Four children standing in a line with colorful sunglasses on

In our classrooms at Children’s Place, we nurture the unique needs of every child. We recognize each child’s individual and cultural differences and aim to cultivate a sense of belonging for both the children we serve and their families.

We are all learners, and your child is our teacher. Each child brings something to our classrooms. There might be negative moments and there will be positive ones. Just as your child is learning about the world around them, we are learning about the world through their eyes, and we are grateful you chose us to share in this experience.

We have three distinct classrooms, organized by age.

  • Infant: children ages 6 weeks to 16 months.
  • Toddler: children ages 16 months to 33 months.
  • Preschool: children ages 33 months to the first day of Kindergarten.

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Infant Classroom

group of infants crawling over play blocks with colorful toys in their mouths

Infant Classroom Philosophy 

Relationships and secure attachments are the foundation for learning and development in infants. A child learns best in a warm, nurturing, safe, and respectful environment. 

At Children’s Place, we believe:

  • A child’s learning environment should be filled with meaningful interactions.
  • Infants develop on their own time at their own pace. We foster independence by letting them explore indoors and outdoors with all of their senses.  
  • Children are wonderfully unique. Our classroom activities and arrangements are designed for the developmental capabilities of each child’s different needs and interests. 
  • Families are the primary educators for their children. We form partnerships with families and keep them updated about their infant’s experience. 

Infant Daily Routine

At Children’s Place, we foster the individual needs of the children, which means following their cues and schedules. 

infant joyously smiling by a large toy

Each morning, a teacher and/or student aide greets caregivers and their infants as they arrive in the classroom. At pick up, a teacher and/or student aide greets caregivers and answers any questions about their child’s day.

Naps and bottle feeding happen throughout the day and are based on each child and their routines at home. Diapers are changed every 2 hours or as needed. We have an open-door policy which means caregivers are supported and encouraged to come in to nurse or bottle feed their child throughout the day if they choose to do so. 

Throughout the day children are allowed to free play in the classroom through floor exploration. We offer a wide array of manipulatives, toys, equipment, and natural items for infants to explore with all their senses. We also spend time in the large motor room to work on gross motor development. 

We take indoor campus walks and aim to allow time for outdoor exploration or walks daily. We read many books and sing many songs at any given time throughout the day. 

Meal Schedule: Children’s Place offers meals when your infant is ready.

9:00Morning snack
2:00Afternoon snack 


Toddler Classroom

Welcome to the Toddler Room

3 toddlers holding hands and exploring outside

In our toddler room, our main goals are:

  • to foster independence in everyday tasks,
  • to build and master communication skills, which helps us to grow and express our emotions and our classmates' emotions as well,
  • to build fine and gross motor skills, which help us gain independence in dressing, eating (with utensils!), and moving our bodies in new and challenging ways.

Toddler Room Philosophy 

We believe that: 

  • Building a partnership with each family is the best way to provide for each child’s individual needs.  We are here to be an ally as you navigate this new and fascinating time of your child’s growth and development.
  • Toddlers are inherently curious and being in nature is one of the best ways for them to explore and learn about the world around them. We aim to be outside every day in all kinds of weather so that children can learn to love every season we experience here. 

    Toddlers in a circle holding hands outside
  • Each child is unique and deserves to be seen for who they are and where they are at the time. We strive to guide each child in the self-help and social skills that they will be taking on and celebrate all the moments—big and small—that come with this age.
  • Sensory play is one of the best ways to explore. We strive to engage all your child’s senses throughout the day and know that despite our best efforts, getting messy will happen. 
  • Toddlers thrive on a schedule but also need flexibility. We have a typical daily schedule laid out. However, we like to keep things open-ended so that we can make choices based on the needs of the group each day. 

Toddler Daily Routine

7:30 - 9:00

Arrival and optional breakfast from home; free play opening activities

9:00 - 10:15

Clean up, morning snack, diapering

10:15 - 11:10

Outside play or campus walk 

11:10 - 11:15Music and/or story on tape
11:15 - 12:00Lunch
12:00 - 12:20Diapering, independent reading and limited choice play
12:20 - 2:45Nap/rest time, quiet activities
3:00 - 3:30

Afternoon snack

3:30 - 5:00Choice time, outside play, and departure

** This schedule varies with children’s individual needs**

  ** Diapering & toileting occur throughout the day. **

Preschool Classroom

group of preschoolers excitedly jumping off a short ledge into snow

Preschool Classroom Philosophy 

Our preschoolers transition from the toddler room at 33 months and are with us until they go to kindergarten. This wide range of ages creates opportunities for peer leadership and a variety of social interactions. Our preschool room strives to be play based and child centered. 

  • We believe children learn through play, so we provide ample time for child-led and open-ended free play. 
  • Rather than follow themes and units, we bring the child's interest into the room and the preschoolers explore in and play in the areas that interest them. In our preschool room, you will see plenty of blocks, books, manipulative toys, and open-ended art materials. 
Line of Preschoolers exploring a fern filled forest
  • We highly value nature play and time spent outdoors. We are fortunate enough to have many wonderful outdoor spaces here on the UMD campus to spend time playing in. We spend plenty of time playing in the rain, mud, snow, and sunshine. 
  • We want all our children to feel welcome, and safe, and have a sense of belonging. This extends to our families as well. We keep the lines of communication open and update families with plenty of photos, videos, and monthly newsletters.  

Preschool Daily Rhythm 

7:30 - 9:00Free play
9:00 - 9:30Snack
9:30 - 9:45Large group meeting
10:00 - 11:30Outside play/free play
11:30 - 12:00Lunch
12:15 - 12:30Nap story 
12:30 - 1:00Nap/rest time
1:00 - 3:00Nap/free play
3:00 - 3:30Snack
3:30 - 5:30Outside play/free play