interests. However, the curriculum lacks comprehensive guidance on how to create indoor and outdoor environments that promote active physical play.
Language-Rich Environment and Interactions: Beautiful Beginnings consistently offers research-based teaching practices to promote language-rich environments and interactions. In particular, the "Communication Experiences" provide guidance on how to engage in varied types of talk with infants and toddlers throughout the day (e.g., talking slowly with animation, describing objects and actions, asking open-ended questions, expanding the child's language). In addition, the curriculum offers strategies to build infants' and toddlers' vocabulary (e.g., labeling familiar objects, introducing words for new objects, using action words). Finally, it features several opportunities to support children's early literacy skills, such as reading books, playing with puppets, singing, reciting nursery rhymes, and scribbling and drawing activities.
Promoting Emotional, Behavioral, and Cognitive Self-Regulation: The curriculum consistently promotes research-based teaching practices to support children's emotional, behavioral, and cognitive self-regulation. In particular, the "Social Experiences" offer teaching practices to help infants and toddlers begin to regulate their emotions (e.g., encouraging expression of emotions, labeling and validating emotions, identifying feelings of others). Many of the "Social Experiences" and "Self-Help Experiences" provide strategies to support children's behavioral regulation (e.g., giving the child choices, supporting turn-taking with peers, setting clear expectations for behaviors). Finally, the curriculum provides a range of strategies to facilitate children's cognitive self-regulation (e.g., supporting planning and flexibility in thinking during pretend play, encouraging children to persist and complete tasks).
Facilitating Cognitive Development: The curriculum consistently promotes research-based teaching practices that facilitate the cognitive development of infants and toddlers. Nearly all of the curriculum's "Experiences" include prompts that could be used to support cognitive development during play and exploration (e.g., narrating actions, describing objects, modeling actions, expanding language, extending play themes). Similarly, the learning experiences provide examples of how to embed mathematics language and concepts throughout everyday interactions and activities (e.g., talking about quantity, sorting, using shape sorters, nesting, completing puzzles). Finally, some "Experiences" support the development of children's problem-solving skills (e.g., encouraging trial and error, demonstrating how to use tools to solve problems, supporting children to persist during challenging tasks).
Supporting Physical Development: Beautiful Beginnings consistently recommends research-based teaching practices to support the perceptual, motor, and physical development of infants and toddlers. The curriculum's "Experiences" include many, varied opportunities for infants and toddlers to practice fine, gross, and perceptual motor skills. The curriculum features several learning experiences for children to practice fine motor skills (e.g., grasping objects, shaking and banging, developing pincer grasp, scribbling, zipping) and gross motor skills (e.g., pulling up, crawling up and down stairs, throwing, carrying objects while walking). In addition, several "Experiences" support the development of perceptual motor skills (e.g., looking at and tracking objects, mouthing objects, climbing in and out of large boxes, feeling textures, exploring and discussing body motions).