THE S.M.I.L.E.S. ENVIRONMENT
The S.M.I.L.E.S. Environment at MindChamps Infant Care Singapore is an environment of engagement and security; of nurturing and exploration. It prepares the infant brain for optimal growth and anticipates the future development of the 3 Minds.
The acronym S.M.I.L.E.S. stands for: Sensory, Motor (Music and Movement), Intellectual, Linguistic, Emotional and Social.
It is a principle our infant care centres adopt which acknowledges that brains, in their formative stages, need all aspects of mind stimulated simultaneously – and that all activities (even the most mundane) contain the potential for providing experiences that engage all of the S.M.I.L.E.S. elements.
By constantly focusing on the creation of S.M.I.L.E.S. activities (or the expansion of existing ones to encompass the S.M.I.L.E.S. philosophy), the MindChamps Infant Care teacher or ‘educarer’ becomes a potent source of age-appropriate stimulation for a mind hungry for the building-blocks of intellect.
HOW THE S.M.I.L.E.S ENVIRONMENT WORKS
MindChamps’ S.M.I.L.E.S environment is one which focuses on experiential stimuli, social interaction, active engagement and individual exploration. Here, a team of dedicated infant educarers are trained to respond imaginatively as random opportunities arise through the following:
Young children from the infancy stages are experiential learners – they learn by experiencing things through their senses. This process builds the networks which.h will later support cognitive development. Exercises during infant care that stimulate the senses helps to build a strong foundation for future growth.
Motor skills are developed during infant care through repetitive actions which involve trial and error, and experimentation.
A S.M.I.L.E.S. environment in the infant care classroom encourages physical experimentation at all times, especially when activities that are specifically designed to nurture particular physical actions are carried out.
Intellectual development in infants relies on the connections that are formed in the brain and the extension of the neural networks within. Activities which help infants make connections between actions, sensory experiences, social, emotional and linguistic interactions help to lay strong foundations for life-long intellectual development.
Like everything else, infants learn language by experiencing it in all forms, as often as possible. The S.M.I.L.E.S. infant care curriculum stresses the inclusion of language experiences in every activity to give infants the experiences that will lead to mastery.
As they grow up, infants learn to make sense of their emotions by interacting with the people around them. After the immediate family, our infant care educarers are the very ones who spend a large amount of time with your child.
Thus, they are trained to use every opportunity within infant day care to nurture healthy emotional development in the infants under their care.
Healthy social development during infant day is a direct function of personal interactions.
For an infant to grow up with a balanced emotional capacity and the ability to control their impulses, the infant day care caregivers who interact with them should be aware of the developing emotions and be adept in diverting negative emotions into positive ones.
This process is part of every S.M.I.L.E.S. activity at MindChamps Infant Care.
Seize the Moment:
This involves identifying age-appropriate learning and nurturing opportunities that occur naturally during the care process (e.g., feeding time, changing diapers, putting a child to sleep, playing and reading).
A process which involves multi-modal, multi-sensory experiences that provide infants with diverse opportunities to learn and grow through interaction with the environment and the people around them.
Designated Care Spaces
The day-to-day care for infants typically takes place within a separate area at a MindChamps PreSchool centre, away from the older children. This is to ensure the safety of all infants while providing them the space to play, explore and discover.
Some of the key areas of our infant care include designated spaces such as:
- Sleeping area (comes with cots for younger infants and mattresses for older infants)
- Activity area with age-appropriate play materials for infants
- Food preparation area with a refrigerator to store baby food and expressed milk, sterilizer for milk bottles and a sink with running water
- Washing area for bath time