The infant/toddler program at Discovery Tree is designed
for children as young as six weeks through toddler age twenty-four months.
The environments have been carefully planned to ensure that every child
is surrounded by care, safety, stimulation, enrichment and love. The
basic premise of our philosophy supports treating infants and toddlers
as individuals and with respect. Theories of Child Development show that
infants follow a series of developmental milestones based upon each child's
individual rate of growth. Therefore, our program and activities provide
for and encourage your child to explore independently as well as interacting
with each other and their Teacher/Educarers. Discovery Tree employees
are professionals who exceed the state licensing requirements for Early
Childhood Educators/Infant Caregivers. Our Teacher/Educarers work closely
with parents so that consistency can be maintained between school and
In an effort to further explain our developmental philosophy
at Discovery Tree, we would like to share
some facts regarding infant development. Infants develop in predictable
stages, and yet at their own rate. We believe that it is critical to
and emotional development to not rush their growth. For instance, infants
typically roll over before they can scoot or crawl, crawl before they
can sit up unassisted, and later stand and walk. This is one of several
reasons that we believe it is detrimental to development to prop or sit
children up before they can do so on their own. We feel that being on
the floor allows them the opportunity to explore their bodies capabilities
as well as limitations. A child who cannot reach a sitting position on
their own, has not yet developed the muscles in their abdomen and back
to support that position and also leaves them unable to get out of that
position. To further infant development we provide many stimulating floor
activities, including a variety of climbing and crawling mats, soft climbing,
activity gyms, crawling toys, low mirrors and other forms of tactile
Children of all ages obtain such a feeling of accomplishment
upon conquering these early tasks on their own, this in turn enhances
their self esteem. We feel that providing a safe and nurturing environment
are our utmost concerns, but we firmly believe in fostering and encouraging
independence in infants and children.
Early Discoveries uses the R.I.E. philosophy. This philosophy
is based upon the idea of a non-restrictive, non-propping environment,
thereby allowing infants to develop their motor skills at their own rate. Consequently,
children are not placed in positions or situations which they cannot
get into or out of by themselves, nor will be placed into restrictive
devices such as highchairs or swings. Such devices prohibit an
infant from exploring his/her body - both it's capabilities and limitations.
The infant program is intended to stimulate your infant
along individual developmental lines. Each child follows their
own program/schedule, desires, needs and preferences. Sleeping,
feeding and diapering schedules are communicated daily via Daily Reports.
R.I.E (Resources for Infant Educators)
Our Philosophy is based on the R.I.E. Philosophy. Not just infants and
toddlers, but for all people.
In order to foster quality care RIE encourages:
- Basic trust in the child to be an initiator, an explorer, and
a self learner.
- An environment for the child that is physically safe, cognitively
challenging, and emotionally nurturing.
- Time for uninterrupted play.
- Freedom to explore and interact with other children.
- Involvement of the child in all care activities to allow the
child to become an active participant rather than a passive recipient.
- Sensitive observation of the child in order to understand his
and her needs.
- Consistency, clearly defined limits and expectations to develop
Ten Easy Steps to R.I. E. Philosophy
There are not easy steps to anything in this life that is really
worthwhile. R.I.E. is respect, synchrony, and quality.
- DO involve the infant in caretaking chores (such as diapering).
- DON'T just distract him so that you can get the job done faster.
- DO invest in quality time when you are totally available to the
- DON'T settle for constant time together when you are only half
- DO respect the baby as an individual.
- DON'T treat him as a cute, empty-headed doll to be manipulated.
- DO learn the baby's system of communication and teach him yours.
- DON'T underestimate his ability to communicate.
- DO be honest about your feelings.
- DON'T pretend to feel something you don't.
- DO invest in the time and energy to build human relationships
and the baby's personality.
- DON'T strive just to make the baby smart.
- DO build security for the baby by teaching trust.
- DON'T teach distrust by putting the baby in situations where
he can't depend on you.
- DO worry about the quality of development in each stage.
- DON'T worry about reaching development milestones in a hurry.
- DO model the behavior you want to teach.
- DON'T preach.
- DO let a baby learn to solve his own problems.
The Transitioning Infant/Toddler
Part of Discovery Tree's developmental philosophy is that we, as teachers
really strive to meet your child's changing developmental needs. The
infant who is beginning to transition to our toddler program will typically
exhibit a number of these behavioral cues:
- is beginning to eat table foods and is showing less interest in
- is weaning from a bottle to a cup
- napping on a more consistent, daily sleep schedule (generally 1
nap a day)
- begins to show more interest in the social aspects of eating (wants
to eat with their friends)
- can get into and out of the eating chairs with little or no assistance
- wants to feed herself/himself
- is typically around 12 months of age
- can stand by pulling up and is beginning to walk
- shows more interest in the higher activity level in the toddler
program than in the infant area
These cues are a flexible guideline that the teachers and director use
in making a decision in appropriate timing for transitioning. Ongoing
parent communication is very important at this time as well as on a daily
basis. Please feel free to talk to the teachers in your child's room
about any questions or concerns you may have at this time.
The toddler requires a delicate balance of freedom and
adult supervision as their self-help progresses into autonomy. Songs,
books, music, art and larger climbing equipment are added for the transitioning
toddlers. While personal attention is our first concern, we encourage
safe, gentle interactions between toddlers as their social awareness
unfolds. Self-concept, independence, and imagination blossom during
the toddler years. We offer tactile and sensory experiences to
stimulate this stage of development. Waterplay, pudding painting,
shaving cream, etc. are only a sample of what is available.
Toddlers from twelve months up to twenty-four months have
very specific needs. Toddlers can have a fickle attention span
and an endless interest in newness and change. The toddler program
is dependent on Teacher 'direction' in the children's play. Adult
interaction and facilitation is essential to the teaching and reteaching
of prosocial behaviors, Discovery Tree's most central goal. Adult
interaction also allows the program to accelerate into more interesting
types of discovery and play.
Toddlers come together as a group, strengthening social
skills and complimenting the attachment group philosophy. However,
toddlers are known for their parallel play and given many opportunities
to explore their own interests. The age and development skills
of the toddler range vastly, therefore, the activities planned are simple
in concept. This simplicity allows the children to initiate more
complex play at their particular level of readiness.
Staff will communicate daily with parents concerning feeding,
sleeping and diapering schedules.
In the Toddler Room, we try to make the children feel comfortable, just
as if they were at home.
Toddlers love to explore and learn through play...
We give them
- crayons and paper
- playdough and blocks
- sand and water
Toddlers love to imitate...
We give them
- dishes and cups
- dolls and blankets
- telephones and hats
Toddlers can sometimes be very active, they love to make lots of noise...
We give them
- music to dance to
- songs to sing
- floors to march on
- grass to run on
Toddlers can sometimes be quiet. They love to be loved...
We give them
- pillows to lie on
- stories to listen to
- laps to sit on
- teachers to hug
It is very important to respect toddlers so they can respect you!!
Infant/Toddler Ratios: Discovery Tree maintains a staff/teacher-to-infant/toddler
ratio of 1 to 3 for a majority of our day, and 1 to 4 during opening
and closing hours.