In The Beginning – Love and Attention is the Key
At In The Beginning Christian Child Development Center and Preschool our infant program is exceptional. We have created a warm, nurturing, secure and stimulating environment for your infant to thrive. Our loving teachers meet every need of your infant. They are highly trained and confident in infant care and development, and of course love what they do. Our teachers possess knowledge, patience, love, kindness, gentleness and are methodical at keeping your child’s schedule. We partner with parents to create schedules and development plans, keeping lines of communication wide open. Lesson plans incorporate language, cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual development and of course we dish out a full helping of our specialty – lots of LOVE.
Our infant area consists of three separate class rooms divided by age groups, each having their own unique setup for their specific developmental needs. We call them young infants, middle infants and older infants. This allows each age group and class room environment to be specifically arranged. The youngest infants have swings and bouncy seats, an individual cozy mat play area, and group mat play area. Our middle and older infant classes do not have swings, as we promote crawling and gross motor development in those rooms. Manipulative toys and other materials are also selected for the rooms to meet development needs and abilities by age group.
Infant Development – What’s Important
The first years of a child’s life are the most critical for brain development and growth with 75% of their brain developing after birth. An infants’ first priority is a sense of security and bonding. It is critical that they bond with their infant teachers and feel safe in our environment. This is accomplished through touching and holding your infant during feedings and throughout the day, as well as smiling, singing and verbal interaction during other daily routines. Just as important, is your infant’s needs be met on a consistent and timely manner. Each family assists with this by developing their child’s daily schedule with the teachers. The child’s own natural biological rhythms and temperament determine their schedule for sleeping, eating, diapering and play time to ensure a consistent schedule between home and school. When an infant feels secure with their care provider, and their needs are met, they will develop a sense of trusting and appreciation for the world around them and will grow exponentially in the proper environment. This is where In The Beginning can make a great difference, our teachers are constantly interacting with your baby and attending to their need signals. They know that every waking moment is a teaching and learning opportunity.
Infants explore through their senses and learn from their environment. We know this and provide toys and an enriched environment that allow infants to learn more about the things around them and develop these skills they are born with — looking, touching and grasping, taste or sucking, and listening. Each infant room has age appropriate toys and materials to engage and teach them about sounds, shapes, textures, movement and language. It is important to provide new and interesting stimuli for your baby to enhance their development.
The basis for gross and fine motor development starts with the natural reflexes they are born with, like sucking when something touches their mouth, blinking when light shines in their eyes and grasping when their palms are touched. These survival instincts form the basis for gross and fine motor development. Gross motor skills involve large muscle and fine motor skills involve movements like grasping. This development can be encouraged and enhanced by their environment and by having plenty of new experiences, new things to touch, listen to, play with, and toys that make sounds when shaken. These motor skill developments allows an infant to go from being physically helpless to lifting their heads, sitting up, balancing and crawling. A great example of helping an infant to develop physically is having them reach for their favorite toy during tummy-time, a game of object hide and seek, or rolling a ball for them to stop or reach for, while on their side or sitting. This helps them work on manipulating and balance at the same time, all while having fun.
It is never too early to initiate language development. This starts with non-verbal cues like touching, smiling, laughing, talking and reading. We also incorporate American Sign Language, ASL, as well as basic gestures to represent simple tasks. Before verbal language is started these gestures can be used to communicate needs and desires. Sound development can be stimulated by face-to-face language play. A game of peek-a-boo is a great game to play that assists with sound development and reinforcement of facial expressions or gestures.
In The Beginning infant teachers use language stimulation techniques called descriptive, parallel talk and self talk to encourage the onset of language in infants. These techniques direct the teacher’s language in a certain way. Description language is when the teacher describes what the child sees, or what she is doing to or with them. During a diaper change, it might be “I’m taking your pants off”, and “Now here is a new diaper” and then “all done”. Parallel talk often starts with “You”. For example, “You have the ball”, or “The rattle makes noise when you shake it”. Self talk starts with I, because it focuses on the adult behavior. “I am going to read this book to you” or, for example noticing a child is fussy, “I’ll be there to pick you up as soon as I finish wiping this table”. These techniques help them put word labels on things and actions. Language development activities are incorporated in our curriculum using these language stimulation techniques and with music, reading, singing, picture materials and of course conversation. Infants also love “huddle time” when books are read by their teacher while the infants huddle around in a cozy area of the room.
Parent – Teacher – Director Communication
Good two way communication between families and our staff is crucial. In The Beginning uses daily scrolls to document feeding, diapering and sleeping times along with other important activities or milestones in your infant’s day. Of course drop off and pick up are times to exchange specific information on what your baby is doing at home and here with your teacher. Director is always available for face to face or call to discuss their day or development. We are also available to conference with parents at any stage of your child’s development.