The Bowdoin College Children’s Center Infant Room provides a warm, rich environment where the children who come into our care are able to form deep attachments with a Primary Caregiver. We offer a program model that supports one on one interaction between adult and child. It is in these one on one interactions we believe, that the prime times for learning occur and the children are given the emotional support they need to thrive. We strive to create the conditions for deep, concentrated play, and build our program with the goal of reducing stress for the babies through predictable forms, routines and relationships.
In a room designed to be calming to the young child’s senses, we plan our day to include focus on individual babies in caregiving relationships, believing that the tasks of daily life for an infant provide a natural time for the child to engage in what directly involves them. Thus our practice is to focus the child’s engagement with the process rather than just completing the task during: diapering, feeding, dressing, and preparing for nap.
We learn through observation and conversation with the parents, each child’s unique ways of communicating. We model the behavior we wish to teach, understanding that children learn through imitation. Gaining new skills can be frustrating, and so we allow the infants time to problem solve and avoid rushing in to rescue or fix things for them, within reasonable limits for safety and frustration.
The main task of the newborn is to learn to manage their bodies. Plenty of time is given to the babies to be on the floor, with a caregiver nearby, to learn to move and stretch, so important for building self-confidence and physical control. We do not interfere with these natural processes, leaving the babies free to develop at their own pace, trusting that they will move through the stages of growth to walking and climbing at their own speed. Challenging equipment is provided to meet their needs for physical development.
Toys are selected carefully based on their interest to babies, safety, and flexibility of form. WE also consider the toys ability to stimulate the child’s imagination but not overwhelm them with sensory experiences. We use natural materials when possible. The colors of the room have been selected for their soothing qualities. We use songs to mark our transitions so that the children learn to anticipate what is coming next.
Access to nature is an integral part of the program, as even young babies respond positively to being outside. Our play yard is created to support exploration in nature. Here they find new physical challenges (e.g. uneven ground, places to climb) and tactile sensory experiences (e.g. sand, grass, trees, bark, mud, water, rocks, snow). We spend time outside daily as weather permits.This integrated approach to caring for the young child, builds upon the latest research in brain development, attachment, and best practices for infant care. We believe in partnering with our families to provide a community devoted to the well being of the children in our care.