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Infant & Toddler Care
Three campus centers serve infants and toddlers:
• University Child Care Center at Laurel Heights
• University Child Care Center at Mission Bay
• Marilyn Reed Lucia Child Care Study Center on Parnassus
Each teacher works with a group of three to four infants. A strong relationship between the caregiver and child, as well as between the caregiver and the family, is essential. With the partnership formed, the child is the focus. Each routine and care giving ritual is individualized for the child, taking into account his/her temperament and needs. Language and non-verbal communication are both key in the infant classrooms. Children are responded to, and their needs are addressed individually, as dictated by the child.
The young infant program is designed to be an extension of the family unit. The program facilitates infants’ natural intellectual development. Our caregivers work together to plan and implement a variety of activities for the children to develop their whole selves. Each infant’s routines and family practices from home are incorporated as much as possible into the care giving at the centers, helping them feel secure as they make the transition from home to the center. This consistency of the routines, schedules, transitions and practices from home to the center helps the infants establish security and keep their patterns consistent and predictable.
Our daily schedule is designed to meet infants’ physical and psychological needs. During learning and play periods, teachers encourage children to move freely among indoor and outdoor activities such as:
• Finger painting
• Gluing different materials with emphasis on color, shape, and texture
• Singing and dramatic play
• Reading and creating stories with flannel boards
• Puppet play to encourage verbal expression
• Playing with puzzles, blocks, and sensory materials such as sand, water, bubbles, and playdough
• Outdoor playground activities
In these classrooms, everything is worth exploring. Toddlers are given activities and materials that allow them to explore concepts and relations of materials to one another. Primary groups are small, with one teacher to every four to six toddlers. Routines such as dressing, self-serving of meals, napping, and toilet training become the focus in this classroom.
Because the toddler is independent, while at the same time interested in satisfying their wants and needs, negotiating materials and space with peers is a primary task within these classrooms. These classrooms are also rich in language, for this is when adults spend much of their time role modeling language for the children, giving them the language skills they need to be able to communicate their own needs.
Our program is designed to increase toddlers’ autonomy, self-motivation, and self-selection of activities, and provides an opportunity for children to work together in small groups. Toddlers choose from fun activities designed to stimulate small muscle coordination and development of cognitive processes, such as language acquisition, reading, writing, and math skills.
Daily activities include:
• Indoor and outdoor work tables containing teacher-prepared activities such as puzzles, playdough, cutting and gluing tasks, drawing and collage materials, and scientific experiments
• A creative play area with clothes and materials that allow children to create different real-world settings
• A block-building area with animals and vehicles
• A reading corner for individual children or small adult-led groups
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