Infant (3 to 17 months old)
Little Tots Academy provides a beautifully crafted classroom that allows infants to form connections in their environments by giving them a sense of belonging. Sense of Belonging happens through consistent, loving teachers and a classroom designed with toys and materials that portray a sense of home: soft lighting, comfortable chairs (for both adult and child to sit and cuddle in), calming music, cozy carpets and pillows (to lean on or be propped up with), and photos of families and friends (displayed at infants’ eye level). Tiny Tots Academy Infant Room has been created with the following visions in mind:
- Staffed with loving, soft-spoken, and experienced teachers/caretakers
- Developmentally appropriate materials and practices. Materials that are enticing, interesting, and easily accessible encourage children’s interactions and learning
- Displaying in low shelves and easy-to-see baskets/containers to hold materials.
- Encouraging, loving interactions with eating, sleeping, and exploring
- Respecting infants/families and honoring their importance
- Incorporating comfortable environments that portray home-like settings in positive, safe, encouraging ways
- Using various materials for toys, furniture, and equipment as infants respond to rich, soothing textures, such as soft fabrics and smooth wood.
- Minimizing containers devices that inhibit natural movement and can be confining
Toddler (18 months to 2.8 years old)
The toddler classroom safely supports children’s drive to do things alone, developing confidence and a sense of competence. The environment is language-rich and welcoming. Children have access to a wide range of books that will allow them to explore independently or read aloud with an adult.
- Children are encouraged to work independently, observe others, explore freely, and express their curiosity and creativity.
- The environment fosters toilet awareness and independence in maintaining personal hygiene (such as learning how to wipe one’s nose and wash hands independently).
- The sleeping area with individual floor beds/mats allows toddlers to exercise autonomy in preparing for rest and get up independently once rested.
- The work activities help children coordinate their movements and help prepare, serve, eat, and clean up their snacks and meals.
- Daily routines give younger children a sense of security and stability. They feel safe and secure in their environment as they understand everyday events and procedures and learn what is expected of them as routines make their environment more predictable.
Preschool (2.9 to 5 years)
Preschool Room is inspired by and for the children. Teachers regularly take the children out into nature and use natural learning materials in the prepared environment. These materials include real wood, metal, bamboo, cotton, and glass, rather than synthetics or plastics. The materials should also be accurate and child-size, so the child can work with the materials independently without frustration and without having to depend on an adult for help with movement.
The prepared environment is freedom provides children the freedom to explore, move around freely, and interact socially in a calm environment. The classroom fosters the development of a sense of compassion and empathy for others, thus causing children to be more socially aware.