Infant and Toddler
Infants and Toddlers
We believe that from the moment of birth, children are forming ideas about this world through their experiences with it. We believe that our youngest children need opportunities to explore the world in a safe, comfortable and stimulating environment that nurtures the development of each child’s unique personality and lays a foundation for all later learning.
An essential part of this early experience is the opportunity to establish relationships with others. Our teachers establish respectful and responsive relationships with each child in our care through a primary care giving system. Our teachers get to know each child’s interests, passions, and idiosyncrasies. Materials and experiences are planned with each child's unique interests and skills in mind.
Exploring the outdoors is a big part of our curriculum and it is woven into every age group, from infancy through school-age. Our school is located on 3 acres, with ample play yards and a lovely woodlot we fondly refer to as the “Little Woods.” The infants and toddlers share a beautiful play yard specifically designed with their needs in mind. There are some traditional components---swings, slides and a large sandbox---but there are also small hills, garden boxes, rocks, bird feeders, and shrubs to explore. Early walkers soon relish the challenge that varying terrain offers and there are plenty of cozy nooks to spread a blanket for a young infant to gain a fresh perspective. Imagine the dappled light coming through the leaves as the wind gently blows--- what a sensory-rich experience for the babies!
We do our best to get the children outdoors daily in most weather. On bitterly cold days, our babies stay inside. Our mobile toddlers may venture out for a short breath of air, even if it takes longer to dress them than we actually stay outdoors! On a rainy day in spring, you may find us exploring puddles or mastering umbrellas---our puddle boots are a favorite dress-up choice. If we are dressed for it, the weather becomes just another element to explore, not a hardship.
We have strollers and wagons that allow us a great deal of mobility, on and off our property. Infants often stroll the parking lot, chatting with the preschoolers over the fence, or listening to the crows call from the treetops. Our young toddlers love to take a walk down the sidewalk to see the train crossing. They wait with great anticipation until the crossing gate comes down. The excitement builds until the train whizzes by---sometimes we are so excited that the children barely breathe---then…. “Bye, Train!” they call, as the group meanders back to school, taking advantage of the rich vocabulary that the train trip has offered.
As the toddlers are ready, the group may venture to the conservation land behind the cemetery. These early forays are a precursor for future adventures, as the toddlers begin to explore the woods and pathways. We like to say that toddlers take a “wander” in the woods, more than a walk, as the destination is rarely the point. There is simply too much for them to see, touch, smell and hear to consider the “efficiency” of a walk.
Music and movement go hand in hand with our infants and toddlers. A baby’s first introduction to music in our infant room may be a lullaby sung by her teacher as she dozes off to sleep. Our infant and toddler teachers use music as a tool for many transitions throughout the day. Singing is a gentle prompt that, over time, helps a baby or toddler recognize that a change is imminent. As a small group transitions to the hall for a trip to the gross motor room, they gather on the bench and sing, “Here we are together…” Each child can expect to hear his name woven into the song, and as the song draws to a close the children know it is time for the next leg of their journey. Similarly, the teachers have a song or two that signals the transition to snack or a diaper change. Name songs build a sense of community, funny songs allow us to laugh together, and just about any song can make us want to dance.
Older infants and toddlers will begin to have informal music sessions, where they explore instruments, learn simple finger plays, and begin to absorb the routines that lead to social cohesiveness---children who sing together come together with fresh connections. Music is a shared joy that builds on developing relationships. We introduce recorded music as supplementary material, but our first focus is on the human voice sung in the present moment. We encourage families to share favorite music from home, expanding our musical repertoire and reinforcing the home/school connection. Music is a universal language that lifts our spirits, builds affection between all involved, and helps us frame our busy days.
Sensory exploration is vital to early childhood exploration, and perhaps no where is that more visible than in art. At ITC, we offer daily opportunities for children to express themselves through art, believing that this expression is a critical medium for expressing feeling, analyzing and interpreting the world, and developing skills to see the world through other points of view. Art activities may include structured activity where children are led in small groups to create a project, or choice activities where teachers offer various mediums (paper, pipe cleaners, water colors, and more) to allow free expression. Each year, a piece of every child's art is showcased in our Annual Art Show, bringing together friends, family, and community to celebrate our children's contribution to the arts.
Whether it's nurturing and harvesting from our community gardens, slicing cucumbers, preparing soup, or making muffins, the children of ITC are no strangers to the kitchen. Children are served group snacks each morning and afternoon, sourced from a selection of ITC provided and parent donated items that range from yogurt and fruit to hummus and vegetables. This community time encourages children to experience new and familiar foods together as they learn more about keeping their bodies healthy and strong. With a shared in-house kitchen facility, teachers and students also partner together in cooking. They create nutritious (and delicious) recipes throughout the year - ranging from zucchini muffins for afternoon snack to a hearty fall soup for a community lunch day. Our love of cooking together runs deep at ITC, where you'll see even our older infants stirring and scooping. We are incredibly fortunate to have our own community gardens on campus, where each class - from infancy to school age - is in charge of growing 2 vegetables from seed to harvest. Watching the process of a seed sprout and grow, and ultimately bear fruit, intimately connects our children to their food source. In summer, you'll see an extra sense of pride when our children are preparing zucchini from their own garden.
Infants & Ones (3-12 months by September)
There are 7 children per class with 4 teachers, at least 3 of whom are with the group.
Young Toddlers (13-24 months by September)
There are 8 children per class with 3 teachers, at least 2 of whom are with the group.
Mixed Toddlers (18-30 months by September)
There are 9 children per class with 2 teachers.
2-3s (2 years by August)
There are 9 children per class with 2 teachers.
To learn more information about these programs click here.