Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for increasing access to education environments and opportunities, including in infant and toddler settings. Learning environments, materials, and activities are planned ahead of time, with the aim of welcoming all learners.
UDL supports all children, including infants and toddlers with disabilities, to help them engage more fully in learning. It doesn't take the place of individualized curriculum modifications necessary for particular children. For more information on individualized curriculum modifications, see these helpful Curriculum Modifications resources.
The three guiding principles of UDL are:
- Representation — offering children a variety of ways to learn new skills and information
- Action and expression — allowing for flexibility in how infants and toddlers demonstrate success and understanding
- Engagement — building on infant/toddler development and interests and giving them choices
Tips for Educators
Do a walk-through of your setting and consider the following questions from the point of view of an infant or toddler:
- Can I get to each area?
- Do I know what is expected in each area?
- Am I able to use the materials in each area?
- Do I know what to expect during transitions between areas?
- Do education staff communicate with me throughout activities and transitions?
- Do education staff respond to my communication during activities and transitions?
From your own viewpoint, deconstruct a daily schedule and consider the following questions:
- Do I offer multiple opportunities for representation, expression, and engagement in each activity throughout the day?
- How can I include more representation, expression, and engagement opportunities?
Apply UDL concepts in your relationship with families. Ask yourself:
- Do I offer a variety of ways for families to participate?
- Do I use multiple methods for communicating with families?
- In what other ways can I engage with families?
- UDL Guidelines
- Designing Environments
- Creating Inclusive Environments and Learning Experiences for Infant and Toddlers
Resource Type: Publication
National Centers: Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning
Last Updated: July 18, 2023