The Babies range in age from three months to 18 months. There are three fulltime, and one part time, teachers in the Baby Room who care for ten infants. There is a daily schedule in the room, but each baby adheres to his or her own individual schedule. Babies in the Infant Room eat when they are hungry and sleep when they are tired. The teachers provide consistent, responsive care that is respectful to every infant’s needs. Even if a teacher cannot come immediately to a child who is crying, she will respond to the infant by talking calmly and trying to reassure him or her that help is on the way. For very young infants, we try to vary their positions and locations in the classroom throughout the day. For example, a four- month-old infant may enjoy lying on the mattress looking at a mobile for a while before getting some “tummy time” on the mat. For older, mobile babies, the daily activities might include crawling in and out of the “ducky pond” before rolling a beach ball with a teacher. There is a loosely structured curriculum in the room for older babies that include activities in cognitive, language, large and small motor development as well as one activity per week in art and sensory exploration (finger painting with jell-o or cornmeal in the sandbox are a couple of favorites). When babies begin to exhibit more toddler-type characteristics, they may be ready to transition to the Wobbly Walkers. For all the Infants, there is a private, fenced-in playground for them to enjoy the outdoors as often as the weather will allow. Even non-mobile babies can benefit from the fresh air in an adults lap or lying on a mat.
The Wobbly Walkers , or Wobblies as they are often called, range in age from 18 months to three years. The Wobblies are recognized by the following traits: walking as the main mode of transportation, eating all table foods, drinking all liquids from
a sippy cup, taking one afternoon nap per day and beginning to communicate in ways other than crying or cooing (gesturing and verbalizing or using actual words). There are four full time adults who care for 14-16 Wobbly Walkers. The Wobbly Walkers enjoy a wide variety of activities structured loosely around themes. Themes include topics that are relevant to the children’s lives. For example, they might spend a week talking and learning about flowers in the springtime, and then going for a walk around the block to look for flowers, and return to glue tissue paper “flowers” onto paper. Each week, the curriculum includes opportunities for language, large and small motor development, stories and art relating to the theme, as well as music, finger plays, and sensory activities (shaving cream and rice are two favorites). Each day is a mix of both indoor and outdoor child directed activities like free play, as well as teacher directed activities such as story time or group time. The Wobblies follow a consistent daily schedule that includes routine diaper changes, meal times, and naptime yet allows flexibility for fun. Outdoor play is a big part of the Wobbly Walkersday as they practice running, jumping, and other large motor activities.
The Busy Bees range in age from 32 months to five years, although most enter our preschool room at three years of age, in special circumstances, a child may be younger or older than the usual range in the Busy Bee room. The room is comprised of three full-time teachers who care for 20-22 children. The Busy Bees are preschoolers, and their curriculum includes components that challenges them, encourages language development, and ensures that they will be prepared for kindergarten when they leave our program. The Busy Bees usually follow thematic lesson plans. Activities are centered on expanding vocabulary and language skills; gross motor play, exploring new fine motor activities, and encouraging imaginative play. Pre-literacy activities include group story times, and finger plays, as well as individual story time, and one- on-one with the teacher. Children are also encouraged to look at books individually.
Art activities are a favorite in the Busy Bee room. Children are provided with a different assortment of art materials on a weekly basis. These activities include painting with brushes, and other manipulatives, crayons, glue, drawing on different types and textures of paper, and using felt, sponges, and chalk among other interesting materials. Children are encouraged to explore imaginative play. Dress up clothes, dolls, trains, and trucks are favorites in the Busy Bee Room. Children also learn about different community workers
such as firefighters, mail persons, sales people, and doctors. Learning about these everyday activities allows for more imaginative play experiences. A fire safety theme may be supplemented with a visit to the Russell Street Fire Station to
meet the firefighters. This has been very popular in the past! Group, parallel, and individual play are all very important for children this age, and teachers in the Busy Bee Room encourage all of the above. Children enjoy playing outside in our play yard twice a day. Climbing, jumping, playing house and of course running and chase games are much loved.
We have three large, brightly lit classrooms and a sunny outdoor space with new climbing structures, sandbox, trees, a vegetable and flower garden, shade areas, and push and ride toys. The playground has recently been renovated with safe rubber surfacing, and the classrooms have new laminate flooring. The Babies have their own separate outdoor play area that is padded, with small climbing structures, shade structures, and baby sized sensory tables. We also have a staff room, a kitchen, a parent lounge and nursing area, and a parent resource library.