Effective Practice Guides

Memory: Know

Goals for Infants and Toddlers

  • IT-C 3. Child recognizes differences between familiar and unfamiliar people, objects, actions, or events.
  • IT-C 4. Child recognizes the stability of people and objects in the environment.
  • IT-C 5. Child uses memories as a foundation for more complex actions and thoughts.

Teaching Practices


Talk with children about people, places, and things that are not present.
As is typical on a Monday morning, some of the infants are out of sorts. They enjoyed spending the weekend with their families and now they miss them. Upon hearing 6-month-old Lucy whimpering, Ms. Unger lifts her to look at her family poster. She says, “Lucy, there are both of your mamas. They love you so much. Let’s give them kisses.” Lucy leans forward and kisses the photos of her family.

Connect current experiences to ones that have already taken place.
Ms. Parker, a family child care provider, joins the toddlers and preschoolers playing with the firetrucks in her activity area. She says to the group, “Do you remember when we saw the fire engine go by?” “Me do. Me do,” answers Dylan, 26 months. “At the park.” “Yes,” says Ms. Parker. “We were at the park when we saw those firetrucks race by. Tomorrow, we are going to the fire station to see the fire engine up close. We’ll also talk to the firefighters.”


Designate a place for everything and store things in the same places so over time children can remember where things are kept.
Graham, 28 months, loves to clean up. Each time he finishes using a toy, he returns it to the basket or shelf where it is stored. His father, Mr. Travis, says, “Do you want to use the pegboard?” Graham walks to a shelf and takes out the pegboard and a box of pegs. “Here it is,” he says, and carries it to the table. The family’s home visitor, Ms. Barnaby, says, “Thanks to your system for storing his toys, Graham has learned where things belong and can find what he wants to use. He feels proud to be so independent. And, it’s good for his memory skills. As a bonus, your living room stays neat.”

Offer simple puzzles and games that help children build their memories.
After breakfast, the toddlers join Ms. Cruz in the living room to play a simple game of concentration. Ms. Cruz made the game using photos of the children at play in her family child care home. She also used photos of their parents waving to the children from the farm where they work. The players must match photos of the children with photos of their mamas and papas. Porcia turns over two cards and says, “Ese soy yo y hay Papá y Mamá.” 


Play games that help the child understand concepts such as object permanence (people and objects still exist when they are out of sight or sound range).
Ms. Elba cares for 10-month-old Kia and three toddlers in her family child care home. Stuart, 28 months, likes playing games with Kia. When he goes behind the couch, Ms. Elba asks Kia, “Where did Stuart go?” Kia looks puzzled, then Stuart pops up saying, “Here I am!” Ms. Elba says, “He’s back.” Kia laughs, and Stuart repeats his hiding and popping out several times before tiring of the game.

Help a child revisit past experiences verbally and with the support of photographs of the child’s activities over time.
Mr. Henry takes lots of photos of the children in his class. Every month, he chooses some that show the group’s most engaging play and makes books to share with children and their families. Today, he and Vivienne, 20 months, are looking at the photos. When they reach some photos of outdoor play time she says, “Burbujas.” “That’s right, Vivienne. Bubbles. That was the day we blew lots of bubbles. How did you make the bubbles?”

Topic:School Readiness

Resource Type: Article

Last Updated: June 5, 2018