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3 months to 18 months

Arrival and Departure

Arrivals and departures involve the rituals that set the tone for the child’s away-from-home experience. At arrival time, warm, leisurely greetings from our staff help assure infants that even though their parents must leave, they are in the hands of trustworthy people who will respect them and keep them safe until their parents return.

Our teachers help children separate by encouraging parents to establish a daily morning ritual for their children to depend on. At departure time, the teachers’ pleasant, friendly good-byes and warm wishes for return allow children to reunite with their parents. They are relieved to see their parents and, at the same time, know that the adults saying good-bye care about them, and they feel comfortable with returning to the center the next day.


Feeding and Mealtime

Babies’ feedings go beyond fulfilling a basic need for nourishing food. For infants, these times provide close physical contact with an attentive adult. When a young infant’s cries of hunger are met with a full bottle and the comforting arms of a teacher, that child can grow and thrive because he or she learns to trust the world as a place where people recognize and respond to an infant’s needs. Mealtime is a time to eat and explore new tastes, smells, and textures and try out self-feeding with fingers, a spoon, and/or a cup.

Bodily Care

For infants, the brief routines of bodily care diaper changes, dressing, and washing occur frequently and regularly throughout the day. This means whenever children are wet or soiled, before and/or after eating and napping, every hour or so, depending on the age.


Naptime in an infant program occurs both on demand, and when children tire. Naps provide the sleep and rest necessary for children’s growth and development.

Small Group Time

Small Group Time is a sustained block of time when infants can investigate and explore materials and actions and interact with their peers and caregivers. In a supportive and safe environment that affords interesting materials, opportunities, and space to move in several ways, each child chooses what to do based on personal interests, inclinations, and level of development and ability. Small Group Time provides children with an uninterrupted period of exploration and play.

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