Infant and Young Toddler Programs

infant learning

Children 6 weeks to 23 months of age

“The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth.” –Maria Montessori

Richland Academy’s Infant and Young Toddler Programs offer an emotionally supportive learning environment designed to promote each child’s development during their sensitive stages. It is important for a young child to be independent within an environment that maintains a balance between activity-based challenges and emotional support.

The Montessori Infant and Young Toddler classroom is a combined, multi-age community of learners between the ages of 6 weeks and 23 months. Children move freely within the environment between various hands-on, self-correcting materials. These materials are designed to appeal to the child’s desire to explore the world in a meaningful way.

Richland Academy believes consistency between home and school is important.  In order to maintain that consistency, we fully support breast feeding mothers by feeding breast milk to infants in our care.  Parents are welcome to bring clearly labeled frozen or thawed breast milk to school.  Also, moms are welcome to come to the school to breast feed during the day.

Parents may choose from the following Infant (6 weeks to 12 months) Programs:

5-Day: Classes meet Monday through Friday from 8:45 am to 11:45 am
3-Day: Classes meet Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 8:45 am to 11:45 am
2-Day: Classes meet Thursday, and Friday from 8:45 am to 11:45 am

Parents may choose from the following Young Toddler (12 to 23 months) Programs:

5-Day: Classes meet Monday through Friday from 8:45 am to 11:45 am
3-Day: Classes meet Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 8:45 am to 11:45 am

Click here for tuition and fees.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Richland Academy strongly believes that the best environment for infants and young toddlers is one that offers care that is founded on developmentally appropriate practice-care that “goes with” the development of each child, rather than interrupting it.  In order to achieve this goal, our infant and young toddler classroom offers each child the following:

Primary Caregiving

The building of a relationship between a child and caregiver is the foundation of quality care for infants and young toddlers.  Selecting a primary caregiver for each child promotes the caring, one-on-one relationship that helps children thrive.  A child develops trust as his/her primary caregiver learns to respond to his/her unique temperament, needs, and interests by being the one who almost always diapers him/her, feeds him/her, puts him/her to sleep, and communicates with his/her family.  The child’s security deepens as his/her primary caregiver develops a positive relationship with his/her family and comes to know the family’s wishes for their child.  This holistic relationship provides the security and trust that enables each child to become curious and competent explorers in the Montessori environment.

Continuity of Care

Continuity of care is key to providing the deep connections that infants and young toddlers need for quality care.  In Richland Academy’s Infant and Young Toddler Program, each child has the same primary caregiver until age two.  This spares the child the trauma of leaving someone to whom he/she is securely attached and having to adjust to someone who does not know him/her.  Stability is important for healthy emotional development, which forms the basis for all other areas of development.

Mixed-Age Grouping

Many childcare facilities group children according to vary narrow age ranges (often separated by as little as six months) and are moved to new rooms as often as four times before they turn three years of age.  This strategy of constant shifting to new groups may disrupt the child’s developmental processes as he/she is required to shift attention from his/her own development to adjust to a new space.  The mixed-age grouping in our Infant and Young Toddler Program allows children to experience life in a consistent setting.  Development proceeds without the interruption of moving, changing, and frequently adjusting during critical times of development.

Our Infant and Young Toddler Programs promote growth and development in following areas:

Language Development

Children listen intently and watch mouth movements from the time of birth. They gain understanding long before they can speak. Our Infants and Young Toddlers are immersed in oral language all around them. Caregivers talk to the children and explain what is happening throughout their day. As each child begins to experiment with their voice, imitating sounds, and saying a few words, caregivers will talk and listen to them. Language materials in the environment such as books, objects, and pictures for naming will further expand each child’s exposure to language.

Gross Motor Development

Infants and Young Toddlers are interested in the environment around them as they begin to refine their movements. During this period they learn how to roll over, creep, and sit. Crawling, toddling, and walking follow. During the child’s first year it is critical that they be provided an environment for movement. Richland Academy’s Infant and Young Toddler program avoids the use of swings, playpens, cribs, walkers, jumpers, carriers, and high chairs to contain your child. Children are free to explore the environment, which includes materials and equipment to promote creeping, standing, and walking.  The room contains child-sized furniture to promote independence and gross motor development.

Fine Motor Development

Fine motor development is encouraged as each child gains control of their arms and hands as they manipulate mobiles, rattles, and objects to mouth, grasp, and move. Infants and Young Toddlers like to experience and discover cause and effect, such as shaking a rattle or banging things to make noise. As the pincer grasp develops, the children practice eating finger foods, drinking from a cup, and manipulating a spoon.

Practical Life Skills

Practical Life materials provide each child with opportunities to practice their self-help skills, allowing them to actively participate in self-care and eating independently.  Through the practical life activities, children begin to develop positive work habits, independence, self-control, and the ability to concentrate.  Materials in this area also promote the development of fine and gross motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and serve as the foundation for future work in all other areas of the classroom.

Sensorial Development

Our Infant and Young Toddler classroom is equipped with tools to expand, excite and reinforce all of your child’s senses:

  • Rattles, bells, music and vocal sounds to stimulate auditory excitement
  • Mobiles, mirrors and other visually engaging objects
  • Patterned and textured materials to exercise touch
  • Fruits, flowers, and spices to intrigue the olfactory senses
  • Our daily tasting time further exposes each child to a variety of new tastes and textures in food with which they may not yet be familiar.

Infant and Young Toddler Childcare

Richland Academy offers before and after school Childcare, which is available year round, for Infants and Young Toddlers enrolled in our Montessori program.  Click here to learn more about our childcare program.

To learn more about Richland Academy’s Infant and Young Toddler Program and our Montessori Approach, call us today at 814-262-9201 or contact us online.