Licensed for 12 children – 6 weeks to 2-years old
The programs for the youngest children at CLMS are kept small by design. The small adult/child ratio and the small class size ensure one-on-one interaction between staff and each child, and provide close and caring relationships between the children. The staff is aware of each child’s developmental progression and is able to meet the needs of, and structure activities for, each child. The children form close friendships with each other as they literally grow up together.
Licensed as one group to provide a longer connection with caregivers, we recognize the wide variety of abilities and interests for this mixed age group and provide two teaching teams, one with focus on the infants, and the other focused on the toddlers. Offering stimulating play and social interaction which will promote growth both intellectually and emotionally is paramount in our program. Starting life with the consistency, security and developmentally appropriate activities that this program has, will help children develop self-assured, caring and giving personalities.
The Infant program emphasizes providing each child with love, comfort, emotional support and physical care. Stimulating play and social interaction promote growth both intellectually and emotionally.
We strongly believe that immediate response to children’s needs allows them to feel secure in their environment, their caregivers and, most importantly, themselves. This security is essential for children to be able to grow and learn to their fullest potential. To this end, children are often rocked to sleep, held while being bottle fed, and the staff is acutely aware of each child’s needs on an ongoing basis throughout the day. The entire staff at CLMS is aware of this philosophy and is always willing to step in when needed.
This philosophy of meeting all the children’s needs immediately and lovingly helps the children develop self-assured, caring and giving personalities. It also allows the children to develop a strong sense of independence, which is encouraged as the children are developmentally ready through a variety of structured and spontaneous activities. A respect for self and others is developed through the children’s interactions with the staff and their peers.
Communication between the staff and parents is essential for the success of the program. Each child has a Daily Note that parents and the staff use to communicate about the child’s day. The staff is available for short conversations regarding the child’s day at drop-off and pick-up times. In addition to the daily notes and conversations, the staff communicates with parents through telephone calls, e-mail and parent-teacher conferences as needed. The first two years of life involve many changes and new experiences for children. Each of these changes is fully communicated between the staff and parents.
Daily schedules in an infant room need to be flexible to meet the individual needs of the children being served. Though a rough outline can be laid out, the age and developmental levels of the children may have them eating, sleeping and playing at different times, especially when referring to the youngest children. As the children near the age when they will be making a move to the next age group more emphasis will be placed on helping the child adjust his schedule to match that of the others in the group.
For health reasons all infants will be placed on their backs for sleeping.
When a child shows readiness they transition into the Toddler program. Preparation for this move includes starting to drink from a cup, follow a group schedule, adjust to one nap a day and sleep on a cot. The staff of both groups watches each child’s development for strengthening communication skills and emerging independence to determine when they are developmentally ready to move to the older group. Because these two groups share a room, the children are familiar with the teachers, children and environment of their new group and do not need to break ties with their first caregivers.
Our Toddler group offers an important link between the individualized program in the Infant group and the more structured programs designed for our preschool children. Children in this group are experiencing their first involvement in organizing their life with others in mind. Meals are served “family style”, naps are scheduled early afternoon and there begins to be a schedule to the day for the group. Realizing the magnitude of this step of growing up is a focused aspect of this age groups program.
Children in this age group split their time between wanting social interaction and “parallel play” where they are surrounded by friends, but highly concentrated on their own individual activity. Allowing, and respecting, the need for both of these is important in planning a day for toddlers. Our days are a careful blend of planned activities & free choice; developing independence & providing help, offering group activities & allowing individual freedoms. The staff is focused at all times on the developmental stages of each individual child as they guide them into a widening world of friends and activities.
Group times for the Toddler group are short and engaging. Gross motor activities, finger plays, songs, games, book reading and short presentations are all part of a group time for this age group. The children are encourage to join the fun, but, attention spans are growing and abilities are varied, so a group time may or may not include all students. Children not ready to join may be playing on their own or observing the group, there is great joy in watching as this skill develops.
Large & small motor skills alike are focused on in the Toddler group. Children are enjoying the new abilities they are acquiring as they refine and widen their motor skills. Outside and inside activities are part of the daily routine (weather permitting) for gross motor activities, and small motor activities include self-help skills like independent eating and dressing as well as activities to learn pencil grip and scissor use.
Learning is everywhere and in everything for a young child, but in this group the first introduction to a structured learning activity is introduced. Materials are on the shelves for children to choose from, including activities that promote development in sensorial, language, practical life, number and letter concepts. Teachers are working with each child at a level to move him/her forward in learning at a gentle and challenging pace.
The imagination is all important for young children and our program is designed to encourage plenty of imaginative play. Dress ups & dishes, blocks & cars, animals & trains are available for children to play with a friend or on their own.
For some of our little people this is the group where toilet training starts. Here again, each child is on his/her own path and the “right time” is different for each of them. Staff and parents work together to decide when the time is right for this big step of growing up. The process can be slow or quick, but there is bound to be plenty of laundry as accidents happen as progress is made. The Toddler staff works closely with each set of parents to make this a successful event.