BLUEBELLS: Infants and Toddlers
(6 weeks – 3 years)
The sweet little Bluebell Cottage surrounded by flower beds and a natural playground with a picket fence is the home for our Infants and Toddlers (ages 6 weeks to 3 years old). This open-plan, post and beam building has space for the toddlers’ active play and a quiet cozy corner, a large table for art activities and eating together, and even a kitchen. We have separated off a portion of the cottage to provide a more protected area for the babies’ cribs and floor play.
Our littlest babies are cared for according to their own natural rhythms. They spend time in the arms of the teacher, who delights in smiling, talking, and singing with them. There is plenty of “floor time” on our cozy, warm rugs for gross motor development. Simple toys offer a chance for tiny hands to learn to grasp and throw.
As they mature, the mobile crawling infants tend to fit into a group rhythm of two naps a day, eating and playing together. A strong rhythm nurtures the infants, as it does all young children. These mobile babies love our simple sturdy wood structures for learning to pull-up, cruise, walk and even climb. Teachers engage the babies with lap games, doll play, songs and nursery rhymes. Time outdoors allows the infants to get fresh air, experience different textures of grass and sand, and move more freely.
As the older walking infants are ready, they can gradually participate in more of the offered activities, joining their toddler friends for meals at the table, circle games indoors, and more adventures outdoors on the playground.
The adventurous toddlers find an environment that invites them to climb, run, crawl, and jump, all under safe and supervised conditions. Their hands are busy with table setting, folding laundry and washing vegetables. Each day they enjoy a seasonal circle of song and movement specially designed for them. Artistic activities include coloring with beeswax crayons, various kinds of painting, play dough and simple crafts. The toddlers have plenty of free play time, indoors and out.
A Typical Bluebell Toddler Daily Rhythm
6:45 am Arrivals begin in Bluebell Cottage, Teacher-facilitated Free Play, An early breakfast from home may be eaten. Diapers/self-toileting/hand washing as needed. (Preschool children move up to Sunflower classroom at 8:00 am.)
8:30 am Circle Time: Movement, traditional/seasonal songs, verses.
Put away toys before circle. (The circle changes monthly.)
8:45 am Diapers/self-toileting/hand washing.
9:00 am Morning Snack: Blessing. Food is provided by the center; soup and bread are cooked by the preschool class.
• Monday: Rice, butter, tamari & sunflower seeds
• Tuesday: Oatmeal, butter, maple syrup & almonds (chopped)
• Wednesday: Home-baked bread, butter & cheese (Summer— crackers & sunflower butter)
• Thursday: Farm vegetable soup & bread (Summer— Fruit salad & cheese)
• Friday: Millet, butter, tamari, & sesame seeds
9:30 am Clean up: Table cleaning, sweeping,
9:45 am Free Play Indoors
10:00 am Artistic Activities: (Activity is repeated for several days or a week.)
• Crayon drawing
• Play-dough modeling
• Watercolor, tempera or finger painting
• Collage, cutting & pasting
• Special project or sensory activity
10:20 am Prepare for Outside: Put away toys. Diaper check. Dress for weather.
10:30 am Outdoor Time: Free play in the play yard. Wagons, sand toys, water play in summer. (Time is longer in summer, shorter in very cold winter.)
11;45 pm Return indoors: Take off outdoor clothes. Diapers/self-toileting/hand washing.
12:00 pm Lunch: Seasonal story with puppets/props. Blessing. Food is brought individually from home.
12:45 pm Prepare for Nap: Pack up lunch. Diaper check.
1:00 pm Rest Time: Lullabies, naps on mats.
2:30 pm Quiet Play (as children wake up): Books, puzzles, beads, dolls, crayons. Put away mats. Diapers/self-toileting/hand washing.
3:15 pm Gentle Awakening (for last children still napping).
3:30 pm Afternoon Snack: Hand washing. Nursery rhyme, song or finger play. Blessing. Food is brought from home.
4:00 pm Free Play Indoors or Outdoors. Diapers as needed. Put away toys.
5:30 pm Final good-byes: Close up.
Blessings we sing before our meals
Good Morning, Sun. Good Morning, Sun.
(Verse and gestures)
Earth who gives to us this food,
Sun who makes it ripe and good,
Dear Sun, dear Earth, by you we live,
Our loving thanks to you we give
(Spoken) We ask for a blessing on our day,
and for peace upon the Earth.
Blessings on our meal.
Lunch Blessing (Johnny Appleseed song)
Oh, the Lord is good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need,
The sun and the rain and the apple seed,
Oh the lord is good to me.
(Repeat with apple tree)
(Spoken) We ask for a blessing on our meal time, and for peace upon the Earth.
Blessings on our meal.
Blessings on the blossom,
Blessings on the fruit,
Blessings on the leaf and stem,
Blessings on the root.
(Spoken) May our meal be blessed.
Lullaby from Peter Pan (a favorite for rocking the babies)
Tender Shepherd, tender Shepherd,
Won't you guard my tender sheep:
One in the meadow,
Two in the garden,
Three in the nursery, fast asleep,
Fast asleep, fast asleep.