Infant Toddler

from birth to 3 years

“A free to be me” nurturing environment where we know that every child is unique, every child is capable and every child is loved.”

Fun fact:

Did you know that the most crucial time in child development and learning is from birth to 5 years old?

And sometimes as parents we don’t always realize just how much our young children are learning and growing…mostly because it looks like they are “just playing.” When our youngest learners are playing with something as seemingly simple as blocks, they are discovering fundamental “building blocks” of math and science, as well as learning communication and social skills!

Compassionate social skills that promote emotional security are modeled by our educators as children learn to share, take turns, behave gently and make friendships. Trust and security are key to well-being and belonging through which students create and explore music and movement, drawing and painting language and literacy, as well as physical and social skills.

Self-expression, problem solving, gentle actions and emerging fine motor skills are just some of the ways our children learn to interact positively and inclusively in their world and with others.

Our youngest children at Willowstone Academy learn through play as they develop at their own pace, explore their world through sensory activities and build confidence through new activities. Indeed, play is the work of childhood and, like a garden, it really is the soil where all kinds of learning can grow. Perhaps as grown-ups we would do well to play a little more! All of our educators nurture a natural sense of wonder through story and song, sensory and free play experiences, and invitations to create with a variety of materials so children can discover and explore their world in a safe space at their own pace. Each day, children have outdoor experiences where they can run, jump and play as they imagine and discover our outdoor environment on climbers or play structures and surrounded by a natural habitat with a pond (home to a few resident turtles and an itinerant blue heron), trees and cattails and a myriad of birdsongs. It is like a little bit of heaven right in our own backyard.

Most importantly, relationships with families is the magic that allows our “Willowseeds” to flourish.

And supporting those transitions between school and home is so important for our littlest learners. Our teachers and caregivers take the time to get to know each family because we know that trust is essential for our children to grow and flourish. These relationships blossom with our attuned educators through caring interactions that acknowledge each child’s needs and feelings.

Supportive schedules minimize the worries that so often accompany a transition into care for children and families. Flexible and predictable schedules are designed to mirror home as closely as possible with calm transitions to support the social and emotional, linguistic, cognitive and physical development of the whole child. This tender and inclusive practice affirms each child and nurtures a deep belief in themselves and their unique capabilities. Every child is unique, and every child is an individual, and so our care for each child is inherently unique and individualized, which is important at every stage–but especially during these tender years. 

Registration Process for Infant-Toddler Programming

Willowstone Academy has the following registration protocols in regards to our Infant-Toddler program:

  • Children under 10 months of age will not be admitted.
  • Only 2 spaces are available for children between the ages of 10 to 18 months old.
  • As a practice, we will fill spaces as they become available no more than 6 months in advance.
  • Our program is in high demand and children are placed on a waitlist while waiting for a space to become available.

Please note: Our waitlist is fluid, and subject to numerous variables both on the part of families as their needs change and Willowstone as our ability to meet various needs changes.  Therefore, the waitlist is not necessarily addressed in a first-come-first-served basis, but based on the criteria above and our ability to meet the needs of each child in our programs.  As a result, at no point will families be informed of “where they are” on the waitlist.

At this time, Willowstone Academy is not accepting any new children on our Infant-Toddler waitlist.

Site Visit

When a space becomes available for a child, our Admissions Advisor will consult our waitlist and contact the parent/guardian of the next eligible child.  After an Interview with the Admissions Advisor, the family will be invited to Willowstone Academy for a Site Visit with the Infant-Toddler Team Lead, where the family can meet our Infant-Toddler team, ask questions about the program, etc.  This also allows our Infant-Toddler Team Lead to determine if we can meet the individual needs of the child.  The site visit will determine if a family is invited to register in the Infant-Toddler program.

Gradual Entry Transition period

In order to allow the best transition experience for both the child and our caregivers, Willowstone Academy implements a 4-week gradual entry transition period for every child starting in our Infant-Toddler room.

For a full-time (5 days per week) child, this may look like:

  • Week 1: 2 days (2-3 hours, each day) during busy time, not napping
  • Week 2: 3 days (2-3 hours, each day) during busy time, not napping
  • Week 3: 3 days  (5-6 hours, each day)  start napping on site
  • Week 4: 4 days (5-6 hours each day) napping on site
  • Week 5: full time

Parents/guardians will be required to pay the full monthly program fee during this gradual entry transition period.  For children on a part-time attendance schedule (ie. 2 or 3 days per week), the gradual entry transition period is slightly amended.

Transition into Preschool

Children will automatically transition into our Preschool and after-school daycare programs between the ages of 30 to 36 months.  Just as we gradually enter children into the Infant-Toddler program, children transitioning into our Preschool program will also experience a gradual entry transition period prior to full time enrollment in Preschool.

  • This transition period will include support with potty-training, as all children entering into our Preschool program must be potty-trained.
  • Parents/guardians can expect details on this gradual entry transition period from the Infant-Toddler Team Lead.
  • Please note: a $100 preschool registration fee will be charged the month before the child transitions into Preschool.