Khadijat Enessy, a toddler educator at the Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, is the 2007 Kohl McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Award winner.
Her tips for parents of toddlers (15-24 months):
• Let children be children. Allow playtime for them. They will have fun while learning. Be there whenever possible to enjoy the play with your child. Provide your child with age-appropriate toys and materials.
• Consistency is very important to young children. Give them a warning before transitioning from one activity to another.
• Limit the amount of times you use the word "no."
• Be calm, use a firm and quiet tone of voice with your child and always use positive language when talking to your child.
• Use redirection or distraction as a means of discipline. Provide a child who is behaving in an unacceptable manner an alternative or acceptable behavior.
• Always model the acceptable behavior for your child. Your child will emulate you.
• Toddlers want to be autonomous. Allow them to be independent, to gain control of their physical and emotional skills.
• A young child’s language is just emerging. Speak to them clearly, read books, sing songs and play games with your child.
• Respect and treat your child as a unique individual, and respond to his or her needs.
• Listen to what your child has to say. Give attention, love and care to your child always.
"The world is becoming very complex, as people move to different places other than their birth country. ... We have to develop curriculum to harmonize the diverging cultures that have always made America a great nation and also nurture the best in our future generations so that we can be sure that the spirit this country was built upon will continue to flourish.
"Early childhood education is very important in the development of our young ones. Technology is developing so quickly; children should be brought up with that in mind. ... The future generations are going to be bold; technology should not take them by surprise. This generation we are raising now will be able to find many solutions to complex problems they will encounter. They will experiment with almost everything until they find answers to their quest. The future holds a very bright promise for future generations."