The Nido (Infant)/Infant Community (Toddler) program accommodates the young children from around six weeks to walking to 24 months. Children use a variety of materials specially designed for the Montessori classroom to assist in the important work of developing language, fine motor and gross motor skills. A strong teacher-parent relationship is essential to the success of the Nido/Infant Community program. Daily informal communication, formal conferences and parent education are part of our ongoing commitment to enhance these relationships. The first three years of life are full of exuberant growth. Movement, language and personal independence mature more rapidly now than at any other time.
The word 'Nido' is derived from the Italian word meaning 'nest' and it conveys the spirit of the infant environment. The Nido community is the bridge between the home and school. We offer various sensorial experiences and developmental aides specificly for each individual childs stage of development. At this time we also introduces the weaning process. Weaning is the transition off of the bottle and onto drinking out of a small cup, as well as independence through self feeding. We start this process around 8 months all in preparation for the child to transition into the Infant Community. This is a very important part of every child's life and for each child, it should happen at a time and pace that is tailored specifically to their individual needs.
The toddlers work extensively on social skills. Thematerials aregraded by difficulty and adapt to the maturity of individual students. These tools bring about knowledge based on experience. Depending of his domain of skills and work as a result of strong observation by teachers make the transition from Nido to Infant Community Room. In this setting, the children come to feel the classroom is their own peaceful, special space where they play a meaningful role in their own care and the care of their environment. The classroom is carefully prepared to meet the unique needs of this age. All furniture is a size that allows maximum independence for the children and the toddler materials are designed to be attractive and inviting to the child. Areas of learning include large muscle movement and fine motor exercises for hand eye coordination.
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Practical Life in an Infant Community
Practical Life exercises such as pouring, sweeping, dusting, buttoning, zipping and table setting are introduced early, providing opportunities for children to care for themselves and their environment. Lessons of grace and courtesy are practiced daily to help the children learn to be considerate of others and function successfully in a social setting.
Our Nido (Infant)/Infant Community (Toddler) staff knows that each child is a special individual, full of potential. The child's experiences away from home are carefully constructed, children are nurtured and empowered. Classrooms are inviting; materials are appropriately stimulating. Movement is encouraged; meaningful, ordered activities satisfy developmental needs. Our trained Montessori staff uses richly expressive language to accompany later with every action to create an environment in which the children thrive. Under Title 22 in California the state mandates that there be a strict 4:1 (1 teacher for every 4 children) ratio at all times. At St. Mary’s we keep to a 3:1 (1 teacher for every 3 children) ratio to ensure that your child is getting always receiving the most supervision and quality of care possible.
Baby Sign Language
In both the Nido and Infant Community the teachers incorporate Baby Sign Language. When babies can’t communicate constructively they get frustrated, leading to tantrums and meltdowns. Everyone has experienced the feeling of helplessness, trying to bring comfort an inconsolable baby, guessing at what they want. Baby Sign Language lets your baby communicate what they want. In both communities we offer a monthly sign language curriculum that teaches the children basic sign language commands such as “want” and “eat” in our Nido Community and more complex signs such as colors and commands in our Infant Community.
Baby Yoga creates balance between strength and flexibility in developing bodies, so that children grow strong and maintain the flexibility they are born with. With just a few simple poses after waking up your child will feel more relaxed and ready to start the next part of his or her day.