The Aspen Grove infant program is rooted in the understanding that a nurturing environment and a close bond with teacher-caregivers form the basis for joyful development. There is a feeling of “home” as teacher-caregivers infuse the day with love, warmth and optimism. Here we follow a baby’s individual routine, ensuring that they nap, feed and play as they need to. We speak with babies throughout the day, sing with them, read to them and communicate in sign language. It is here that babies experience an explosion of development as they form the sounds that eventually become words, develop the movements that eventually become first steps and build the connections that eventually turn into friends. Each interaction assures them that their needs are being met and guides them to explore the beautiful world around them and build healthy neural connections. A support teacher dedicated to infant age groups helps provide a better ratio during parts of the day and is a familiar face that substitutes when the classroom teacher-caregiver is away.
Babies go out everyday and explore with their senses – sunlight twinkling through the leaves, the feel of a warm breeze, the chirp of a baby bird. While indoors, our babies have a dedicated gross motor space outside of their classrooms for gross motor development.
As our babies get closer to their move up to a young toddler classroom, teacher-caregivers prepare for this transition thoughtfully. Babies may take short naps on nap cots rather than cribs, may rest and feed more independently and communicate their needs more easily. Most of our young toddler classrooms are located in the same area as our infant classrooms allowing new young toddlers to feel familiar with their space.
Our toddler program understands that 1 and 2 year olds are coming into their own, looking to exercise their independence and discover their identity, and that things may seem familiar yet new all at once. Teachers thoughtfully introduce a rhythm to the day which starts with morning circle – a time to build self awareness, self expression and self-regulation through our Conscious Discipline® practices. Using our nature-based program, children read, sing, explore arts and crafts, nap, snack and eat in joyful spaces that are bathed in natural light and intentionally prepared with provocations to play. A child’s natural curiosity is given the freedom to explore and express as they build foundational skills – executive functioning, problem solving, resilience, task completion, independence and respectful social interactions, amongst others. It is here that they are doing the important work of learning to learn.
Movement and time outdoors are an important part of our toddler’s day. A 2nd dedicated gross motor space allows them to run, jump, climb and tumble in a large space that is curated for their development. Toddlers also spend time outside everyday exploring the natural world even in the midst of our busy city.
Our partnership with the local library provides special reading experiences and a partnership with Nature Jack engages their curious minds in monthly tactile science projects.