Infant Development - Theoretical Background:
Our work at Children First is informed by many years’ experience of infant and young child development
in the UK, Europe and the US. Relevant researchers and practitioners in the field include Maria
Montessori (1870 – 1952), John Bowlby (1907 – 1990), D.W. Winnicott (1896 – 1971), Wilfred R. Bion
(1897 – 1979), and Melanie Klein (1882 – 1960). Writings by these experts influence our staff team
priorities and practice.
Key workers are dedicated to the settling in process, giving individual attention to the new infant or
young child. Our team handling of group dynamics also help one and two year olds to enjoy games or toys
and to make friends. Sensitivity to their need for comfort is enabled by a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
A sense of purpose during each session in the day enables them to learn uninterruptedly.
Very young children in the nursery group have fun with specialist children’s equipment that maximizes
independence and thoughtful action. Our small groups ensure that each individual benefits. Montessori
activities from two years of age help transition into the pre-school groups where young children can
experience more structured learning.
A baby has already started to develop an ear for language during their first year – hearing intonation,
rhythm, particular sound combinations that become words, and building their instinctive sense of what
each language is. Key individuals at home and at pre-school will be formative influences in infant language
acquisition. Toddler vocabulary increases significantly from the ages of two to three so the languages
used by parents, caregivers and teachers is fundamentally important. Language also helps to moderate
aggression and channel negative feelings. Using words is a key aspect of good behaviour at Children First.
In multi-lingual Switzerland, many children are bi- or tri-lingual. It helps if different people at home
speak their native languages consistently. Parents and carers are a child’s first models for
communication, and we continue this work. 90% of our children speak English at home. Bi-lingual children
may develop language later, often one language becomes dominant. If you place your child in an English
environment and wish them to remain fluent, it is best to reinforce this by one adult at home using
English with them.
Young children who need naps tend to develop a regular rhythm of sleep while in the nursery, aided by our
daily routines for play, work and meals.
|As a young child grows, the world moves to include them rather than revolving around
them. The concept of a social group, a mini-community, is born in their minds.
|© Children First Association
Children First Association
Freiestrasse 175, 8032 Zürich
044 252 9121