As a primary objective, young infants at the Children’s Center learn to build close, secure relationships with one or more staff members. The security of these relationships provides the foundation of trust and confidence, which encourages the young baby to engage in daily activities. The young infant curriculum includes reading, singing, music, conversation, various sensory and gross motor experiences, and interactions with adults during floor time. Young infants follow individual, natural patterns for eating and sleeping. The children are exposed to language through stories, songs, chants and conversations. Toys are easily manipulated and mouthed, and disinfected after each use.
Young toddlers build upon the rapidly changing developmental milestones, which took place in young infancy. The close relationships with teachers, which were started in the Infant group, are cultivated and further nurtured. As their physical strength increases, Young toddlers develop confidence in their abilities and feel comfortable exploring to a greater degree. Teachers continue to support and encourage developing physical abilities while providing an environment that is physically and psychologically safe for exploring children. Teachers provide support for each child’s level of physical and cognitive development and children are encouraged to practice their emerging skills. Young toddlers experiment with different sensory and art materials such as paint, play dough, goop, etc. With guidance from the teachers, Young toddlers learn to interact with their peers. Language continues to be emphasized through songs, music, books, stories and conversation exchanges with the adults. Individual routines such as eating and sleeping may be modified to meet each child’s changing developmental needs.
Toddlers are encouraged to further develop their cognitive and physical abilities. They learn to become socially competent and emotionally secure. Toddlers are encouraged to identify, explore, and express their feelings, which are validated by the teachers. Teachers respect the toddler’s need to experiment with independence while still remaining dependent on their teachers. A sense of control, predictability, and consistency in setting limits help the toddlers feel that they can master their environment. Toddlers are provided with the opportunities to meet their unique developmental needs and abilities: sleeping on mats with peers, participating in developmentally appropriate “curriculum” activities (i.e. art projects, science, cooking, dramatic play, visits to the library and other community places, etc.) As children move towards their third birthday and as the interest increases, more play is incorporated that revolves around number recognition, literacy, math skills, etc.