Infant and Toddler Program

Research tells us that 90% of brain development occurs in the first five years of life. These early years set the stage for your child’s future learning, social-emotional skills, and so much more. If you are the parent of an infant or toddler, you’ve seen firsthand how rapidly they grow and change. That’s why choosing the best learning environment is so important — to ensure your child will thrive in school and beyond.


Columbia Academy is a diverse and inclusive learning community brought together by the shared pursuit of an exceptional preschool experience, which starts with our youngest learners in our infant and toddler classrooms. We recognize that a child’s growth and development is strongly influenced by their environment and interactions with the people around them. And we know that parents want nothing more than to give their children the best of both.

Program Overview

Infants and toddlers are given responsive care throughout the school day. We implement research-based objectives for development and learning, provide a high level of individualized attention, and engage young minds through play. Young children experience a sense of security and stability through routines, and we work with each family to ensure the implementation of a seamless daily schedule.  
Personalized Approach

Personalized Approach

No two babies are the same, and we pride ourselves on getting to know each child’s unique strengths, interests, and needs. Our teachers and caregivers personalize their care to provide each child with meaningful experiences.

Hands-On Exploration

Sensory play and hands-on learning in a safe, opportunity-filled, responsive environment are the cornerstones of our infant and toddler program. As infants grow into toddlers, there is more open space to allow for their growing independence of movement, exploration, and creativity. 

Safety & Quality

Our infant and toddler classrooms are clean, safe, and age appropriate. Each room is thoughtfully organized to maximize each student’s learning and filled with engaging toys and learning materials. We also have designated playgrounds for infants and toddlers, and buggies for outdoor strolls. 

A Day in the Life

Wondering what your child’s day will look like at Columbia Academy? For our infants, we work closely with parents to ensure our caregivers follow the eating, playing, and sleeping schedule that works best for their family. Our toddlers follow a more structured schedule, but there is still room for variance to meet each child’s developmental needs. The following is a sample schedule from one of our toddler classrooms:

7:00 – 8:30

When students arrive they get to acclimate by enjoying a time of self-directed exploration, moving about our centers and expressing what they’re interested in for the day.

8:30 – 9:00

Young learners need fuel for the day, so a morning snack is enjoyed
promptly. Eating with peers is also an important opportunity for social/
emotional development.

9:00 – 9:15

Diaper changes and handwashing provide an important opportunity for teachers to connect with each student and teach them about health and hygiene.

9:15 – 9:30

Circle time starts with an engaging story, and may touch on pre-skills for
mathematics, science, technology, language, and literacy, depending on
the day.

9:30 – 10:00

Students enjoy a different special class each day, introducing them to the arts, physical
activity, language, and literacy.

10:45 – 10:15

Center time allows for additional self-directed exploration, and helps
students learn to work both independently and collaboratively with

10:15 – 10:30

Art and/or sensory exploration is a favorite activity for toddlers. During this time they can get messy, express their creativity, and develop fine motor skills.

10:30 – 11:00

Whenever weather permits, we head outside for play time on our age-
appropriate playgrounds. Students develop gross motor skills, as
well as social emotional skills.

11:00 – 11:15

When students return to their classrooms, we reacclimate with a diaper change and handwashing.

11:15 – 11:45

Music and movement time allows students to sing, dance, and explore a
variety of instruments.

11:45 – 12:00

Story time — the benefits of reading aloud to young children cannot be overstated.

12:00 – 12:30

Lunch is not only a time to take in adequate nutrition, it’s another
opportunity for students to connect with their peers and develop vital

12:30 – 12:45

Each student gets a new diaper and has help washing their hands after lunch.

12:45 – 1:00

An additional story time helps students wind down for afternoon rest.

1:00 – 3:00

Nap time is so important for infants and toddlers, as their bodies and brains need to rest and recharge, which maximizes their learning.

1:00 – 3:00

Nap time is so important for infants and toddlers, as their bodies and brains need to rest and recharge, which maximizes their learning.

3:00 – 3:15

As students wake from their naps, they have a diaper change and wash hands.

3:15 – 3:45

Afternoon snack is much anticipated, and provides the energy needed to finish the day strong.

3:45 – 4:15

Center time allows students to express what they are interested in learning for the afternoon and move freely throughout the classroom.

4:15 – 4:45

Students head outside for sunshine, fresh air, and free play.

4:45 – 5:00

This time is utilized as either story time or a music and movement lesson.

5:00 – 5:15

In preparation for dismissal, students are diapered and assisted with handwashing.

5:15 – 6:00

As students wait for their parents to pick them up, they are allowed to engage in self-directed play.

Why Do Parents Choose Columbia Academy?

Consistent Caregivers 

Our infants and toddlers remain with the same caregivers for the first two years of life, even as they progress to different rooms based on their age and stage of development. This builds trust and confidence between the teachers and our youngest learners. Our low student-to-teacher ratio (3:1) ensures that every child receives a high level of individual attention.

Research-Based Curriculum 

Our research-based curriculum allows teachers to nurture curiosity, create a language-rich environment, and help students feel secure through meaningful interactions. These build the foundation for future success in school and life.

Excellent Communication 

We have an easy-to-use app that allows parents to communicate with teachers, see pictures and videos of their children, send and receive emails, and view the weekly lesson plan. Every parent receives a daily report documenting diapering, feeding, and nap times, with additional notes about the day’s activities and overall progress.

Convenient Locations  

We offer four different preschool campuses, all located in suburban areas with easy access to major roadways. Our hours of operation are designed to meet the needs of busy parents across the Columbia, MD, area.

“My son has been at Columbia Academy for 1 year and 7 months and we love the program. He has been with the same teacher since he started at 6 weeks old —this was one of the reasons we chose Columbia Academy. We feel very comfortable with his teacher and all the teachers in the preschool, as we know he is receiving continuity of care, love, and a quality education. We love receiving updates and photos daily on how our son is progressing. We are so very happy we chose Columbia Academy as a place for our son to learn and grow.”

-Elias R.

Meet a Teacher

Ms. Terry Setree
  • 6.5 years of teaching experience
  • Infant/toddler certified
  • Preschool certified
  • Certified in medication administration

“My favorite activity is our daily circle time…I enjoy seeing the children’s laughter and smiles as we sing songs and read stories. As they get older, they start to sing with you, and it is such a joy! Each student has their own special trait. I also love working with the parents and explaining to them what we are doing in class so that they can acclimate at home if they choose.”

Come Visit Columbia Academy

If you’re interested in learning more about the infant and toddler program at Columbia Academy, please schedule a tour! We look forward to answering your questions and sharing more about the opportunities available to your child in our learning community.

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