Children between 18 months through 3 years of age are going through important milestones: learning to walk confidently, communicating through language and beginning to care for themselves. Children’s brains at this age are developing in leaps and bounds, and the repeated experiences that they live through are crucial in the shaping of the child’s character and personality.
Our Infant Community offers a language rich environment with plenty of opportunities for movement, exploration and interaction with peers. This will help each child develop their sense of autonomy and self-esteem, as well as establish relationships with others in a warm, supportive, and respectful community.
The classroom offers opportunities to engage in attractive, purposeful activities: for example, snack preparation, setting the table, washing dishes, flower-arranging, taking care of plants, and many more that help develop the will and volition that are important facets to constructing one’s character. Mastery of these activities also helps each child refine fine and gross motor skills and contributes to self-confidence as the children take pleasure in completing these tasks on their own.
What every child asks of us is: ‘Help me to do it for myself’. And it is wonderful to support that process in an environment where adults are prepared to guide them along the way. We do this by preparing activities that they can initiate and carry out autonomously. In this way, the children become familiar with their capabilities and develop their self-confidence in a short and intense period.
In this supportive environment children are able to have positive, first experiences away from home, and begin to build social skills and form bonds with those outside their immediate family. This is a part of the natural process of human development as young children begin to gradually open themselves to the world, and to build emotional connections with people who are not part of their family.
All the activities available to the children are developmentally appropriate, attractive and especially designed to nourish the children’s physical, emotional and intellectual needs. The adults accompanying the children are trained to respect each child’s pace and temperament, assisting them in their paths so they can flourish.
It is important for parents to understand that this is not a daycare program rather it has been specially designed with the needs of the young child in mind. This is most obvious within the environment but also in our timetable, which is Monday to Friday in the mornings from 9h to 12h. The children come for a short morning where they can choose the activities they are going to work on. This period fulfills the social and emotional needs of a child at this age. From the very beginning, individual interests and rhythms are respected.
Our Infant Community is in line with Maria Montessori’s theory of human development covering ages of 0 to 24 months. The Infant Community’s design and the conscious decisions that have been made in creating this unique program, reflects the school’s conviction that each age group has needs that should be met in a developmentally appropriate manner.