JOY OF LEARNING
Your child’s early years are a critical time for brain growth and for their overall development. That’s why we carefully choose and train our teachers and caregivers to help your child thrive in a safe, healthy and educationally enriching space.
Our Head of Training, Quality & Safety, Joan Orr, holds considerable academic qualifications and has decades of experience in the field of childcare. Joan develops our educational material exclusively for all our Opti-Baby & Kids centres.
We believe that the very early years are critical for the optimal brain growth and overall development and that your child deserves nurturing care and education to help him/her to flourish in a safe, healthy and educationally enriched environment.
To do this we keep our adult: child ratios low in the baby and toddler classes so that staff are able to provide individualised care and attention to each child which results in strong emotional attachments between child and staff.
We have a dedicated baby curriculum (ages 3 months to 12 months) through which staff do a variety of daily activities with each child. Over a five-day period, the curriculum covers fine motor activities, large motor and baby exercise activities, baby massage, looking at books, cognitive activities and sensory activities appropriate to the age, interest and development of your child. These provide the basic foundations for the other skills developed in the next 4 years.
Young toddlers (1-2-year olds) are new walkers and use these fast-improving motor skills to explore the world. This is a time when we help them learn how to live with others, begin sharing and become increasingly independent and competent with everyday tasks. In the toddler class there is an emphasis on talking to each child, looking at books, learning rhymes and songs and reading stories to improve their language. We provide many opportunities to improve movement (gross motor) and manipulative (fine-motor) skills through the child’s playful multi-sensory exploration of the environment.
The 2-5-year-old groups follow a weekly theme and play-based programme which covers all early learning developmental areas as recommended in the National birth to Four South African curriculum and these are done through activities enjoyed both indoors and outdoors. A common thread running through our preschool activities is giving the child the opportunity to develop the following 21st century skills which have been identified as crucial for coping with the future;
- critical thinking
The curriculum is implemented through activities such as art, music, movement, books and stories, science, maths, pre-coding and digital literacy activities, sensory play, fantasy play, block and other construction play. In addition, children receive weekly kinetics and music classes presented by external specialists in these fields.
An important aspect of the preschool programme is to help children to develop positive relationships with children and adults, to be able to self-regulate (the basis of self-discipline) and to conform to social norms, be empathetic and respectful to others, to be independent and to want to attempt new challenges.
- Babies: We keep our adult to baby ratios low (1:4) so that your baby can develop a secure emotional attachment to their caregiver. It also means our caregivers can give your child the individualised care and attention they need.
- 1-2 year-olds: 1:5
- 2-3 year-olds: 1:6
- 3-5 year-olds: 1 teacher and an assistant depending on the needs of the class
Your baby will enjoy a variety of daily activities suited to their personal needs and abilities. A week’s curriculum includes fine motor activities, large motor and babyrobic exercises, baby massage, looking at books, cognitive activities and sensory activities – all appropriate to your baby’s interests and developmental stage.
At this age, your child faces exciting challenges as they use their rapidly improving motor skills to move about and explore the world with abundant energy and enthusiasm. This is a time to learn how to get along with others, become independent and rapidly improve his or her language skills.
For this age group, we don’t follow a theme-based curriculum; this is because your young toddler is building their knowledge through playfully exploring his or her environment. Our curriculum for young toddlers focuses on socio-emotional and language competence, multi-sensory exploration and multiple gross-motor and fine-motor opportunities.
As recommended in the South African National ‘Birth to Four’ curriculum, we follow a weekly theme and play-based programme which covers all early learning developmental areas (wellbeing, identity and belonging, communication, mathematics, creativity and knowledge and understanding of the world).
Our themed activities extend across all developmental domains through art, music, movement, literature, science and maths. Our balanced, play-based daily programme helps your child develop the gross and fine motor physical skills they need to develop age-appropriate locomotor, stability and manipulative competence.
We encourage your toddler to form positive peer and adult relationships so that they become able to self-regulate and conform to social norms, to be empathetic and respectful to others and to tackle new challenges enthusiastically. Many of our activities help your child to develop the sensory, -perceptual and intellectual skills they need to learn and solve problems.
From chef classes to soccer, ballet, maths and computer lessons to ‘manners for minors’ – each Opti-Baby & Kids day-care centre has its own diverse mix of extracurricular activities.
At eight of our day-care centres, weekly Child Kinetics and Music classes are included in our fees:
Child Kinetics (2–5 year-olds)
Child kinetics is a scientifically-based movement programme focused on your child’s holistic development. The individualised, age-appropriate training encourages psychomotor, physical and neuro-motor development.
Music (babies–5 year-olds)
The music programme is about creating safe, enjoyable and motivating activities which encourage development. It improves perception, discrimination and sensory-motor skills in babies and children. During music time, children experience a sense of belonging as their social skills and communication skills improve.