The Infant-Toddler Village

Our infant-toddler village consists of shared spaces for our zero-to-three year olds to play, eat, sleep, learn, engage, rest, collaborate, explore, and thrive. A free flow floor plan allows for children to learn from one another and move through environments that best meet their needs throughout the day.

Explore Our Space

Entryway and Kitchen
  • When you enter our school you will wall into a space designed just for our youngest children. The entryway and kitchen are gathering spaces for family connection and community.
  • Seeing children as whole people is at the heart of Our Neighborhood's work and from your very first step into our door you will see young children honored, respected, and invited to be a part of the world.
  • Each child has a space for their belongings. Documentation on the walls share children's learning and invite families to join with us as learners.
  • The entryway opens into the kitchen designed as a central gathering space for children to share meals and snack. Food offers us windows to learn about one another and connect school with home.
Infant Space
  • In our free flow Infant-Toddler Village we have one protected infant play space for our youngest children. Infants are just building their mental map of their environment so initially the infant room provides a safe space for our youngest learners.
  • In the first year of life infants develop what researchers call basic trust. Infants need consistent attuned responses from predictable caregivers to develop basic trust. Young children need to experience respect. This means we talk before we touch, move slowly and connect to solicit cooperation.
  • The biggest challenge of infancy is learning to move. We believe in natural and unrushed gross motor development. The infant space can be visited by our older friends but is maintained as a protected space for children who are not fully mobile to be on the floor and free to begin moving.
Three Indoor Play Spaces
  • We have three indoor play spaces. Multiple areas offers possibilities for groups and environments to meet children's diverse needs.
  • The smallest playspace neighbors the infant room and the entryway, serves as our library it provides for quiet play and small groups. It is often the first new space children add to their mental map as they grow more mobile and begin to travel out of the infant space.
  • Between the kitchen and the art studio our medium playspace is buzzing with light tables, loose parts, and a loft for climbing.
  • The large playspace at the end of the hall is furnished for young children to challenge their bodies and minds. We have blocks, climbing equipment, and diverse dramatic play materials.
Art Studio
  • The infant-toddler art studio invites children into the world of art from infancy. Not just drawing on paper with paint and crayons but also making playdough, exploring water, digging into clay, and playing with loose parts.
  • Children need time and space to mess about with materials before they are ready to create. For young children art is about the process of feeling, seeing, and tasting each medium. Once children deeply know a material they can then create.
  • The foundational messing about time is what makes creation possible but it is not a means to an end. Exploring art materials provides rich sensory experiences that balance and integrate young children's brains.

Continuity of Care

Our Neighborhood practices continuity of care which is a system of keeping children and teachers together for their first three years. Continuity of care is backed by child development research. In the early years relationships are the basis for safety which is a prerequisite to learning. We know it is best for children to build a secure attachment with their teacher so they can feel safe to explore and learn. Though keeping children and teachers together is logistically more complicated it is crucial to creating a high-quality environment.

We work to support children to build secure attachment, and whenever possible try to keep young children with their teachers and friends. We do this with an age in place model that allows children and teachers to stay in the classroom and the materials and furniture to change as they grow. 

The role of the infant-toddler teacher is not just to expand minds, create contexts for learning, introduce new ideas, and offer questions to drive learning deeper but also to be a secure relationship base. Through attuned responsive care children develop basic trust which provides the foundation brain pathways for relationships and learning.

Eighty percent of brain development happens before the age of three. The very best way for young children to learn is through play. If we believe that children learn through play then we must provide them with big blocks of time for uninterrupted play. In infancy we work to follow each child's individual needs for sleep, food, and space to play. As children get older they ease into a predictable schedule of regular meals, a mid afternoon nap, and periods of play inside and outside each day. Our goal is that young children are supported to follow their interests in our inquiry based emergency curriculum. Teachers offer children provocations to invite children's deeper thinking based on our observations of their interests.

You don't have to do this alone.

We know that parenting and teaching is challenging work. Part of the Our Neighborhood purpose is creating a space for a learning community. All caregivers are welcome to learn with us. Together we can transform the world for the next generation.