"The greatness of the human personality begins at the
hour of birth."
In the Bridges infant and toddler program, each child is nurtured as a unique individual, encouraged to explore in a beautiful, safe, and orderly space with materials carefully chosen for their educational purpose and sensory qualities. A critical opportunity for development, these first years of life are an extraordinary period of cognitive and emotional growth, brain development, and language acquisition. Our infant and toddler Montessori-trained teachers form close bonds with the children, nurturing language and body awareness development through freedom of movement and exploration. Under their care, the children establish a strong sense of security and autonomy, laying a foundation for lifelong learning.
Infants: 6 weeks – 18 months
From birth, babies are marvelous learners, immediately investigating the sights, sounds, and feel of the world. In our classrooms, each child develops a sense of being a separate, independent self, which comes from being treated as an important individual.
Our Montessori curriculum provides infants with a safe, rich world full of opportunities for active exploration and enjoyment through hearing, feeling, touching, and moving. Their world at Bridges is filled with responsive interactions and language: many conversations with others, books (for even the youngest babies), songs, and lots of listening and responding to their vocalizations.
Spanish, music including Music Together, baby sign language and early literacy activities enrich our infants’ daily experiences. Campus “field trips” in the baby buggy and time to explore their specially designed outdoor environment provide infants with a view of the real world via a fantastic array of sensory stimulation.
Our program is designed for comprehensive individual development at the child’s natural pace. Caring and learning are inseparable. Primary caregivers provide “on demand” care in an environment that maximizes mobility. A baby who feels safe also feels free to grow, move, and explore the surroundings. This provides an optimal opportunity to engage emerging physical, sensorial, perceptual, cognitive, and social skills.
Toddlers: 18 months – 3 years
At Bridges, we love the “No!” attitude of toddlers and twos. That’s because it’s an assertion of autonomy that leads to a “yes” to new development opportunities like increased body control and expression of feelings. Only when children feel a sense of personal power (“I can affect things”) are they ready to move to the next critical task of realizing a sense of competence (“I can achieve things”). This is an important step out into the wider world as active learners and problem-solvers. Through competence, children develop genuine confidence and a sense of who they are in the world.
Like all learning environments at Bridges, the Montessori-inspired space for toddlers is carefully planned to promote exploration, independence, order, and freedom of choice and movement. While it’s strategically organized with defined learning areas, it is open to allow plenty of room for social interaction and activities required for growth and development.
The toddler curriculum provides for both individual and group activities in the following areas: Read more…
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 toddlers learn about sharing and how to be considerate of others.
Aids to Independence — These exercises help the child gain independence and develop the powers of focus and concentration, along with fine and gross motor movement.
Manipulatives — Manipulative exercises are designed to facilitate hand-eye coordination, small muscle control, and spatial relationships.
Language — Toddlerhood is a sensitive period for language. The materials in the Bridges’ environment evoke a variety of words, while every experience throughout the day presents opportunities for children to incorporate new vocabulary. Children learn to use words and expand their growing vocabulary to express their feelings and needs. This is also the perfect time to provide a sequenced foundation of pre-reading skills. We present literacy activities during small group time as well as individual moments in comfy reading nooks, all to encourage a love of literature.
Peace — Peace lessons give toddlers the skills to work through anger and frustration in a positive way, while encouraging tolerance, cooperation, and respect for others.
Art and Garden — Toddlers experiment with many different art mediums and are encouraged to focus on the process, not the product. In our shady outdoor spaces that are a natural extension of the classroom, children can dig, rake, climb, and practice large muscle control. Outdoor environments allow freedom to explore and express.
Spanish and Music — Children acquire new languages most naturally at this age as all languages simply contribute to their word bank. During the infant and toddler phase of brain development, music is another “language” that stimulates mathematical ability and promotes vocabulary acquisition and speaking skills. From early exposure through our Music program, music appreciation and rhythm sense develop naturally.