Hello Everyone and Happy New Year!
I hope you had a good holiday and are enjoying the beginning of a new decade with the children and families in your program!
Babies seem to be a big topic of interest this year. Matter of fact, a new film is coming out soon entitled “Babies.” It is a documentary chronicling the lives of four babies in different parts of the world – Mongolia, Namibia, San Francisco and Tokyo. I saw the previews, and the film promises to be really fascinating as the camera follows these little folks around documenting their daily life experiences in their respective cultures.
Some early childhood centers have added infant/toddler care to their programs. If you are thinking of adding an infant/toddler component to your program, consider the following questions:
- Is there a need for an infant/toddler program in your community? You might want to do a survey of the community and talk to community leaders before you begin a program for infants and toddlers.
- Do you have the space necessary for a quality infant/toddler program? Quality infant/toddler programs need space for indoor and outdoor play as well as for cribs, changing tables, high chairs and other types of equipment.
- Do you have the number of staff needed for an infant/toddler program? Most states require one caregiver for every 3 infants and for every 5 or 6 toddlers.
- Is the staff qualified to work with infants and toddlers? Infant /toddler teachers need specific education and training to meet the educational and emotional needs of very young children.
- Will the staff make a commitment to stay with the program for some period of time? Babies need continuity of care and do best when they are with the same caregivers for at least a year.
- Do you have administrators to supervise the program who have background and experience in working with infants and toddlers? Infant/toddler programs have their own unique demands and issues, and it is important that the supervisors understand what is needed to run a quality program.
- Do your staff members have the knowledge and experience needed to work with and provide resources for families of infants and toddlers? It is crucial that teachers and parents work together in a partnership to support the healthy growth and development of very young children.
- Will you have the resources needed to provide developmentally appropriate learning materials, books, large motor equipment and other things needed to run a quality infant/toddler program?
Have you been involved in developing and infant/toddler program at your center? What have some of the challenges been for you and your staff?