At infant stage, with tender loving care and comfort, infants learn through simple signs and surrounding sounds to build their communication ability. The infants are given lots of “tummy-time” to strengthen muscles.
At the infant stage the senses are crucial to learning. Within a safe and supportive environment, children will be exposed to painting with their bodies and varieties of tools – sponges, stamps, fruits and vegetables, to name a few.
Infants are given the freedom to choose toys to play with according to what they like. The teachers lay out activities for them and the children choose what they like to play with. The teachers support the infants’ curiosity and interact with them through shapes, sizes and colors. Teachers support the infants while standing and crawling to develop their motor skills. Free play in an infant room must offer an age and stage appropriate number of choices – which may include “tummy-time” – with a variety of toys, balls, cardboard books, tethers and for slightly older children (those able to sit) we will use more heuristic play – enhanced with Treasure Baskets which perhaps have a variety of natural materials inside, such as natural sponge, wooden spoons, etc. If we are feeling musical, we may even take out some saucepans and wooden spoons for the children to explore!
Babies learn through their senses. They need to touch, smell, hear, see and, very importantly, taste and learn through their mouths to develop their understanding of the world around them. A baby’s mouth is the most sensitive part of their body and some experts say that babies need to put things into their mouths to find out about them. There is no right or wrong way to play with these objects.
Babies learn by experimenting, handling and finding out what exactly different things can do. When babies are playing our practitioners will join in, they will get down to their level and sit on the floor with them or sometimes just watch them and see what they do. Our practitioners will be observing:
How long each child can concentrate
If they use one sense more than others
What the children likes or dislikes
How they are using their hands and fingers
What goes into their mouths
In the infant room we are also using equipment such as baby gyms and activities are geared to encourage children to move and explore – again using their many senses.
From crawling age we will introduce things like an Infant Obstacle Course to their room where a variety of objects, soft play, pillows, etc., are laid out and the children are encouraged to move around and investigate. Our teachers will be on hand to offer support and interact with the children through games such as ‘Peek A Boo’.