The Infant/Toddler program is designed to serve infants and toddlers from 6 weeks to 29 months. The program's purpose is to provide a safe, loving environment in which infants and toddlers feel secure and grow physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively. The program also serves as a practicum for students enrolled in the two year Child Development program.
Infant and Toddler Philosophy
The Infant and Toddler programs of Grand Rapids Community College Laboratory Preschool are based upon responsive, relationship-based care. Our philosophy supports respecting infants and toddlers as individuals. We believe that infant and toddler care should be based on supportive relationships and emphasize child-directed learning.
Infant and toddler staff tunes into each child, learning from the individual what he or she needs, thinks, and feels. In order to provide consistent care and to maximize the child’s learning experience, each staff member acts as a primary caregiver. Primary caregivers are assigned to individual children and support their social emotional development, communicate with families, arrange the physical space of the environment, and plan learning activities. This allows a strong, secure attachment to develop and helps the child gain a positive sense of self. As they observe the children in their care, staff reflects on and records information about their interests and skills in order to set the stage for the next learning encounter.
Infants and toddlers require equal measures of freedom and adult supervision as their self-help skills progress into autonomy. We trust in the child to be an initiator, an explorer, and a self-learner, and encourage their developing self-confidence, independence, and imagination. We provide an environment that ensures safety, offers appropriate developmental challenges, and promotes optimum health for children.
The infant room has 8 children with 2 teachers.
The toddler room has 12 children with 3 teachers.
The teachers in these two rooms have Associate's, Bachelor's, or Master Degrees in Child Development. Each caregiver has specific experience and training in working with infants and toddlers.
These full-time teachers are assisted by part-time Co-op aides and by students in the CD 210 and CD 118 Child Development courses.
The schedule is planned to include a great deal of one-to-one, adult-child time.
The infants' schedules will be determined by their individual rhythms of sleeping, eating, and alertness. The teachers view routine times (i.e. diaper changing & feeding) as an essential time for learning. The teachers spend lots of time cuddling the babies, and provide moving and playing times for each infant.
The toddler schedule will provide a little more structure, again focusing on the individual child's needs. The schedule provides for lots of exploration, language experience, discovery, and play.
Partnership with parents is essential for a successful infant/toddler program. Your child's teacher will keep you informed about your child's time at the center, and we hope, you will free feel to share your expert knowledge of your child with your child's teacher. Your suggestions about the program and your insights on your child are always important and welcome. We ask that you set aside five minutes at the beginning and end of the day to talk with you child's teacher/caregiver. You are the most important person in your child's life. This program is a resource for you to use. You are welcome to visit any time.
Health and Safety
Every precaution is taken to ensure your child's health and well-being at the center. Each child hashis/her own crib/cot with clean bedding. Caregivers and children wash their hands after every diaper change. Toys and equipment are disinfected every day and more often if necessary.