Children's Cottage Infant Center
6 weeks to 24 months
There has been an explosion of research over the past decade that shows how important the first few years of a child's life are in terms of brain development. A newborn at birth has most of the brain cells they will have for their entire life, but relatively little of the connections between them. What happens very very rapidly is that the brain is building connections. It is building synapses. A baby forms 700 new neural connections per second. This process of building the architecture of the brain is dramatically influenced by life experiences. It is not genetically hardwired. Our environment literally shapes the architecture of our brain in the first 5 years of life. Our mission is to provide young children with a safe and loving environment structured to create a future of lifetime learning.
Children's Cottage provides a safe, clean, beautiful, and stimulating space for your baby. There is one teacher to 3 or 4 infants in this program. Parents communicate every morning about any special needs their infants may have on each particular day. Loving and caring teachers give each infant lots of stimulation, attention, and time. We provide the baby wipes and you provide the diapers. Since infants may be sensitive or allergic to certain foods, you provide us with everything your infant will eat or drink. When they go into the next group, we will provide healthy snacks at mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
Program for Infant Toddler Care (PITC): Philosophy
Good infant care is neither baby-sitting nor preschool.
It is a special kind of care that resembles no other.
The Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) approach equates good care with trained infant/toddler care teachers who are preparing themselves and the environment so that infants can learn. For care to be good, it must explore ways to help infant/toddler care teachers get "in tune" with each infant they serve and learn from the individual infant what he or she needs, thinks, and feels.
We believe infant care should be based on relationship planning -- not lesson planning -- and should emphasize child-directed learning over adult-directed learning. Rather than detailing specific lessons for infant/toddler care teachers to conduct with infants, the PITC approach shows infant/toddler care teachers ways of helping infants learn the lessons that every infant comes into the world eager to learn.
The PITC philosophy also sees the setting for care as critical. Therefore, it helps infant/toddler care teachers design environments that ensure safety, offer infants appropriate developmental challenges, and promote optimum health for children. An equally important program component is the strengthening of the child's developing family and cultural identity by making meaningful connections between child care and the child's family and culture.
Six program policies anchor our work: primary care, small groups, continuity, individualized care, cultural responsiveness, and inclusion of children with special needs. These policies create a climate for care that reinforces our responsive, relationship based approach. They allow relationships to develop and deepen over time between infant/toddler care teachers and the children as well as between infant/toddler care teachers and the children's families.
Program for Infant Toddler Care (PITC): A Relationship-Based Curriculum
The goal of PITC is to help infant/toddler care teachers recognize the crucial importance of giving tender, loving care and assisting in the infants' intellectual development through an attentive reading of each child's cues. The PITC's videos, guides, and manuals are designed to help child care managers and infant/toddler care teachers become sensitive to infants' cues, connect with their family and culture, and develop responsive, relationship-based care. The training materials provide the foundation for a style of care in which infant/toddler care teachers study the infants in their care, reflect on and record information about the children's interests and skills, and search for ways to set the stage for the child's next learning encounters.