Six months, to six years
Our enchanting POTA environment is designed specifically to draw out the potential of each individual, foster independence, creativity, success, and self-esteem.
Infant Program: 6 -14 Months
At POTA, we take pride in partnering with parents during their children’s first school experience. We provide an outstanding infant program where our teachers extend both the trust and support needed for our infants to explore, learn and grow. They graduate from tummy time to crawling and walking in a safe and engaging environment. Our infants enjoy color and light exploration, playing with mirrors, and musical story time. They handle and manipulate natural objects such as branches, pinecones, leaves, acorns, seashells, rocks, and flower petals.
Individual Care: Loving care and individualized attention are the cornerstone of our infant program. Our teachers are trained to see infants as individuals. They take the time to get to know each infant with their individual preferences.
Language Development: Our approach values and draws on the connections between language development, cognition, socialization and early literacy. Teachers can be seen talking with babies throughout diaper changes and describing their experiences throughout the day. We encourage our infants to handle books and listen to stories and songs.
Physical Development: Our tiniest friends interact with fabrics, textures and toys that attract the eye and motivate movement. Our infant climbing structures provide opportunities to develop the core strength and gross motor muscle groups required for proper development.
Sensory Art: Their imaginations are nurtured with opportunities to explore safe and developmentally appropriate art materials, where they first experience color, form, hue, line and shape. We engage our infants with safe and messy materials such as paint, clay and water.
Soothing Music: Our infants are introduced to music through an experiential hands on approach. They engage freely with various safe and noisy materials and are encouraged to engage with authentic musical instruments introduced to them by Mr. Owen as they learn about cause and effect.
Fostering Curiosity: Our friends are given the opportunity to observe and interact with the natural world, such as plants and flowers. We go on long walks around the neighborhood every day, to wave to the geese, breathe in the fresh air, and watch the Charles River flow!
Toddler Program: 15 Months - 2.8 Years
The children in our Toddler Program experience a fully hands-on early childhood learning program, where teachers provide them with a loving and nurturing environment, while simultaneously beginning to imbue greater sophistication into their curriculum. Our program is designed to harness the joy and excitement that accompanies turning two. Children develop language, increased attention span and greater physical capabilities in one fell swoop. POTA is there to provide the environment and program that matches and supports these newfound abilities. Our toddlers begin to engage in sensory experiences, create art, learn songs, have exposure to science experiments, and participate in block building and dramatic play in a deeper and more multifaceted manner.
Fostering Independence: At this age children naturally want to take agency over their lives. We foster this development by providing children with ample opportunities to make self-directed choices throughout the day. Our program helps children pursue and embrace greater autonomy and provides flexibility of choice. When toddlers make choices and take appropriate risks, they begin to find their individual voices. They are supported throughout the day to learn self-help and independence skills, such as using the bathroom and dressing and feeding themselves.
Emerging Language: Due to the consistent and intentional language our educators use, children naturally learn to integrate all parts of speech including nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs into their language development. Teachers intentionally expand their horizons by incorporating language that includes all parts of speech to describe what children do, see and feel. The toddlers’ capabilities continue to be fostered as they begin begin to take an interest in one another and are given language to support this new stage of development. They are surrounded by interesting, relevant, and thought-provoking materials that spark creativity and prompt them to develop a vocabulary with which to communicate, make comments, and ask questions.
Forming Relationships: Children are supported and challenged to begin noticing one another and engage with one another through materials and play. They are intentionally presented with opportunities to develop the soft-skills they need to succeed, like turn-taking and collaboration. Toddlers begin to move from parallel play to learning how to wait their turn.
Creative Art : Children are given the opportunity to deepen their arts expression through the repeated exposure of interesting art mediums and tools. Children learn how to use real tools to make their vision come to life. They are intentionally given the opportunity to work on group art projects where they need to collaborate as well as on individual work where they master independence.
Expanding Horizons: Our toddlers begin learning the rhythm of school and routines. They take more ownership over clean-up and their own belongings as well as communal classroom belongings. Children will naturally push boundaries at the age of 2. Teachers understand that this is an important part of self-discovery and are sure to imbue the children with confidence as they learn about themselves and the world around them.
Preschool Program: 3s and 4s
Our preschoolers are ready to reach new heights. They are beginning to form deeper bonds with their peers. They are developing ideas and expanding their understanding of the world through their experiences. Our program focuses on developing social skills, critical thinking skills, and pre-academic skills. Our preschool children grow and learn in a print and literacy rich environment, which has been thoughtfully designed to ignite their passion for reading, writing, and learning. Our individualized approach to literacy allows children to develop their language, literacy, and writing skills with an experience designed especially for them.
Play-based Academics: We introduce new and engaging manipulative activities that strengthen children’s fine motor skills, as well as foster creativity, independent thinking, color identification, and important pre-math skills such as sorting, classifying, and counting.
Literacy in Multiple Forms: Children develop at their own pace and teachers take great care to provide them with successful pre-academic experiences. Preschoolers “read” independently, listen to stories read aloud, participate in author studies, act out stories, create new endings for stories, and author their own stories. During story time, there is a special emphasis placed on communication, collaboration, and perspective taking, as well as building vocabulary, making predictions, sequencing events and drawing inferences. At POTA, we work on developing phonemic awareness critical to reading and writing, and provide many opportunities throughout the day to practice using this developing awareness to sound out and write words. Children use their own inventive spelling to write signs to describe their artwork or leaf creations. They write menus and welcome signs as they assume roles in our dramatic play corners.
Research And Observation: While these terms are technically skills that relate to the sciences, our children use them in all areas of classroom life to explore the difference between fact and opinion by honing in on the key skill of objective observation and, when relevant, the recording of data. The scientific method comes alive in our classrooms beginning with each child’s careful observations of their surroundings, which are documented by both the student and the teacher. Children regularly form hypotheses based on their observations and together with their teacher, begin planning the process of testing the validity of their hypotheses.
Self-Motivated Learning: Children are encouraged to think freely about what interests them and teachers help them to dive deep into a particular topic that is interesting to the class, a small group or an individual child. Children continue to develop the confidence that their ideas are worth exploring, and they are validated by a teacher’s partnership in helping them pursue their interests. Through the careful art of active listening, note-taking, and documentation, teachers’ help children expand knowledge and understanding of their passion by utilizing an inquiry-based approach in which they ask and model probing questions. Teachers co-construct learning with children by providing them with the skills and tools they need to explore and learn cultivating tremendous independence and self esteem.
Process Art: Children are provided with more complex art mediums and will often work on the same piece over time, deepening the experience and thought process behind the work. They are also strengthening their motor and graphomotor muscles through the use of smaller and more delicate tools.
Socialization: Preschool aged children, naturally seek out friendships. Teachers provide children with the opportunities to develop the skills required to collaborate, empathize and work productively with one another. Our children participate in many engaging group discussions. Sharing in a group discussion teaches children turn taking, perspective taking, listening skills, and communication skills. Our preschoolers are thrilled to have the opportunity to practice their expanding vocabulary by sharing their thoughts, ideas, and experiences with their peers and teachers.
Joy in Responsibility: Our classroom is set up thoughtfully to foster independence and responsibility. Children hang up their own coats, set the table and clean up after lunch, and clean up their own messes. They are expected to return toys and materials to their proper places when they are finished using them. Children are delighted and proud of the responsibility and trust we place in them.
TK / Kindergarten Program: 5 Year Olds
Our Kindergarten students have been moving on to the finest private and public schools in Cambridge and beyond. They leave us confident and well-rounded in their wide range of preparatory skills including physical, social, emotional and academic.