A child starts exploring his/her environment from birth. It is an enormous task for the infant to adapt to his/her new life: breathing, eating, digesting, adjusting to light and dark, changes in temperatures, etc. Finding solutions to these problems is the task of the newborn, so offering the appropriate environment and caregiver is of most importance to DAY SCHOOLS. When the infant’s and toddler’s needs are met, they can get down to the business of learning and exploring. We offer infants and their families a holistic approach to caregiving by providing a safe and nurturing environment that promotes the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of the young child. The approach that we use was started in the 1930’s, by a Hungarian Pediatrician, Dr. Emmi Pikler and is called “The Pikler Approach”. You can learn more about it by going to www.pikler.org. Each new family in our program is given literature and a book about the work of Dr. Pikler and how it is used throughout the world in group settings as well as in the home. Simply put, it is based on “Respect”.
Our caregivers realize that everything they do with an infant has consequences. They speak directly to the child, even if the child is an infant. Quiet, peaceful speaking to the infant about what is happening to him/her as they are fed, changed and cared for not only facilitates a calm understanding of what is happening to them, but also fosters the learning of language.
The environment is kept safe and clean. Everything in the room is comfortable, arranged with the young child in mind, and at the child’s level. There are areas where he/she can choose to be by themselves or with the group. There are many sensory activities and places that allow the child just to “be”.
Experiencing and exploring the outdoors is also critical for all children, even the young infant. You will see the infant and toddler outdoor areas are self-contained with a variety of opportunities and activities for exploration. We are always preparing them for their next stage of development, thus progressive challenges are available.
The curriculum for our infants and toddlers are the routines: diapering, feeding, bathing and clothing. These routines are done at a very slow and predictable pace that calms the child and helps with the attachment process. The child feels secure knowing what is happening in his or her life, and that security promotes independence and allows them more time for exploration and development.
The caregiver communicates with the child-asking permission to pick them up and giving information about what is happening to him/her during all the caregiving routines. You will not see swings or walkers. Each child is allowed to freely explore the environment to promote physical development. Each child is held when fed until they are old enough to sit on their own. Then they sit at low tables, in chairs where their feet stay securely on the floor which provides security for the young child. They eat family style and learn about handwashing and the clean-up process, thereby learning independence and responsibility at a young age.
Developmental growth charts are kept on each child. These charts serve as growth progress reports, where development and behavior patterns are established. These charts follow your child as they grow and develop each year and can be instrumental in viewing your child’s individual development.