Montessori School of Durham's Infant Program (beginning in the 2023-24 school year) is an all-day program for children ages 3 months-15 months (based on their age as of September 1st). There will be an infant summer program available to enrolled students as well.
Schedule: Monday - Friday, 9:00am until pickup (3:00, 4:00, or 5:30pm) with Before School Care available from 7:45-9:00am.
The Infant Classroom or “Nido” is a warm, nurturing environment where each child is treated with care and respect, and a sense of an early community is built around this. Nido means “nest” in Italian, and Maria Montessori used this term to describe the Infant classroom as a safe place for babies to grow, learn, and reach new milestones while feeling loved and secure. Teachers work to establish strong relationships with the infants in their care and to communicate and collaborate with parents regarding their child’s development.
Montessori School of Durham’s infant teachers also incorporate the Resources for Infant Educarers - or RIE - philosophy. This method of working with infants, developed by Magda Gerber, puts respect for the child and acknowledgement that the child is a unique and complete human being, at the heart of its practice. The Montessori and RIE philosophies are compatible, and a child who has experienced the RIE approach in their first months and years will generally experience a smooth transition to the Montessori method in the toddler and preschool years.
The structure of the classroom time is flexible, allowing for each child’s needs as they develop. The infants eat, play, and rest according to their own schedules. Ample time is built into the schedule to allow for peaceful transitions throughout the day.
Both Montessori and RIE promote freedom of movement from birth and this encourages children to learn from their surroundings through physical exploration. Materials in the room support the development and refinement of gross and fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, concentration, and a sense of order. Furniture, including beds, stools, tables, and shelves are accessible to the children without the need for adult assistance. The teachers observe the children to understand their needs and communication style and create a language-rich environment through interactions and the introduction of materials. Emerging self-care and practical life skills are encouraged and expressions of independence are supported.