Family – Infant –Toddler (FIT) Program
For parents and caregivers* and their children
*Caregivers include family members, nannies, and helpers alike
Group A: Infants 0-6 months
Group B: Infants 6-9 months
Group C: Infants 9-12 months
Group D: Infants 12-18 months
Each class is grouped by 5-8 children of similar developmental stage, accompanied by one adult, meeting once a week— over a course of 6-8 weeks.
We are passionate about allowing children to discover what they can do, by exploring in an environment that is safe, nurturing, with developmentally appropriate challenges.
At the same time, we would also like to empower parents and caregivers to understand both the way their child responds, as well as the developmental milestones of their infants and toddlers—from areas of socio-emotional behavior, motor skills, as well as indicators of development in language and cognition.
Through this weekly session—a mix of short, structured group activities, carefully designed observation sessions, open discussions with families, and personalized guidance from early childhood professionals—the program facilitates a better understanding of your child, while allowing your child to develop and grow in a more “natural” environment.
What this is:
A weekly session that provides just the right amount of activities – structured enough to challenge the child, but not overstimulating to their sensitivities. (We don’t try to squeeze in a dozen activities that don’t allow for children to properly process their experiences)
Weekly topics that cover practical guide to caregiving and behavior support with children—from “how to play,” to intervening in conflict, to approaches to toilet learning, feeding and positive communication.
We support parents and caregivers to understand the basics of child development, through well-chosen and research-backed topics. We also provide suggestions on how to incorporate these into daily activities and in the home setting.
Structured in a way that gives the child freedom of choice to move and explore, the sessions allow for the child to experience both autonomy and secure attachment building.
Where will it take place?
Baumhaus has created a new, dedicated infant-toddler room with wooden play structures and natural, open-ended play implements. The wooden play area—a miniature version of our German-made treehouses—are designed by early childhood professionals, and specifically tailored to address the needs of a mobile infant/ young toddlers who need to learn to move independently—with little adult intervention as possible.
This is different from the foam-padded play areas. For one, the natural material allows children real feedback for the hands and feet, and engages muscles they need to flex, and allow children to move without adult assistance—thereby helping them discover how to move independently, make their own choices, and have confidence in their capabilities.
This play area and the other educational implements is for exclusive use of children in the FIT program.
How is our program different from other infant and toddler playgroups?
Our program is based on our understanding that the needs of infants and young toddlers are very different from school-aged children. This means we do NOT overstimulate children with too many activities; instead, we plan our activities around one or two key concepts, allowing a child to have the time to explore, focus, engage and enjoy the activity.
Because we understand the needs of this age group, we do not force children to participate in “performance-based” goals like “sitting still.” We know fully well that infants and toddlers need to move in order to develop strong bodies and integrated brains.
We provide a mix of guided observation (time to quietly understand how our children engage on their own and with others), AND time for structured activities that allow us to give age-appropriate challenges and opportunities for exploration for the child.
We provide guidance for parents and caregivers in terms of understanding developmental stages, and how to create environments and daily routines to support the development of key areas in children. We have key topics of discussion, thereby making each session a parent/ caregiver workshop on its own. This is perfect for families who would like their caregivers and helpers to learn skills of positive engagement with children.
We do not prescribe how a parent should raise their child; Instead, we provide parents and caregivers with an understanding of the child’s development, different approaches to handle these situations, and allow the adults to decide how best to adapt these progressive and positive approaches in their daily routines.
Our pedagogical foundations are grounded on the works of early years scholars. We draw inspiration from the works of Emmi Pikler, Magda Gerber, in promoting natural development and are inspired by established approaches like Montessori and Reggio Emilia, that have a progressive view of the child. Our teachers are trained in the Baumhaus way of communication, child care and respectful communication with children and families. Teachers are trained specifically to address developmental needs of children in the preschool years—with special understanding of the needs of infants and toddlers.
What Will You and Your Child Discover?
Observation and Understanding of your child,
while fostering attachment and bonding
in a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment.
How to foster Independence, courage and resilience
In Infants and young toddlers, through engagement
With appropriate play equipment
How to build Cooperation,
While learning key skills in
Conflict Resolution / Intervention
Using daily activities for infants and toddlers
To promote self-regulation Skills
Structuring activities and facilitating “play”
To address developmental needs
Building a positive language-based communication
with your child, and a secure sense of attachment,
and promote progressive ways of behavior management
Addressing Developmental Needs and
Understanding Age-Appropriate Expectations
(Physical, Cognitive, Language, Socio-Emotional, and Creative)
Creating appropriately-stimulating Home Environments
Finding a balance between scaffolding and observation,
In order to help nurture the creative child
1. How is Baumhaus FIT different from Kindermusik by Baumhaus?
Kindermusik by Baumhaus uses a more structured form of group activities within 45 minutes, to encourage families to participate and practice music-based learning. For Kindermusik, music is a tool for development, through research-backed activities like dances, percussion play, rhymes and stories, and games. While Kindermusik incorporates observation time and discussions on early childhood development, more time is given on teacher-facilitated but child-centered group activities.
Baumhaus FIT, on the other hand, builds on the observation part, and less on adult intervention. Because the class uses a structure of 1.5 hours in a small group setting, there is time for observation and discussion, allowing families to deepen their understanding of the principles of child development and rearing (which are tackled in small ways in the 45-minute Kindermusik class)
Baumhaus FIT would address the needs of two kinds of families: those who would like to look deeper into the discussions of development and behavior we observe in the Kindermusik classes, or those families who prefer less structured activities.
That said, both FIT and Kindermusik programs aim to form communities among families, and equally incorporate the same philosophies of respectful approaches and age-appropriate activities. Baumhaus programs will always put the child first, and be based on developmentally-appropriate expectations.
2. We are currently joining Kindermusik by Baumhaus. Are the philosophies different? Can I join both?
Baumhaus philosophies remain consistent among our programs, in terms of putting the interest of the child first, respecting the needs of the family, and empowering adults to be the best teachers for their children. The values remain the same, in terms of using developmentally appropriate activities, being respectful towards the socio-emotional needs of children, and being careful not to overstimulate the child.
The main difference is the format and focal aim between Baumhaus FIT and Kindermusik by Baumhaus. Baumhaus FIT focuses on a 1.5-hour session comprised of observation, guided interventions and discussions on child development, while Kindermuik by Baumhaus is a shorter, more condensed set of activities which exposes the children and the families to music-based language and tools in development.
It is possible to attend both programs. Baumhaus FIT can deepen the understanding of the concepts discussed in the Kindermusik class.
3. Why do we need to join a term of 6-8 weeks? Can we just drop-in?
Building secure attachments is an important component of your family’s earliest years. At the same time, children (and adults) take time to adapt to environments and routine. In order to build a community where families feel comfortable to share and learn, a regular meeting and routine is most encouraged. That way, we can build up on previous discussions, as well as move forward in the topics and themes together.
4. How do I know which level my child is at?
Our groups are based on approximate motor developmental stages. Group A are infants who are not yet mobile; Group B and C are more mobile, with the latter group being more inclined to crawl towards objects and people in order to stand up. Group D are toddlers who are taking their first steps, or are walking.
5. So, my child will change groups once s/he is moving differently?
As the children are grouped in similar motor developmental stages, we highly advise that the group—within whom the children have grown familiar with—grow together. This is possible, given that the children are in proximal stages of development.
6. My baby is 6 months old, and my friend’s baby is 11 months old. Can’t we be in the same group?
In the interest of safety, and also because we are tackling topics and issues related to certain stages of development unique to each age group, we will not be grouping babies of different motor stages in the same Baumhaus FIT class.
However, you may consider joining the Kindermusik by Baumhaus class, which accepts a wider range of children due to the nature of its content and structure.
7. If you believe that childhood is not a race, why start so young?
First, Baumhaus encourages families to join ONLY when they feel they (both adults and child) are ready. We believe that families should only join when they feel the activity benefits them at the stage they are at.
That said, there is a benefit to building a community of like-minded families, and learning age-appropriate aspects in infant and toddler development, together. We don’t run the classes in order to “fast-track” your child; we run the sessions in order to help share advice and knowledge on areas that would be currently relevant to your child’s stage, and empowering for you to know as a parent / caregiver.
For example, in managing toddler behavior, families would actually need to understand what motivates different kinds of behavior, before choosing a philosophy they would like to adapt, and then beginning to incorporate that language consistently from infancy. In this sense, we are here to share information, support in guidance and intervention, and then exchange feedback and observations in a group setting.
8. Do you only accept parents, or can my caregiver (relative/ nanny/ helper) attend with me child? How many adults can accompany the child?
Caregivers can be parents, relatives, nannies or helpers alike.
In the interest of the intimacy of the group, we would highly encourage only one consistent caregiver per child. If another caregiver would like to join, they may be permitted (with previous discussion with the facilitator) to observe at a distance.
9. I noticed the topics overlap. Why is this?
Domains of learning are consistent throughout early childhood—cognitive, motor, socio-emotional, linguistic—and learning takes place in an integrated manner. Therefore, many topics overlap stages of development.
At the same time, certain topics are consistent among all age groups, but are different for each stage. For example, literacy and language development would have the same core concepts and method, but the approach to each child at a different stage would be adjusted.
10. Is there a set lesson plan? What approach do you use?
Our facilitators have a curriculum guide and lesson plans based on philosophies that align with Baumhaus’ approach to early years. These are primarily inspired by the works of Emmi Pikler, Magda Gerber, and Maria Montessori.
That said, each session is tailored to the needs of the families involved. Therefore, even when we discuss on specific topic (i.e, Play), we may still touch on related topics (i.e. intervening in toddler conflicts and aggression during play).
11. Do we need to complete a previous stage, before joining an older age group?
No. The program is structured to meet you and your child where your family is at. Therefore, you are welcome to join the appropriate age group once you are ready.
12. Can we join once the term has started?
We highly advise that you join within the first 3 sessions of the term. Joining the group after the 3rd session may still be accepted, though we highly advise for you to join the next group, as building relationships and rapport within the community is a vital aspect of the program.
13. How is this different from a meet up or workshop
Meet ups are informal one-off discussions, with no set course curriculum that transitions between connected topics in early years education and care. Workshops generally tackle one age-specific topic, without a thorough follow-through/ observation of the children and the family’s progress on the topic within a series of weeks.
The Baumhaus FIT program is a structured hybrid between the info in a parenting guidance class, combined with actual observation of children within a social group, with interactions and discussions on specific age-group topics.
14. How is this different from a structured playgroup?
Because of the aims and philosophical underpinnings of the program, this program engages parents and caregivers in observing their children and discussing topics in infant and toddler education and care, helping deepen the awareness of their child (rather than push a series of activities without necessarily explaining its value in the broader context of infant and toddler development)
Infants 0-6 months, Term 1 - Day 3 & 4:
Greeting and circle time
Baby Massage (certified instructor by IAIM)
Discussion on reflexes, fine motor and natural gross motor development (Pikler) and the relationship of movement to brain development.
Guided Observation time (with Infant-Toddler Professional)
Feedback, Discussion / Q&A
Structured activity in relation to movement
Practical Application in daily activities/ home setting
Infants 12-18 months, Term 2 - Day 4:
Exploration in our developmentally-suited, gross motor play equipment
Discussion of Observations from Past Week – How have you applied Positive Communication and the concept of giving choices this week? Clarifications on the concept of “giving choices” – what language works best?
Observation with Open-Ended Play Implements
Intervention and the use of positive language by the facilitator
Key Lesson for Adults: Behavior Management-- How to set appropriate boundaries, and to follow through