Welcome to Homestar’s Infant Program!
Our loving, knowledgeable, dedicated staff conscientiously cares for up to eight children between the ages of eight weeks to eighteen months. We always have two staff members in our infant room, so there are never more than four infants to one teacher. We offer quality care in a safe, healthy, home-like environment. All of our teachers are highly trained in infant care. Not only are they required to complete infant training before becoming a lead teacher, they are also required nine hours of continuous training each year. In the infant, room we follow each child’s individual schedule to remain consistent with the child’s schedule at home. Through observation, learning your child's cues, and consistent parent/staff communication, we build a loving, joyful relationship with your child. This close relationship enables us to individualize personal care.
Homestar has an open door policy. This means that parents can visit their infant any time during the day, whether it’s a mother to breast feed her infant or simply Mom or Dad to play with their child at Homestar. We welcome a close relationship between the parents, infants and staff to create a family-like environment. We know that it optimizes the child’s care when there is communication, relationship and respect between the parents and staff.
To help communication between the infants and the teachers, not only do we pay close attention to their individual cues, we also teach the infants sign language. An infant has the ability to pick up sign language much sooner than verbal skills in their development. In this way it is much easier for an infant to communicate their needs to a teacher, whether it is simply asking for more food or for help in a task.
In conjunction with the Homestar philosophy towards nature, the infants spend much of the day outside, weather permitting. The infant program has a peaceful and lovely outdoor playground geared specifically towards the infants' developmental needs. Whether it be playing at the water table for the older infants, swinging, or simply laying under the great tree, we make sure that all of our infants get the experience in nature that they need.
Homestar Practices and Policy
- Health, safety, and positive parent relationships are top priorities
- Children are guided and supported in their social development
- Loving, respectful, responsive care by dedicated staff
- Play, self-discovery and self-expression are at the heart of the day
- Nutritious whole foods - positive eating experiences
- Age appropriate materials and activities/experiences
- Consistent practices among staff
- Outside play time, developing a relationship to nature
- Educational information and a parent support group
- Regular conferences/exchange of information
Caring for your child is serious business to us, at the same time, we want Homestar to be a home away from home as a playful, nurturing, safe environment. Your child will experience love, acceptance, respect, laughter, song, discovery and more. We dedicate ourselves to preserving the magic of childhood!
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7:30 am Infants begin to arrive
8:30 am Breakfast begins
• Begin diaper checks and changes
• Morning Naps
• Bottles given
• Various activities, experiences, interactions
• Outside time (when appropriate)
Lunch hour begins
• Begin diaper checks and changes
• Some wake from naps, some go down
• Afternoon bottles
• Playtime, activities, song, interactions
• Outside time (when appropriate)
5:30 Infant Room closes
Although there is a general, very flexible schedule, it is Homestar policy that our infant care practices are responsive to the rhythms and schedules of each individual child. We talk with you about your child and your approach to feeding and napping so we are as consistent as possible between home and Homestar.
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FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)
How often are diapers changed? We never let a child sit in a wet or soiled diaper. Diapers are changed as soon as needed. However we also have scheduled diaper changes every one and a half hours to two hours.
Do you allow cloth diapers? We do not allow cloth diapers in accordance with state regulation. All diapers must be disposable so that we can maintain a clean, sanitized environment.
Do you leave children to cry in their crib? We do not practice allowing children to cry in their cribs, however if is a parent’s wish that we allow a few minutes of cry time before nap we will follow the parents’ home routine as closely as possible, without any emotional distress to the child.
Do you hold the infants? Absolutely! We love our infants and want to show our love to them. We hold them, cuddle them, rock them and sing to them. This is a very caring environment – no child goes unloved here at Homestar.
Do you use any sort of discipline at Homestar? We believe in redirecting and never shaming a child. We never use harsh tones and try to avoid overuse of the word “No.” We do not believe in discipline but rather teaching natural consequences to an action. We prefer to show, lead, and help rather than tell.
What does it mean to transition into the infant room? When a family decides to start at Homestar we enter them into the program at a gradual pace. This allows for the infant and parents to get use to the environment and daily flow, as well as develop a close relationship to the teachers. We believe that it could be traumatic for both the infant and the parents to simply drop their child off all day long to an unfamiliar environment and unfamiliar people.
What a transition looks like:
- First day at Homestar: Both the child and parent/s stay in the infant room for about an hour and a half to simply be in the environment.
- Second day of Transition: The parents stay for about fifteen to twenty minutes and then leave their child at Homestar for roughly an hour and a half.
- Third day in the infant program: The parents drop off their child for about 3 hours.
- Fourth day at Homestar: The child is dropped off at Homestar for half a day.
- Fifth day of Transition: The child is able to stay for the whole day.
*Transitions may vary depending on the child. Some transitions take a longer time depending on the child’s disposition. A transition can be difficult if a parent is too anxious and not ready for their child to be in daycare, or if there is not consistency between the teacher and parent.
When does an infant transition into the Toddler Room? Depending on the child, we can transition the child into the Toddler Room as early as 15 months and as late as 18 months old. An infant must be sure on his/her feet and able to feed himself/herself. There is also the element of the child’s emotional readiness, which is determined by the teachers and parents.
How often do the infants go outside? As often as possible! We believe that children thrive in nature, so weather permitting, we are outside much of the day. The infant program has its own playground with a large tree in the middle for shade. We also take the infants on walks in the strollers.
Do parents bring food for their infant? Parents only need to bring breast milk and formula. Homestar provides all jar food, and once the child is on solid food we have an in house cook who provides breakfast, lunch and snack. All the food we provide is completely organic with no refined sugars.
What is the ratio of teachers to children?
The ratio is 1:4. Homestar is licensed for 8 infants and we have two caregivers. There are other staff available for help in the center should the teacher’s require assistance, so sometimes the ratio is lower.
What kind of training do you require of the staff?
Most of our staff come with previous experience or an education in early childhood education. When they start with us, they go through a few weeks of training alongside experienced Homestar teachers. All of the staff here are trained in CPR, First Aid, Universal Precautionss, which deals with health and sanitation. There is always a teacher with Medications Training. Homestar provides in house training for the Homestar philosophy and quality practices as well as weekly meetings with the director. Teachers also take classes and attend workshops.
How does my child transition into this new environment?
Homestar approaches caring for infants on a very individualized basis, because each infant has their own unique and individual schedule. We work really closely with the parents to provide each child with what they need.
We have a transition period, for two weeks before the child starts their regular schedule. This is designed to give the child and the parents a period of time to get to know how we do things and to begin to develop a relationship to the staff. A parent will come in with the child and spend some time in the infant room. They get to observe the staff practices and get a feel for the environment and at the same time the staff can get to know the child. The staff can get to know the child’s cues, and observe the parent with the child They can get to know how the child is held, soothed, spoken to, and the general feeling of care. We know that you as parents are giving us your child to care for, and this is a huge leap of trust. Our focus is to make sure that both the parent and child have a very positive beginning to the relationship and we know what a transition time it is for both the parents and the child. It can take from 4 to 6 weeks. We are here to acknowledge the child’s feelings, to support the parent in the letting go process and to help develop a relationship with Homestar for the family.
How can I reach Homestar during the time my child is at the center?
We have a phone line directly into the infant room so the parent can call any time during the day and ask how the child is doing, and the staff can also call the parents if we have any questions or concerns.
How much attention will my child receive? What will my child do during the day?
There is a prompt response to children’s needs, and the younger the baby is, of course, the more attention they require. There is a whole bonding experience that is happening with the children and the staff. If you come into Homestar it is easy to see how much love there is between the children and the teachers. Most of the time is spent in their routine care: eating, sleeping, holding, rocking. We work hard not to interrupt their bottle feeding time which is a time of bonding, and quiet, calm for them to eat and have a real experience of being nourished, in ways other than just the bottle. As they get older they will spend more time involved with the toys and materials and exploring with various age appropriate activities. We play music as an environmental background and we have musical instruments. We have water play, sensory experiences with a variety of materials. We take the children out doors in stroller rides to the park or in our back yard where they can spend time under our maple tree, or crawling around on our outdoor play area. They can listen to the birds, the wind, the leaves in the tree, and the sounds of the toddlers playing in the playground adjacent.
Is there a place I can leave my child’s clothing or special belongings?
Each child has their own personal possession basket, their own bed and sheets, blankets. Parents bring bottles labeled and made up for infants that are bottle feeding.
What will my child eat? What about breast feeding, can I come during the day?
We welcome breast feeding moms to come any time of the day. As children grow and change we work closely with the parents to monitor their eating habits. We supply organic Earth’s Best baby food and sometimes we make our own from fresh vegetables. We also supply organic, home made finger food for children who are eating solid food. Our cook works with the infant room to provide the children with the food they need. Our cook provides homemade, daily prepared, breakfast, lunch and snack. We work closely with the parents to come up with an eating plan.
What kind of schedule will my child have?
In our in-take interview with the parents, we cover your child’s routine and patterns of behaviors. You provide the input with how they eat and sleep, how they get soothed. This information we combine with our own observations to set up the the child’s schedule according do their current rhythms. We find sometimes children do well with a specific routine for their day. But some children are inconsistent and we work closely to create what you want for your child.
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