PREFACE This book covers an exciting period in the human lifespan from conception to 13 the end of age 3. It is a remarkable story of physical, cognitive, and psychosocial transformations. Infants enter a distinctly social world at birth. Families provide the first contact with the outside world. At the same time, infants live in a uniquely cultural context. The expectations and traditions of cultures across the world shape child-rearing attitudes and practices with direct consequences on development. RECURRENT THEMES IN BOOK Four important themes recur throughout this book: uniqueness of each infant and toddler, importance of families, interdependent relationship between young children and caregivers, and sociocultural context of development. Each contributes to a richly varied picture of infants and toddlers: Uniqueness of each infant and toddler.Each child is a unique being. While this book primarily focuses on typical development, parents and professional caregivers must adapt their styles to meet the individual needs of each child. Importance of family.The family is the cornerstone of every society. In a time of instant communication and global interconnection, it still remains the primary source of sustenance and nurturance in the early years of life. Interdependent relationship between young children and caregivers.The interaction between children and their caregivers is a two-way street. Adults exert a profound influence, but infants also play an active role in engaging with their physical and social world. Sociocultural context of development.Culture is an important aspect of development. It not only shapes parents' expectations about children's abilities but also influences their caregiving patterns. COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE This book follows a topical approach. It is organized into four major parts: Part 1 examines past views of infants and toddlers, different theories of development, and research methods. Part 2 discusses conception, prenatal development, childbirth, and the first month after birth. Part 3 covers physical, cognitive, language, and psychosocial development during the first 3 years. Part 4 addresses issues of health and nutrition and guidance and early education. The topics in Part 4 can be linked with specific chapters in Part 3. For example, Chapter 11 on health and nutrition can be covered after a discussion of physical growth and development in Chapter 7. As children start to crawl and walk, safety must be addressed to minimize injuries while maximizing opportunities to explore. Likewise, proper nutrition is tied to optimal physical growth. Chapter 12 examines caregivers' role in encouraging socially appropriate behavior as children begin to exhibit increasing independence and engage in extended social contacts, topics discussed in Chapter 10. Lastly, the second half of Chapter 12 weaves the different strands of development in Part 3 into a composite picture of appropriate practices that meet the needs of infants and toddlers in out-of-home programs. SPECIFIC FEATURES This book incorporates a number of unique features. Each is designed to stimulate and broaden students' interest in the reading material: Parenting issues and sociocultural influences.To bride theory and research, in each chapter, special boxes highlight issues of concern to parents and underscore the impact of culture on all aspects of development. Historical voices.Interspersed throughout each chapter are historical voices, providing interesting insights into the prevailing views and beliefs of infants and toddlers at the time. Special boxes.Other topics of interest are covered in special boxes to expand on information presented in the text. Infants with special needs.At the end of each chapter in Part 3, special needs are discussed with aRick A. Caulfield is the author of 'Infants and Toddlers', published 2000 under ISBN 9780130145833 and ISBN 0130145831.