A new addition to our facility in 2018, our infant program, will offer a second home environment for 14 infants 3 months to 15 months daily, which will include two classrooms, each licensed for 7 children daily with three full time professional staff members in each classroom. Attachment is one of the most important factors to consider for infants and is believed to influence relationships with others later in life. For this reason, we have three professional staff members in each classroom so the children who come into our care can form deep attachments and trust with a primary caregiver.
The Infant classroom has been designed to be calming to the infant’s senses by providing a safe, loving, warm, and rich environment where each infant is provided individual time for the child to engage in learning and given the emotional support they need to thrive. Teachers will spend individual time providing learning experiences as well as individual time for feeding, diapering, and dressing the infant, as well as ensuring enough quiet time and rest time is provided. There is always special time for cuddling or rocking the infant throughout the day. All these experiences build upon the trust and bond between the infant and caregiver.
Infants need predictability, so a regular routine and relationships will be provided. Teachers will work closely with parents even before the infant begins in the program to discuss when the infant is fed, diapered, dressed, sleeps, and plays, so each infant’s individual needs are met and are kept on their own schedule. Each baby’s individual daily activity is based on his or her evolving pattern of playing, eating, and sleeping. While the infant’s routine may be similar at home as it is at the center, it is natural the infant will fall into a different schedule in a center setting given the group dynamics. Teachers will continue to communicate closely with parents to find each child’s daily rhythm and work with the parent to regulate the child’s pattern and routine.
Infants are naturally curious, and they are driven to explore and to practice new skills. Infants learn through all their senses by touching, smelling, hearing, seeing and tasting. By providing developmentally appropriate materials, rich experiences, and a nurturing environment they will learn about their world around them and gain knowledge and this will build upon future learning. The curriculum will be based on the Massachusetts Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers and the infants will be assessed every 3 months based on these standards.
The infants in our care will be given plenty of time for tummy time and to be on the floor to build self- confidence and physical control with a teacher’s guidance and supervision. When exploring the environment, the infant becomes a creative, self-motivated and curious learner early on. Singing, reading, talking, and playing are daily activities in the classroom. American Sign Language will be incorporated to help the infants and teachers communicate with one another. Infants will develop at their own pace and teachers will be there to support this natural process.
Recent brain development research has given us valuable information and we now know that while the physical brain is developed at birth, the early experiences of children have an enormous influence on brain development. The infants in our care will be provided both these positive interactions and formative experiences during this important stage of development which will strengthen and have a significant impact on their emotional, social, cognitive, and physical well-being through life.