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SLOCA Welcomes Tiny Wonders!

March 22nd, 2018

{all photos by Carolyn Eicher}

"Babies are whole people -- sentient, aware, intuitive and communicative. They are natural learners, explorers, and scientists able to test hypotheses, solve problems and understand language and abstract ideas."

~ Janet Lansbury

Today’s post is written by our Early Childhood Director, Merideth Eades. Some of our readers may recognize this from the weekly update that SLOCA parents receive, but we are so excited about this program that we wanted to share the news with all of our readers! Here’s Merideth:

When Little Wonders opened its doors over six years ago, my son Sam was just a few months old. Due to a series of what later turned out to be fortunate events, I found myself cutting my maternity leave short and taking on the role of Early Childhood Director at SLOCA. My undergraduate work is in Early Childhood Education and I became excited to get back to my first love, preschoolers. However, as I prepared to take on this new role, I needed to find a place for Sam to receive care and attention while I was at SLOCA. This task proved to be extremely challenging, not to mention stressful. I was picky and kept thinking how wonderful it would be to have something at SLOCA. Fast forward several years. On February 12, 2018, with great enthusiasm and after months of preparation and hard work, Tiny Wonders opened its door. 

Tiny Wonders is an infant and toddler program that serves ages 0-24 months. It is located in one of our classrooms which has been revamped into a welcoming oasis for our littlest wonders. At this point, some of you may be asking yourself, "Why infant care at SLOCA?" How does this fit in with our mission to forge character, foster wisdom and nurture a lifelong passion for learning? First, we looked closely at our vision to invest in our staff because we value them as contributing members of our community. With the growing number of pregnant staff, combined with the scarcity of quality childcare, it became clear what we needed and wanted to do. Providing a place where their children could be close by and available at any time was key in our decision making. In addition, this was also a way we could serve our outside community. 

Next, all the research points to the fact that there is an incredible amount of development that happens between birth and age 3. At Tiny Wonders, the teachers aim to provide a nurturing environment that engages the hearts and minds of the children they have been entrusted with. Upon entering Tiny Wonders, the teachers begin working on establishing trust between the children and themselves. This is done by responding to their physical and emotional needs, which then creates bonds that develop the trust needed for infants to move forward into the next developmental stage. The teachers provide opportunities that gently challenge and encourage each child within their own stage of development. All of this adds to the child's growing knowledge of the world and develops their large and small motor skills and their language skills. This then sets a foundation for academic success, as well as aids in the shaping of their character. 

The response has been exciting and the flurry of preparation leading up to opening has been worth it as we welcome these precious children into our Tiny Wonders family. Creating a program that meets the needs of the individual child as well as provides support for the parent during those first years is a privilege. In addition, watching our staff drop off their children knowing they can come by at any time to check on them brings a smile to our faces. Stop by some time, we would love to talk with you about all that is going on in Tiny Wonders. 

Thanks for explaining this wonderful new program, Merideth – we are thrilled to have Tiny Wonders on our campus now!

Here are a few more precious photos from the Tiny Wonders classroom. (Don't you just want to hang out here with the babies?):