My Baby’s First Teacher is an educational curriculum designed to teach the importance of the role of a primary caregiver during the first year of life. The course provides new mothers, or others caring for very young children, skills and information related to infant brain development. If practiced, these skills will enhance caregiver/child bonding. This early bonding will create a foundation with an infant that the caregiver can build on to create a positive connection to last throughout the child’s life. This course is specifically designed for an at risk population.
By helping mothers or other primary caregivers to see themselves as `teachers’, we are helping them to understand the important role they play in shaping the infant’s early brain development. Knowledge, experience and attitude towards learning takes place during the important first year of life and these have broad implications for later life success.
This course will strengthen the caregiver/infant bond by providing an understanding of current brain development research as relates to infant experience. Through observing other mothers in videotaped lessons, receiving quality toys and parenting accessories, and practicing new behaviors within a group setting of their peers, caregivers have shown to increase their attention to their baby’s development and begin to understand these simple activities as important to their baby’s future. The primary goal of this program is to promote a change in perspective toward the importance of the first year. Shifting attention to the first year builds bonds during a crucial stage in parenting.
This change in perspective influences the caregiver/infant relationship in subtle but profound ways. Resilience and protection against exposure to stress are probable outcomes. A recipient of this training does not need to fully understand all the terms of each concept for the training to have been successful. The goal is a simple change in perspective and attitude by encouraging parents to watch their babies play and to see how much they are learning. Providing a relaxed and informal group opportunity for one to one interaction with their babies without distractions, showing examples of peer success, providing materials for daily use, and reinforcing the practice of new positive behaviors, has been shown to impact attachment and core parenting attitudes. A simple shift in thinking about the importance of the first year may be all that is necessary for dramatic improvements in the caregiver/child relationship.
• 7-10 Caregivers meeting one time per week without sibling distraction
• Gifts given each week to caregivers for use with their babies
• Caregivers agree to come every week and try each new activity between classes
• Learning begins at birth
• Learning depends on sensory experience
• Caregiver provides experiences to ‘teach’ baby’s brain and affect later life learning
• Tummy Time is an important way to provide experience
Lesson Two- Tummy Time
• Strengthens neck and core
• Provides opportunities for ‘teaching’ infants through providing sensory experience
• Builds attachment between caregiver and baby
• Back to Sleep/ Belly to Play
Lesson Three- Touching, Closeness and Attachment
• Skin is how babies take in important information about their world
• Massage builds attachment between caregiver and infant
• Wearing a child in a carrier builds attachment with the caregiver
Lesson Four- Cause and Effect and Movement
• The child needs to experiment with new experiences to grow the brain
• Causing something to react teaches and empowers infants through learning
• Babies need to move through crawling, pulling up and cruising to grow their brains
Role of the Facility Staff
• Support the new information through modeling and teaching
• Build self esteem in caregivers by noticing changes and improvements in parenting strategies
• Understand the difficulties that exist for the caregivers and acknowledge their efforts