Toddler Room Welcome!
Homestar knows that toddlerhood is an incredibly important time in your child’s development. It is a time when language, social, cognitive and physical skills are growing at an exponential rate. Toddlers are constantly learning and they use all of their senses to explore the world around them. Our teachers help to encourage their curiosity by providing a safe, loving and active learning environment.
We teach through what children do best: Play! By combining planned activities and open-ended experiences, toddlers are allowed to move at their own pace and learn through discovery. What better way is there to understand what slimy and sticky feels like then to play with homemade goo? Toddlers love to get messy and so do we! Children spend time playing at the sand and water tables, conducting science experiments, running toy cars through shaving cream, and painting with just about anything other than a paintbrush. Our toddlers dance, sing, stack, fill, pour, talk, read, rest, and laugh. Your child will enjoy participation in small and large group activities, as well as explore and follow their own interests in a fun and safe way.
By keeping our ratios low, we are able to provide each child with one-on-one attention daily. We get to know and love each one of the children in our care and pride ourselves on the strong relationships we create with our families.
We spend a lot of time outside. Our large toddler play-yard is stocked with lots of toys, slides and a sandbox. Encouraging a relationship to nature is part of what makes Homestar unique and that philosophy is ardently practiced in the toddler room. In the warmer months most of our planned curriculum is adapted for the outside and many days you will find us out exploring the neighborhood around the school.
More on the toddler program:
- Health, safety, and positive parent relationships are priorities
- Children are guided and supported in their social development
- Loving, respectful, responsive care by dedicated staff
- Play, self-discovery and self-expression are encouraged
- Nutritious whole foods and positive eating experiences
- Age appropriate materials and experiences
- Consistent practices among staff
- Educational information and a parent support group specifically for toddler parents
- Regular conferences and exchanges of information
We want Homestar to serve as a home away from home: a playful, nurturing and safe environment. Your child will experience love, acceptance, respect, laughter, song, discovery and more here. Most importantly, we never forget that childhood should be fun.
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Toddlers and Nature
Encouraging a relationship to nature is part of what makes Homestar unique, and that philosophy is ardently practiced in the toddler room. We spend time outside everyday. Our large toddler play-yard is stocked with lots of toys, slides and a sandbox. All of our play equipment is developmentally appropriate so you can feel safe knowing that your child is able to experiment with movement without endangering himself. In the warmer months most of our planned curriculum is adapted for the outside and many days you will find us out exploring the neighborhood around the school. Little red wagons carry our toddlers to and from Martin Park and to the stream to explore what lives there. Turning over a log while on a nature walk can yield wonders that have elicited yelps of surprise from many toddlers. And, although grownups may no longer find the changes of the seasons a wonder, falling leaves and snow never fail to amaze our young ones.
In fact, we believe that a direct relationship to nature is not only advantageous, but essential to a child’s well-being. The sensory experiences nature has to offer cannot be found inside a classroom. How do you know if tree bark is rough or soft? Or how cold stream water is? Or even what noise a squirrel makes when it runs along a tree branch? You have to experience it firsthand. That ís what we try to present the children in our care with everyday. In addition, shapes and colors can be seen in their truest form once you venture beyond the school’s doors.
Much of what children learn stems from their natural curiosity in the world around them. We believe that as caregivers we have a duty to foster a lasting love and respect for the natural environment in every child. At Homestar we strive to do this everyday.
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While we do have a daily schedule in the toddler program, we also do our best to accommodate individual needs. We try to remain consistent without becoming too stringent. Our goal is to build the groundwork for healthy routines and schedules later on in life.
Every day, we incorporate all facets of your child’s development. Social, cognitive, language and motor skills are all a part of daily life at Homestar. Your child will sing, dance, paint, talk and cuddle everyday. But, we also understand the benefits of free-play and its purpose in a toddler’s life. If our days were too scheduled, we wouldn’t have time to explore, be spontaneous or nurture curiosity.
The following is what we like to call our Daily Flow, for its routine and its flexibility:
Children begin arriving: Welcome and group integration activities
Goodbye Mom and Dad
• Breakfast preparation/transition
• Diaper Check
• Hand-washing/Put on bibs
• Calming behavior and activities
• Breakfast – Hand-holding, songs, settling down and eating
• Self help: clean up practice
Transition into two groups
9:30 - 10:00
• Prepared activities and children's choice (free-play)
• Discovery, sensory experiences, music and movement, etc.
Milk break (inside or outside)
Outside Time and/or planned activities
11:15 – 12:00
Lunch Preparation and lunch Time
• Children Choose their activities - Quiet time before nap
• Read books, cuddles, sing soft songs
12:30 - 3:00
Nap and post nap activities: reading, storytelling, and manipulatives
3:00 - 3:30
3:30 - 5:00
Children play outside or inside: free choice or teacher directed
Day end preparation
Children get ready for Mom and Dad
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FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the Homestar procedure for enrolling a new child?
After you have taken a tour of Homestar and decided that you would like your child to enroll, we will do our best to find you a space that fits your schedule. We will then set up an Intake Interview between the Toddler Director and you to explain our policies and also to get a better idea of what your child likes, dislikes, what will comfort him/her, eating habits and so forth. We will send you home with paperwork that will need to be returned on your child’s first day in the program.
We will not start a child in the Toddler Program without an adequate transition. From experience we have learned that children adapt better to a new environment if they are introduced to it slowly. The first day your child comes to Homestar, we may even ask you to stay and visit while your child gets to know his teachers and explores the rooms. For this reason, plan on two weeks of partial days before your child is fully enrolled. We can work this schedule out with you in advance for your convenience.
What are the ratios of teachers to children in your program?
In the Toddler room, each teacher cares for no more than five children on any given day. However, we never have more then ten children and always schedule two teachers. Also, because of the large playground area and three separate rooms that make up the toddler program, the children are often split into two groups during the day so that they can have more personalized attention from their caregiver.
My child still uses a bottle, is that a problem in the toddler room?
Because of state regulations and safety concerns, bottles are not allowed in the toddler program after thirty days. We do give the children frequent milk breaks (from sippy cups) and offer water throughout the day.
My child does not nap. How will you get him to sleep?
We hear this a lot. Many parents are concerned that their child will not sleep while at Homestar, but we rarely have a problem with children sleeping. The children in our care are stimulated by our planned activities and outside time. They are usually very sleepy by naptime. We have quiet time before nap, which allows for the children to settle down. We then lie with each child on his/her own nap-bed and sing songs, read books, rub backs or rock every child according to his/her own needs. However if a child still does not need or want to nap, we do not force sleep or ever punish children for not sleeping.
Do you potty train in the toddler room?
Yes. Homestar’s policy on potty-training is to encourage children to use the potty if they show interest. Children do not have to be potty-trained to enter the program. We will work with you to provide consistent potty-training and our teachers are very knowledgeable about the best methods. When we notice your child is beginning to show interest in the potty or if you want to begin training, we can set up a meeting with you to talk about how we can work together to make this time fun and easy for you and your child.
I only want a part-time schedule, will that be possible?
We offer 5, 4, 3 or 2 day weeks. However, we do not offer partial days at this time. Let the Toddler Director know what schedule will best fit your needs and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Tell me about your staff.
We know that consistency is very important to a child’s well-being. We provide our teachers with competitive benefits and salaries which we feel helps to maintain a strong staff with minimal turnover. Most of our teachers have been at Homestar for at least three years, some more than ten. Our teachers come from all over the country and every walk of life, bringing with them their own unique experiences and interests. Homestar counts itself as fortunate to have staff that works as well collectively as it does individually to create the most nurturing atmosphere for the children in our care. We all have a love for children that has inspires us everyday.
CPR and First Aid training is required of every staff member and is renewed annually. In addition, we all attend regular workshops and seminars to further our knowledge of children and their development. Every teacher at Homestar is required to complete nine hours of continuing education in the field of Early Childhood Development every year as well as attend weekly staff meetings geared toward the enhancement of our curriculum and communication .
When can I come for a tour?
We love to show off our school! Call anytime to schedule a tour.
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