While our total capacity at the center is forty-five children, we enroll no more than twenty children under the age of 3 years. The staff to child ratio for all children under the age of three years is maintained at a maximum of 1:4.
In our infant group we care for children from six weeks through approximately 16 months. In the infant group every child is on his or her own schedule. We expect to adapt to the child’s needs, not the other way around! The infant room is a self contained room designed to provide for play space, resting space, feeding and changing. Diaries are used to record all daily activity as well as routine feeding, changing and rest times. Our staff consists primarily of full time care givers making for great consistency of care. The infants come to count on familiar the faces and voices of the few who provide their care.
The appropriate time to transition an infant up to our toddler group is based on a consensus between staff and parents. We take into account the child’s development, typical daily schedule, the current make up of the toddler group and the child’s overall readiness for a more structured schedule and learning environment.
Often we create a transitional group of young toddlers who are of similar age and move up as a group with the staff person who has been caring for them since infancy. In this intermediate group, the children remain on individual schedules for activity, feeding and rest as they gradually join in with more and more of the older toddlers’ activities. We cross train all our infant / toddler staff so they are able to “loop” with their children from infants to toddlers and back again.
Children typically join our toddler groups from the age of 17 months to their 3rd birthday. The toddler stage is an exciting time as language develops, social play and friendships begin, and yes there’s …toilet training!
Our toddlers engage in a blend of process oriented structured activities and self-directed play during which the teaching staff serve as role models for language and social skills development.
Due to the age range in the toddler group, our curriculum is designed to be taught at different levels. Each staff person focuses on a specific age range and works with the same group of children each day. As with the infant group, our staff consists predominantly of full time teachers. So again, there are few faces and plenty of consistency.
We have been very fortunate over the years to enjoy long tenure teaching staff. In fact we celebrated several 10 year and 5 year staff anniversaries along with the center’s own 30th anniversary in 2014!