MCC INFANT PROGRAM: Infant Cove Room and Infant Sea Room
3 months to 18 months
The Montessori Children’s Center has been a national and international model for early learning and development. Since our founding offering one of the first full-time, year round Montessori programs for infants in the United States, the MCC Infant Program has been on the frontier of creating safe, responsive, and nurturing environments for the youngest age group.
Numerous studies have documented a correlation between physical development and cognitive development. The beautiful, sunlit, and spacious infant environments at MCC are custom-designed for infants, enabling a safe, inviting geography for exploration, growth, and development. Through the quality of respectful care, expressed by holding, feeding, and responsive communications, the infants acquire a strong, positive sense of self and develop their agency. Infants are encouraged to be active, inquisitive learners, with our sensitive adults always near to redirect exploration, assist, or gently comfort.
If you compare the MCC infant room with an infant room in a more traditional child care center setting, you’ll notice many differences. The room is designed to be soothing rather than stimulating. The stimulation comes from the materials and the different areas of the room, rather than colorful, brightly colored walls or furnishings in primary colors. Soothing, calming hues make the rooms feel warm and home-like. The furniture is natural and comforting. The space is well organized and uncluttered. There are areas for a child to explore independently, or sleep undisturbed by others — and plenty of time to do so! Children are cared for on their own schedule; they eat or sleep based on their own needs, rather than the schedule of the group.
A warm, nurturing, and loving atmosphere is essential to the infant’s optimal development. Although infants are small, they have tremendous mental abilities and are eager to use these. They have amazing physical abilities if given an appropriate setting. Within the safe confines the MCC environment, infants enjoy freedom of movement to discover and interact while developing gross motor skills such as grasping, reaching, standing, climbing, pulling, walking.
In the MCC Infant classroom, you can see how we have prepared a safe environment that allows for maximum exploration, freedom of movement, child directed learning, and expressions of agency. Infants learn by touching and responding to gentle touch, and by moving freely as they interact with their surroundings. Whether they are enthusiastically manipulating an interesting object, exploring different textures of material, delighting at seeing themselves in a mirror, scooting under a bridge, enjoying a book with a friend, or determinately climbing up the stair, infants grow and learn emotional and intellectual independence, perseverance, and agency through movement.
During these formative years, we never lose sight of the infant’s need for individual care and attention. Infants gather their first understanding of the world through their interactions and thrive in a bath of positive communication. Thus, language development is an integral part of the MCC Infant Program. Our teachers introduce language through words, inflection, tone, body language, language cards, reading, sign language, and singing. The vocabulary of objects, activity, and feelings pervades every aspect of our program.
Close communications between parents and teachers is a hallmark of our program. Parents know best their child’s routine, personality, and unique qualities. Our special phase in process helps to ensure the child feels secure during this first, important transition. We strive to maintain a constant dialogue and close relationship with every child’s family though daily conversation, daily reports, and regularly scheduled conferences. Parents are welcome to come to the infant room to nurse or bottle feed their child. Teachers are available to meet or talk with parents regarding any issue or concern. Our head teacher is a MACTE Montessori certified Infant and Toddler professional, and all assistants receive 15 professional development hours each year. All teachers are trained in first aid and infant CPR. Each has an in-depth understanding of the infant’s needs for physical, emotional, and cognitive development.
Montessori Infant teachers are trained in infant development, observation, and record keeping. Detailed observation notes–as well as photos of the child in action at MCC–are shared with the child’s parents throughout the year. Our teachers provide the respect, tenderness, warmth, and patience that allow each infant to blossom and to ensure a dedicated infant environment where parents feel positive and secure about their child’s early experience.