Our infants and toddlers (ages 3-36 months) are cared for in small groups of 6-12 children.  A separate space within this area is set aside for infant care.  This accommodates the particular needs of very young babies who spend much of their time eating and sleeping before they become mobile.  Once a child is creeping or walking, there are large spaces for active exploration, areas for messy activities, and small, soft places for quiet reading, singing, pretend play, or one-on-one play with a teacher or friend.

Loving relationships are essential for high-quality infant care.

Loving relationships are essential for high-quality infant care.

Every infant has particular preferences, rituals and routines, but there’s one thing they all have in common: a need for consistent, responsive caregivers. At Gretchen’s House, we don’t try to make infants comply with a daily schedule that is convenient for teachers. Rather, we follow infant’s cues and allow them to eat and sleep on demand. Somewhere between three months and six months of age, most infants begin to develop a more predictable daily rhythm. We provide older infants with a smooth routine that balances active and quiet play, thereby reducing stressful and abrupt transitions.

Each infant has a primary caregiver who spends the most time with him or her, records activities on the daily log, and does most of the communicating with parents. Teachers in a room share care of all the children, however, so that all caregivers are a familiar, comforting presence to both children and adults.  The teacher-to-child ratio in our infant rooms is 1:4. For younger infants, we strive for 1:3 for much of the day.

Infant activities include tummy time, supported sitting, and free movement all with access to colorful, safe toys. We also do art and music activities such as finger painting, dancing, and musical instruments. Infants go outside every day, as do children in all our programs.

Infants have their own crib in an attended room. We practice Safe Sleep as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Cribs do not have bumper pads and infants are put on their backs to sleep in SleepSacs. Bedding is washed weekly or more frequently, as needed.

Diapers and Feeding
We use disposable diapers at the centers, but for families who use cloth diapers at home, we need to discuss proper arrangements with how the diapers will come and go from the center. Please talk with your child’s teacher regarding this process.

We are happy to feed your child your breastmilk at the center. You can read about our guidelines in the Infant Feeding Purple Page.

To learn more about how our programs target infant development, please click on the appropriate Active Learning Brochure below. Remember that milestones for each group are averages. The age group brochure above or below your child’s actual age may be more appropriate for your child and this is still perfectly normal development.