Our Infant program is based on the philosophies and principles of Maria Montessori, which date back to the early 1900s. The program supports both younger and older infants in a peaceful, nurturing environment designed to support the growth and development of the whole child. We call our infant classroom “Nido” from the Italian word “nest” and is meant to convey the warmth and security of a home environment.
We welcome infants beginning at six weeks of age through 18 months, safely structuring their surroundings to accommodate infants that are non-mobile, as well as those who are beginning to walk.
A child’s early learning is geared toward order, language, movement, and independence. TMA supports that development through a variety of methods such as sensorial exploration, reading, signing, and a dialogue of gentle tones with their caregiver.
The school day begins at 8:30 am and ends at 3:30 pm with Extended Day options available from 7:30–8:30 am and 3:30–4:30 pm. Our maximum group size is 8 students with 1 credentialed teacher and 2 teacher assistants.
Some young children may not be ready, emotionally, developmentally, or otherwise, to participate effectively and successfully in our program. To provide the best environment for children, we consider the first three weeks of enrollment in the Infant program as a trial basis.
Infants reach a developmental stage where they have an inner need to climb; they will start climbing everything they can. Instead of forbidding this action completely, we can provide an appropriate and safe way to do it. The Pikler triangle satisfies a child’s natural need to climb, helps develop gross motor skills and coordination, physical strength and agility, and encourages freedom of movement.
These two students were both working with the rings and posts activity. This material can aid in hand-eye coordination, fine motor development, and concentration. As they both work independently, they observe each other and learn from the other’s movements. Parallel play is a common occurrence in the infant classroom and more social than it seems. They learn how to work on their own while still cooperating in their community and respecting others’ space.
Imbucare, an Italian word which means “to put inside,” was used by Maria Montessori to label works with that action in mind. These works foster hand-eye coordination, concentration, and refine an infant’s developing fine motor skills. Look at that focus!
In the Nido, we use books with either high-contrast images to attract a child’s developing eyesight or with realistic photos. Children are not able to discern fantasy from reality until about age 6, so we recommend using realistic images and concepts in books in the earliest years. Here, this child looks at different photos of children animals while forming understanding of them that he can relate to real life.
Infant Mixed Age Classroom
Mixed age classrooms are a main tenant in Montessori education. Infant and Toddler classrooms have an 18-month range rather than a 3-year range seen in Early Childhood and Elementary classrooms because of the dramatic developments that happen in the first 3 years of life. However, the same benefits seen in the older classrooms still apply in the Infant class.