This program at Oasis Montessori Schools provides a nurturing environment structured to meet the development needs of the youngest of our children. In this carefully prepared environment, babies are provided with engaging learning materials in a peaceful yet stimulating setting. Children learn to use their large muscles for crawling, pulling up, and walking, and are exposed to many materials which will assist in the development of their intellect, fine motor control, problem solving, and social skills. The freedom to explore and make independent choices allows infant to build confidence. Each child becomes an active participant in his or her own educational experience from the very beginning, which sets the stage for a lifelong love of learning.
Teachers create strong bonds of trust with the infants as they lovingly respond to the children’s individual needs. Teachers communicate regarding the schedule, needs and progress of each child on a daily basis, creating a partnership with parents. Trust and parent-teacher partnerships allow infants the security to develop to their greatest potential while at school. Each child receives one-on-one attention through reading, singing, feeding and rocking. They also receive opportunities for independent work in movement and concentration.
The infant environment serves 8 children between the ages of 3 months -24 months with 1 lead teacher and an adult caregiver.
This overview reflects the rich Montessori beginning -of-life concepts and the earliest learning cycle based upon the sensitive periods which occur during a child’s first stage of development.
The infant Environment is a safe space with specially designed activities and materials to meet the infant’s interest and development in:
The design of the environment enables the child to safely explore the classroom, Infant-sized furniture and a soft gross motor play area allows children to explore, make choices, and have independence without the impediments of cribs, playpens, or highchairs. The environment is fully equipped with beautiful and purposeful infant materials.
The infant learns through his senses, and movement allows him to sensorially explore his world. By encouraging the infant’s movement, the caregiver is assisting to build his intelligence and understanding of the world around him. This exploration begins from birth, way before a child can crawl or walk. Aids to movement in the infant environment include:
Floor Bed – A floor bed creates a safe place for the infant to view his environment with no obstructions like playpen walls or crib bars.
Montessori Mobiles-This carefully designed sequence of mobiles is the first element introduced to the infant. The mobiles allow the infant to practice focus, tracking and concentration, and range from high contrast black and white mobiles to subtly graded colors.
Grasping Materials– Hanging a simple wooden ring above the infant, yet within his reach, allows the infant to connect what he sees with the motions of his body. As he grasps the objects above him. He delights in exerting control over his body and his surroundings.
Movement Mat– This thin, neutral colored mat allows the infant to focus on the objects placed before him.
Low Mirror– Attached to the wall in front of the movement mat, this mirror allows the infant to observe this own body in motion.
Toys for Movement– Offering a simple yet interesting object slightly out of the infant’s reach will encourage him to scoot or crawl forward to grasp it.
Standing– A bar set in front of a mirror allows the infant to pull up to a standing position while observing the movements of this body. Low shelves with interesting materials placed on the top level will also encourage a child to stand up in order to explore the materials.
Walking– A push wagon gives the infant the stability to walk his environment.
Children are encouraged to develop independence in several key areas in the classroom:
Sleep– Each child will have specifically located floor bed which is always available to him for rest or naps. Teachers will work with each child to create gentle transitions into daytime sleep routines.
Eating– Once the child is ready for solid foods, he will learn to feed himself at a specially designed weaning table. Teachers will work one-on-one with each child, guiding in the use of utensils and sitting independently during meals.
Work cycle– Teachers encourage children to independently choose materials from the shelves when a child begins to crawl. Rotation of the beautiful materials entices children to explore their surroundings.
Toileting– Once a child is standing, teachers will begin to change his diapers in a standing position. He will begin to be involved in the care of his body, laying the groundwork for toilet learning.