Infant and Toddler Programs
The youngest children at our school delight in exploring the world around them. Even routine activities such as feeding and diapering provide opportunities for our teachers to sing, talk, and interact with your child.
In the Infant classroom, relationships are of utmost importance. In our small group of three to four infants the primary caregiver develops a close, caring, responsive relationship with your infant. Your caregivers meets your infant’s routine needs for toileting, eating, and sleeping, and communicates with you on a daily basis. Since we see the family as the most knowledgeable about their child, we work closely with you so that your infant’s day meshes with home life as much as possible. A part-time Afternoon Teacher provides consistent coverage for the primary teachers’ breaks and planning time throughout the week.
Toddlers learn best in the context of relationships within small groups. In our program, the approach focuses on the recognition that a curriculum must be based on both care and education, those being one and the same for toddlers. Promoting children’s secure attachment relationships with caregivers and families through primary care-giving with a consistent adult is given the highest priority. Our curriculum centers on connections and relationships where adults respect and respond to children’s cues and interests. The caregiver/teacher will get to know the children and families well so that experiences enhance and blend with home life. The small group size of 8 toddlers with two primary caregivers/teachers and a part-time Afternoon Teacher to cover breaks and planning allows this to happen.
An infant and toddlers are curious and examines all that is seen as the infant works to understand the world. Caregivers create an individualized curriculum in a safe and interesting environment to enhance the infant’s natural curiosity, allowing the infant or toddler to discover, investigate and learn about the world. Engaging your infant in language play, responding to non-verbal cues and encouraging socialization with other infants and adults helps your infant learn to communicate.
Promoting growth in all areas of your toddler’s development is incorporated into the day. Creative experiences with art materials, playing in the classroom area to learn about daily life, participating in music and dance, playing with toys that can be built with, exercising and developing large muscles, and listening to stories are among the many experiences your child will enjoy. Since language is developing rapidly at this age, learning to communicate and hearing language is an integral part of their day.
Toddlers are also learning self-regulation, that is, how to manage their strong impulses and emotions in ways that will help them successfully negotiate their world. Adults provide a positive supportive environment as toddlers struggle to learn these skills.Toddlers are developing their independence and many opportunities are provided for them to do this. The caregivers/teachers work with the families to introduce, encourage and practice new skills. Learning to dress and feed themselves and use the toilet are important milestones for toddlers.
Building Blocks Preschool realizes the importance of outdoor experiences and has an area outdoors for infants and toddlers to enjoy and explore nature. We go outdoors daily, weather permitting.
Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the programs in Reggio Emilia, has taught us that children express their thoughts and feelings through 100 Languages, the spoken word certainly, but also through gesture, music, constructing, dramatic play, dance, paint, clay, and drawing to name a few. Exploring these languages prepares children for their future journeys during the preschool years.
Hands-on and authentic experiences guide the curriculum for children to discover. Children are encouraged to use their senses as they explore the world around them. Through early literacy experiences, children learn to appreciate language, gain new vocabulary, and learn to use new words and concepts. Simple participatory songs and finger plays are important introductions to speech patterns, motor skill development, and math concepts.
Project work often steers their curriculum. Our teaching staff observes the children’s interests through their play. Activities are developed and items are added to the environment to encourage further exploration, questioning, and discovery. It is proven that children learn more when the subject stimulates them; therefore colors, numbers, and emergent literacy are all strengthened through the Project Approach.
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