Infant and Toddler Division
The infant-toddler programs embrace the Reggio-Emilia philosophy and teachers believe that children are born competent and capable. Learning is a process based on the child's interests guided by teachers and enhanced by the environment. Our teachers listen to the children, observe their behavior and interactions, and document this process so that learning is visible and effective.
In the classroom, children are encouraged to select activities that interest them so they will be motivated, attentive, and learn to concentrate. Teachers present materials as a provocation for the children. The teachers are intentional in what materials they offer to the children. Teachers will ask, "Does the material have characteristics that will induce a child's interest and engage a child for a prolonged interaction or amount of time?" Thereafter, the teachers will observe and document the exploration of the children.
The infant classrooms require individual care in a group setting. There are a maximum of 6 infants with 2 caregivers. The teachers follow and respect the infant's schedule, which has been established at home before enrollment at Our Beginning. The parents will meet with the teacher before the first day to lead the discussion on their infant and what is important to them during the first year of life - including but not limited to - immediate needs, developmental milestones, and concerns. The focus in the infant classrooms is developing a secure attachment with the caregivers in order to provide a safe, nurturing environment for learning. The teachers "narrate" each experience in the classroom for the infants to foster language, development, and learning.
The toddler classrooms have a maximum of 12 children with 2 teachers. Relationships are identified as a key component of early learning. Toddlers have big feelings and this is a time of rapid growth and brain development. Toddlers have a new sense of self-awareness which results from an increasing desire to do things for themselves, Children will learn to accomplish tasks that they define and participate in -- this creates a love for learning and a sense of accomplishment. Teachers empower the children to believe that they are capable. In the older toddler classrooms, there will be an enhanced focus on preparing children for preschool.