Design of Learning Environments for Infants
This paper describes a product-design program intended to enhance infant learning through appropriate environmental modifications. A data system was designed to allow translation of information about infant behavior into non-technical language. Seven thousand still photographs of infants were obtained to provide visual documentation of the principal behaviors referred to in the data system. Textual information and still photographs were then combined to develop a series of maps showing the progress of behavior development in infants. A series of three-dimensional materials was designed for inclusion in the immediate physical environment of infants under one year of age. Three-dimensional materials were tested and modified until they successfully elicited and sustained a broad range of exploratory behaviors. In addition to increasing opportunities for infant learning, competent play materials allow infant caretakers to understand more fully the behaviors infants are capable of, and the environmental conditions which elicit and sustain these behaviors.