Clayton Early Learning

An Infant’s Journey: Star Wars and Development

Lydia McKinney

Posted by Lydia McKinney


Lydia McKinney


By now you almost certainly have seen plenty of commercials for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, heard the Star Wars theme song, read the latest updates about the movie stars, and probably went to a screening of the movie, maybe even a couple times!  One way or another you will be touched by the Star Wars phenomena, and I’m no exception This pop culture trend sparked an interest in me to find a connection between Star Wars and my day to day work. No, I’m not a Jedi, nor can I fly an X-wing, but I am an early childhood professional specializing in infancy.  So how do I connect my work with infants and Star Wars?

Infancy begins when a child comes out of the womb to when we celebrate their first year of life.  Infancy, to me, is the proof of humanity, its existence.  Infants never give up -- never!  No matter how hard the challenge is to over-come, they never give up and strive to succeed at every task.  Reflecting on the Star Wars universe, there are many instances where the various Jedi heroes struggle, just like our infants. As they develop from young Jedi trainees to Jedi masters, there are scenes where they crawl, hide, walk, run, and climb. This is what my students do as they learn to walk! First, they lay on their backs wondering what may come into their view.  Then, they attempt to move from one side to another until they succeed to get on their tummies.  Eventually being on their tummy is boring and they discover movement. Rocking back and forth, the crawl comes soon after.  The final stage is the walk.  When infants walk they soon run and then we officially welcome toddler-hood.  Just like the Jedi in training in Star Wars, the infants in my classroom need a teacher to help overcome these obstacles, to encourage them to keep pushing past challenges. I may not be an Obi Wan Kenobi, but my encouragement and helpful nudges along the way allow for the young infants to learn and move from stage to stage.

BW Shadow Pic

A Little Jedi Observes Her Shadow

Once a Jedi finishes their training, the real work begins. They begin to use the force and put their training to test in a world balanced between light and dark.  A few weeks ago, one of my infants discovered a shadow cast by my co-worker.  She carefully watched the shadow, eventually tried to touch it and noticed its disappearance.  Other students joined and explored the shadow, comparing its shape to their personal shadows.  The internal discovery of light and dark was taking shape in their young minds. Every move they made, they checked in with their teachers to ensure it was safe to proceed.  Eventually we added items which caused a reflection in the darker room.  Most of the children followed the movement of the reflection and every once in a while attempted to look to where it came from.  The infants attempted to find out where the reflections came from, an effort to make sense of both light and dark.

On the path to succeed at each step, infants rely on their teachers who ensure trust, challenge their capabilities and provide a sense of love which tells them they can do it.  Once confident in their “training” they put it to use, discovering and making sense of the wide world around us. Maybe I am a Jedi master after all!



Lydia McKinney is an Infant/Toddler Supervisor at Clayton Early Learning in Far North East Denver and has been in the early childhood field over 10 years, most of which with infants and toddlers.  Her academic experience covers a wide range of early childhood knowledge: a B.A. in Early Childhood Education and Public Policy, as well as a Master’s in Education in Global Studies in Education.  As an immigrant to the U.S., she hopes to provide a diverse opinion, with various viewpoints, of an infant/toddler teacher’s classroom perspective.