Toddlers Helping Toddlers to Stand on Their Own
School: Cambridge Even Start Program
Documentation by Chris Bucco, April 2005
Since September, I've been working with a group of nine infants and toddlers through the Cambridge Even Start program. I, along with two other teachers, care for the children in a classroom space at the Peabody School while their mothers are attending English class next door. As children have phased into the group throughout the year, I've been fascinated by each child's process of separating from their mothers (many for the first time) and of becoming part of the group.
I first began to document this process with Harold, a 16-month-old who, outside of brief intervals of being cared for by his father, had never been without his mother. Through taking notes and photographs, I began to notice the role of the other children in helping Harold overcome the hurdle of functioning when apart from his mother. Since then, I've tried to document segments of the process for other children as they've joined our group. For some the transition has seemed smooth, while for others the journey has been painful. In each case, however, the group has played an important role. I've included below, pieces of the process for two of the children. I hope to add stories of two recent members later.
1. How do the toddlers in my group help one another to integrate into the group?
2. How do they support one another in successfully separating from their mothers?