First Three Years - Make the Connection 1-2 (MTC 1-2)
A GROUP PROGRAM FOR PARENTS AND TODDLERS, age one to two
Make the Connection 1-2 helps parents support their child’s development during the second year. MTC 1-2 combines hands-on activities, parent reflection and discussion as well as personalized video feedback.
Parenting Resources have been developed to support parents in their efforts to promote secure attachment, communication and learning.
Parents attend Make the Connection 1-2 with their toddler for 9 sessions. The group usually includes 8 to 10 families. Sessions are typically co-led by two trained MTC Group Facilitators.
MTC uses an experiential, adult learning approach which takes into account diverse learning styles and modalities. It leaves room for parents to individualize the program messages and information depending on their personal and cultural experiences. The learning process is further enhanced by the supportive ways in which group facilitators relate to parents – by connecting, communicating and facilitating in ways that parallel a nurturing parent-toddler relationship.
A typical session is approximately 90 minutes in length, divided as follows:
30 minutes of guided parent –toddler activities including song circle and interactive “play stations”
30 minutes of parent reflection and discussion – (toddlers who can separate stay with childcare staff)
30 minutes of half of the parents being videotaped with their toddler while the group gets together for refreshments
MTC 1-2 is built on the theory that development occurs within the context of relationships. Thus, an infant raised within a loving and responsive parent-infant relationship will develop a healthy sense of self, confident use of language and a love of learning.
When this positive relationship is established during the first three years, a foundation is laid for a child to do well socially, emotionally and academically. Regardless of gender, class or ethnicity, there is a wealth of research to support the fact that children do better in school and have fewer behavioural problems with this healthy start.
The core messages of MTC 1-2 were derived from themes that occur repeatedly in the early development and parenting literature as being essential for attachment, relationships, healthy emotional growth and brain development.
- Make the Connection with Love - focuses on what helps a toddler feel secure, loved and listened to. Parents are guided to use their own experiences of relationships to help them understand what their toddler needs from them. As such, this theme draws from information on attachment.
- Make the Connection with Language - focuses on the ideal language input and conversational practice that toddlers need to keep their language development on track. Guiding messages for parents were narrowed down from an abundance of research on the parent’s role in language acquisition.
- Make the Connection with Learning - focuses on how to help a toddler explore, pretend and connect with other children. In these sessions, parents come to discover that their role is not to ‘teach’ their toddler, but rather to provide the ‘scaffolding’ that supports their child’s discovery, problem-solving and imagination.
Videotaping is an essential medium for learning in Make the Connection. In reviewing parent-toddler tapes, which is built into two of the nine sessions, the group facilitator helps parents recognize positive aspects of interaction with their child, become more aware of their child’s signals and provide positive feedback to support parents.
For descriptions of each MTC program click below