Children eight weeks to two years nine months are enrolled in one of two infant/toddler classrooms. Each classroom consists of a small, constant group of children and adults with no more than 9 children. A teacher-child ratio of 1:3 for infants and 1:4 for toddlers allows for individual attention and a secure, comfortable environment.
The UMCC teaching team develops a separate daily program for infants and toddlers. While much of the day for infants revolves around each child's individual schedule, consistency is established through predictable staffing patterns that foster strong primary relationships between the children and their caregivers. Infants are provided with a safe, secure, and stimulating environment. In addition to meeting each infant's basic needs, the teaching team is attentive and encourages gross motor and sensory development by giving the children opportunities to crawl and interact with the world around them.
Developing a consistent daily routine provides the framework for the toddlers' program. A typical day includes group time with songs, stories, and games; small group activities such as working with playdough or painting; and outdoor play. Through individual attention and respectful interactions, the teachers help the children learn about and deal with transitions, understand and respect limits, and respect each other. The classroom is a language-rich environment with books on low shelves that the children can reach and look through at any time.