INFANTS AND TODDLERS
From the moment of birth, children are forming ideas about this world through their experiences. Even our youngest children need opportunities to explore the world in a safe, comfortable and stimulating environment.
An essential part of this early experience is the opportunity to establish relationships with others. Our teachers establish respectful and responsive relationships with each child, learning their interests, passions, and idiosyncrasies. Materials and experiences are planned with each child's unique interests and skills in mind.
We have 5 classrooms for the Infant/Toddler age, ranging from 3 months to 3 years. Children are separated according to age and typically travel together with their class throughout their time at ITC.
Infants & Ones. 3-12 months by September. Child:Teacher ratio of 7:4.
Young Toddlers. 13-24 months by September Child:Teacher ratio of 8:3.
Mixed Toddlers. 18-30 months by September. Child:Teacher ratio of 9:2.
2/3s (A & B classroom). 2 years by August. Child:Teacher ratio of 9:2.
The infant and toddler play yard includes traditional components like swings, slides and a large sandbox, and unique natural interactions like small hills, garden boxes, rocks, bird feeders, and shrubs, all designed to meet the needs of our budding walkers.
Children spend time outdoors daily in most weather. On bitterly cold days, babies stay inside while mobile toddlers may venture out for a short breath of air, even if it takes longer to dress them than we actually stay outdoors! On a rainy spring day, you may find us exploring puddles or mastering umbrellas.
Our strollers and wagons allow us a great deal of mobility, on and off our property. Infants often stroll the lot, chatting with the preschoolers over the fence or listening to the crows call from the treetops. Our young toddlers take walks down the sidewalk to see the train crossing. As the toddlers are ready, the group may venture to nearby conservation land.
Music and movement
Our infant and toddler teachers use music as a tool for transitions throughout the day. Singing is a gentle prompt that, over time, helps a baby or toddler recognize that a change is imminent. Songs signal the transition to snack, rest, or a diaper change. Name songs build a sense of community, funny songs allow us to laugh together, and just about any song can make us want to dance.
Older infants and toddlers have informal music sessions, where they explore instruments, learn simple finger plays, and begin to absorb the routines that lead to social cohesiveness. We introduce recorded music as supplementary material, but our first focus is on the human voice sung in the present moment. We encourage families to share favorite music from home, expanding our musical repertoire and reinforcing the home/school connection.
Sensory exploration is vital to early childhood exploration, and we offer daily opportunities for children to express themselves through art. Activities may include structured activity where children are led in small groups to create a project, or choice activities where teachers offer various mediums (paper, pipe cleaners, water colors, and more) to allow free expression. Each year, a piece of every child's art is showcased in our Annual Art Show, bringing together friends, family, and community to celebrate our children's contribution to the arts.
Children are served group snacks each morning and afternoon, sourced from a selection of ITC-provided and parent-donated items that range from yogurt and fruit to hummus and vegetables. Milk from a local farm is provided by ITC. Children bring lunches from home, with the exception of infants, where we ask all foods come from home until a child has tried enough food to participate in group snack. ITC is a nut-restricted environment.
This community time encourages children to experience new and familiar foods together as they learn more about keeping their bodies healthy and strong.
From our community gardens to slicing cucumbers to preparing soup or making muffins, even our youngest children are no strangers to the kitchen. With a shared in-house kitchen facility, teachers and students also partner together to create nutritious (and delicious) recipes throughout the year - ranging from zucchini muffins for afternoon snack to a hearty fall soup for a community lunch day.
Our on-campus community gardens allow each group to be in charge of growing 2 vegetables from seed to harvest annually. Watching the process of a seed sprout and grow, and ultimately bear fruit, intimately connects our children to their food source. In summer, you'll see an extra sense of pride when our children are preparing zucchini from their own garden.