Missoula Baby School

What Our Families Are Saying

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About Our Educators

Q. Why did you become an Educator?

This line of work is what I was always meant to do. I used to be a lawyer, and when I dropped my kids off at their caregiver's homes, I often thought I would rather have their job! Now I do. I believe a child’s first caregivers are the most important teachers, giving children their first understanding of adults other than their family, and learning how to navigate the world as an individual. I want my Baby School graduates to have a foundational understanding that the world is a safe place with kind people. I think of my home as a safe place to explore and learn about the world outside of the world of their own home and primary caregivers.

Q. What's your favorite part about being an Educator?

Watching as toddlers become friends and seeing the joy on their faces in the morning when others arrive as well as having them dive into my arms in the morning. There is no better way to start your day.

Q. Do you have any special experience parents should know about?

I specialize in babies and toddlers (ages zero to two years). I chose this age range because it is a magical time of physical, emotional and social growth. Also, because they are pretty darn cute! I am certified in infant and toddler care through the State of Montana by taking a 60-hour course.
Missoula Baby School also utilizes American Sign Language to give infants and toddlers skills to communicate before they are verbal. Babies love being able to 'talk" with signs, and families are enchanted the first time their baby signs "I love you." or "friends."

Q. Anything else parents should know about you or your family?

Our family is me, Ella (age 12) and Finn (age 10). Ella and Finn share their spunk and energy with the babies when they aren't in school or hanging with friends. We also have two cats and Mercy, the labradoodle. Ziti, the cat, can often be found wandering around the playroom enjoying attention from gentle toddlers.


About Our School

Q. What's your early childhood education philosophy?

Missoula Baby School is inspired by Montessori, Reggio Emilia and RIE (Resources for Infant Educators). These approaches acknowledge that respect for the youngest children fosters social-emotional development and a life-long love of learning. I find that allowing infants and toddlers to explore their environment freely allows them to develop their self-confidence, and careful guidance and scaffolding allows them to learn a new skill or concept they might not otherwise learn on their own. I allow infants and toddlers to grow at their own pace and do not put infants or toddlers into situations that they could not get themselves into (such as helping them onto a chair or sitting an infant up); this develops a sense that they are capable tiny humans who can do things, not helpless babies. It also fosters increased attention span as learning a new skill takes concentration, focus, and resilience.

My philosophy also includes introducing infants and toddlers to mindfulness. We take time to breathe and walk with intention. I feel this helps the youngest toddlers manage their bodies in ways that develop self-confidence and self-control.

Q. What's your school set-up like?

My home is a single-family home, and the main floor is dedicated to my school. Infants nap in my kids' rooms (two per room), both equipped with video and sound monitoring equipment. We also have a primary playroom and a kitchen which we utilize for meals, art projects, and messy sensory bin projects. I have a partly-shaded outdoor play space that includes a small slide, a sandbox (covered when not in use), and a water table when weather permits. I also use a four-baby stroller to take walks around the neighborhood.

Q. What snacks & meals do you provide?

I participate in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program. For toddlers, I serve breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack. Infants are fed on demand until developmentally appropriate to move to a schedule.

I am passionate about local, healthy, and homemade food and take the time to make sure my kids, and the children I care for during the day, are fed a steady diet of goodness. I enjoy watching little eaters learn what they like and what they don't like. I also try to introduce them to new tastes and textures.

My food is organic whenever economically feasible, as local as possible. Mostly vegetarian. When meat is served, it is organic and/or humanely raised locally. I serve primarily whole grains (with few exceptions). My baked goods are without sugar or other processed sweeteners.

I feed toddlers fermented foods at least once a week including fermented fruits and vegetables for good intestinal health.

My philosophy is it give infants and toddlers a chance to try all kinds of foods. At feeding times, I utilize Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility in Feeding. When developmentally appropriate the children sit at a table with a chair designed for self-help and family style eating.

Q. Anything else parents should know?

I offer part-time care in terms of the number of days per week. Options include two days per week up to five days per week. Half days can be arranged but full day tuition is required.

I am closed for all federal holidays. I also follow the Missoula County Public School schedule for vacation days - meaning I do not work on days when the public schools are closed for a holiday or break. During the summer we take a two-week break; parents are notified of the dates a minimum of 30 days in advance.
At this time, I do not offer early or late hours.

About Our Parent Relationships

Q. How do you communicate with parents?

I generally speak with parents at drop off and pick up times about their child’s day. If I have a question that isn’t urgent during the day, I often text parents. If I have an urgent question or a child needs to be picked up due to illness, I telephone them. I also use Brightwheel which is a live feed of your child’s day. It includes caregiving tasks such as diaper changes and feedings but also sometimes includes videos or photos of your child’s day. Parents can choose how much or little they would like to see of this on their own app.

Q. What do you expect from me as a parent?

Parents and caregivers form an important relationship in the lives of infants and toddlers. Much of their day to daycare changes based on how they are feeling and it is important to have an open dialog with parents. I expect parents to allow time to talk in the morning about what to expect from their child that day. I also expect parents to conform some of their parenting to RIE-style parenting. This makes the transition from home to Missoula Baby School smooth and also allows the parents all of the benefits of the RIE philosophy at home. I have resources available for parents to borrow that help them use RIE parenting in their homes. I also expect parents to be familiar with the handbook and responsible for following it.

Q. Do you encourage visits from parents?

Our Handbook has specific guidelines for visiting but generally, parents are allowed to visit whenever they wish. Breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to come and breastfeed their baby any time if their job allows it.

When your child enrolls with Missoula Baby School, you’re gaining so much more than childcare, you’re becoming a MyVillage Family. Here are just some of the benefits of being a MyVillage Family:

Trusted Educators

All MyVillage Educators are trained, licensed, insured, CPR Certified, and offer high-quality care in a safe and nurturing environment.

Personalized Care

A small group setting in a family home environment results in natural socialization, development, and a personalized approach for your child.

Reliable

Our unique support system means that if your educator is sick, you won’t have to call in sick too.

Learning & Development

The MyVillage Education Experience encourages play-based learning and growth.