A new addition to our facility in 2018, our Infant Program offers a second home environment for 14 infants ages 3 months to 15 months. The program includes two classrooms, each licensed for seven children daily. 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 full-time professional staff members in each classroom so that the children in our care can form deep attachments and trust with a primary caregiver.
Our Infant One and Infant Two classrooms have been designed to calm babies’ senses by providing a safe, loving, warm, and rich environment where each receives individual time to engage in learning and is given the emotional support needed to thrive. Teachers spend individual time with each infant providing learning experiences, and feeding, diapering, and dressing them. They also ensure that enough quiet time and rest time are provided. There is always special time for cuddling or rocking throughout the day. All of these experiences build upon the trust and bond between the infant and caregiver.
Infants need predictability, so a regular routine and relationships are provided. Teachers work closely with parents even before their infant joins the classroom to discuss when their baby is fed, diapered, dressed, sleeps, and plays. In this way, every infant’s individual needs are met and they stay on their own schedule. Each baby’s individual daily activity is based on his or her evolving pattern of playing, eating, and sleeping. While this routine may be similar at home and at the Center, it is natural—given the classroom setting’s group dynamics—that the infant might follow a slightly different schedule at TCC. Teachers communicate closely with parents to find each child’s daily rhythm and partner with families to regulate the child’s pattern and routine.
Infants are naturally curious, and they are driven to explore and to practice new skills. They learn through all their senses by touching, smelling, hearing, seeing, and tasting. By providing developmentally appropriate materials, rich experiences, and a nurturing environment, our teaching staff helps them learn about the world around them and gain knowledge that promotes future learning. The curriculum is based on the Massachusetts Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers; infants will be assessed every three months based on these standards.
The infants in our care are given plenty of time for tummy time and time 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 classroom activities. American Sign Language is 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. We now know that while the physical brain is developed at birth, children’s early experiences have an enormous influence on brain development. The infants in our care are provided both positive interactions and formative experiences during this important stage of development, thereby strengthening and having a significant impact on their emotional, social, cognitive, and physical well-being through life.