The more we do, the busier we are, the less we really pay attention. -Magda Gerber
Environment is the Third Teacher
We believe that a child's environment plays a crucial role in his learning. Through interaction with their environment, children construct meaning from their experiences. We provide space and time for children to learn and grow. Portland Baby School is inspired by the principles of Resources for Infant Educarers, the infant toddler schools of Reggio-Emilia, and the work of Emmi Pikler.
We do not place children into any physical position they can't get themselves into. They will roll, sit, crawl, and walk in their own time and without assistance. When they reach these milestones, they will do so with confidence and joy. Toys, books, and furniture are provided with young children's development in mind, encouraging motor, cognitive, emotional, and social development.
We maintain an atmosphere of respect for babies. Through talking to them and performing routine tasks with them rather than to them, we communicate to infants that they are competent and valued. We are calm and unhurried in our interactions.
Portland Baby School students wear clothing that is free from distraction and suits their level of physical development.
Babies learning to roll over or sit up wear short sleeves to provide maximum contact between arms, elbows, and the floor; crawling babies wear bodysuits that do not cover the knees or elbows. This gives the children the opportunity to explore the mechanics of their bodies without restriction. Crawling babies get caught in their clothes as they crawl. Pants drag them back, twisting and sliding as babies try to perfect new movements.
As babies learn to walk and stand, their feet need access to the ground as their toes grip the floor and they learn how to steady their bodies. Socks bunch up and make the floor slippery; shoes immobilize the foot. Instead, students wear clothing that supports a baby's active lifestyle.
We change the environment to meet the needs of the children; we do not expect the children to fit into the environment. The temperature in the school is kept warm enough to ensure that babies are comfortable as they work hard exploring their bodies.
Portland Baby School provides education and coaching for parents and babies in Portland, Oregon because a good start lasts a lifetime.