Infant care begins with providing the youngest of children a sense of safety and belonging. Young babies need to know their basic needs will be met: food, physical safety, warmth, and love. They have a need to develop connection with those caring for them. A warm, welcoming, and engaging smile is an example of the kind of close care and connection we offer to our infants.
We limit our teacher to infant ratio to a maximum of 4 to 1, and most often we keep this ratio closer to 3 to 1. This helps to ensure each child is personally engaged as much as possible throughout the day. Our youngest infants are held during feedings, and all our babies are rocked, read to, and played with throughout the day. Infant teachers are often down on the floor engaging with babies on their level. We have regular sensory activities as part of our infant curriculum, and live music “concerts” are given weekly by our music teacher; helping to soothe and calm their sweet baby emotions.
Early stage toddlers are really beginning to explore the world around them! We foster their curiosity by allowing our Toddler 1 students to discover new sights, sounds, textures, shapes, and even tastes. Weekly music classes continue in this room and begin to get more interactive.
These early toddlers begin to learn skills such as manners, kindness, and how their actions affect those around them. Our teachers help children develop communication skills though basic sign language, and lay the foundation for how to develop positive peer interactions. We help early toddlers recognize colors, sounds, and objects such as shapes and animals. They begin stacking, sorting, and even problem solving at this age. In this classroom the children begin the routine of going outside twice each day, allowing the children to explore a larger part of their world, and to practice their rapidly developing motor skills. Finally, our teachers remain focused on closeness and personal attention through engaged play, reading, and physical connection.
The world of discovery continues in our Toddler 2 room. With stronger motor skills and expanding attention spans, these children can continue their development through activities such as songs, finger plays, stories, and circle time. In addition to music, our science curriculum begins in this classroom. The joy can literally be seen on the children's faces as they discover new possibilities in their world.
Spoken language begins developing at this age, and famously, so does independent will! We encourage these older toddlers through the challenges of peer interactions and emotional regulation. Rather than shutting down a child's emotion, we patiently reinforce positive (and safe) self-expression. Having a consistent routine is one way we help older toddlers know what they can expect from us, and what we expect from them.
We consistently evaluate each child based on age-appropriate benchmarks in order to assess individual growth and development. This allows us to communicate with families and set realistic goals that will set your child up for success as they prepare to move up to the Explorers room.
This classroom is named after the developmental stage of its children. It is around this time that children develop a deeper sense of curiosity about how and why things work the way they do.
Our interactive curriculum stimulates the whole child. Daily activities include such things as art, puzzles, blocks, games, imaginative play (dress up and role playing), reading, and lots of time outside! In addition to our music and science programs, these children take part in to our weekly sports and movement programs (all included with tuition).
Routine and structure are extremely important for this age group so we make sure to incorporate both into each child’s day. We consistently communicate our expectations with children to minimize surprises or disappointments (which can be difficult to handle at this age). We actively partner with parents during this time to assist in toilet training. After their time in the Explorers Rooms, these children are fully ready for their transition into Preschool.
Preschoolers are typically adventuresome and curious! They love learning new concepts about themselves and the world around them. Each day is thoroughly planned out with a variety of hands-on activities to encourage learning and socialization. Students will be taught to write their names and recognize letters, numbers, colors and shapes. Our teachers also begin to introduce concepts like opposites, identify emotions and basic directional skills (over/under etc.). We also put an extra focus on selfawareness and children foster independence mastering skills such as serving their own food and putting on their own coats.
We consistently evaluate each child based on age-appropriate benchmarks in order to assess individual growth and development. This allows us to communicate with families and set realistic goals that will set your child up for success and the pride that comes with achievement.
In our Pre-Kindergarten class, our teachers work closely with each child to sharpen all of the skills they will need for full Kindergarten readiness. It is our ultimate goal to ensure all of our students are emotionally, physically, cognitively, and behaviorally prepared for their move into the school system.
Academic development in the Pre-K Room includes exposure to learning opportunities such as: basic language development in Spanish and French, writing the full alphabet and structuring the writing of words, sounding out the reading of words, counting to 100, writing numbers to 50, and developing basic addition and subtraction skills.
However, none of this academic development takes the place of Pre-K kids to have fun!! We spend a ton of time outside doing things like running, climbing, kicking balls, gardening, having picnics, and letting kids be kids. Creativity, exploration, self-expression, and fun remain the cornerstones of our Pre-K curriculum.
It is SO very hard to say good-bye to these children as they leave for Kindergarten (especially those we have watched grow since infancy), yet we know they are well prepared to begin the next phase in their lives!
Our team would not be complete without the hard work of our part-time teachers and our other support staff. We would like to introduce them, since you and your child will be seeing them throughout your time at Growing Hearts and Minds.