Few Montessori programs plan to include an infant classroom because of costs related to child-teacher ratios. We encourage you to consider this class, not as a huge money maker, but as a way to engage parents and children in your school for the long-haul.
It is estimated that over 85% of mothers are in the workforce across America. Most make that decision to enter the workforce when they have a young baby. If you are a new Montessori school, you may want to consider capturing these babies at the earliest age since parents tend to stay where they start.
Parents looking at infant classrooms are researching safety,high quality stimulation, cleanliness, staff ratios, and of course, best price within reason. Consider all of these in your decisions for your infant classroom.
If you start with the youngest infant classroom you need to check with your state staffing requirements and evaluate cost ratios. We recommend that you consider a three-four to one ratio with this class. To come to the weekly rate, start with the caregivers salary and calculate what you will need to charge to cover her salary x two. If you are going to pay her $500 week, you will need to charge $250 week per infant to make even a small profit. Parents are willing to pay more for this quality!
Few programs can offer a dedicated space for only four infants. Therefore, I would encourage you to consider eight to a classroom with two or more caregivers, offering a four to one ratio.
It is very difficult to find a certified Montessori Infant teacher. They are few and far! Therefore, you may need to consider finding someone who is not certified but LOVES to work with babies. If this staff member works out you can consider finding a way to get them certified in the future. An untrained staff member is going to need your help or that of a consultant. These teachers MUST understand the importance of their duties and equip their classrooms in a high quality manner to provide the necessary balance of beauty and stimulation.
It is very important to create an environment that allows open space for the youngest child to move when they are awake. If you prepare this environment correctly, there will be little crying due to boredom, one of the primary problems in most daycare settings. They should love being there!
For sleeping, Montessori schools often consider floor cribs which you can purchase from Montessori Woods. But the most improtant consideration is not where the baby will sleep but is keeping the babies out of the crib when they are awake. They need to be out of their beds and on a clean, firm/soft, warm floor when they are awake so they can move and explore. Movement is key to good infant development! They need space to roll, crawl and pull up. Without this space, your program is not offering what it needs to offer to infants. Get them out of those seats, cribs and onto the floor! A good investment is the plush foam climbing groups that are often in traditional settings. They are easy to keep clean and are safe for crawling babies. Because infants are so oral, you will want to have a small bucket or container to hold individual chew toys. These need to be sanitized daily.
Equipping the youngest classroom, consider stimulation in textures, sounds, colors, and visual. Our consultants can offer you suggestions on these purchases.
Our infant/toddler furniture is child-sized and offers beautiful, safe birch wood furniture that will last forever. We would encourage your call to discuss your classroom needs.
See our list of beautiful Infant classroom furnishings.