LePort Montessori Infant Program

Our Infant environments, currently offered at Irvine Spectrum, Huntington Harbor, Fountain ValleyLomita, San Francisco and Encinitas schools, and planned for our BrooklynSolana Beach, and Emeryville locations, embody Maria Montessori’s vision of a “Nido” or nest. They are peaceful, loving places where babies can explore and feel secure. Teachers speak in gentle tones, the daily pace is unhurried, and décor is understated and homelike. Each child in our care is an individual to be nurtured with affection and respect. As is customary for Montessori environments, every detail is selected with the child’s whole development in mind.

Each of our infant rooms welcomes children as young as 12 weeks of age. Our prepared environments have developmentally appropriate materials and activities that support the child through each stage of infant growth. Because we “follow the child,” we provide a variety of environments where infants can explore based upon her curiosity and mobility, not just her age.

The age range for our infant program is from 12 weeks to 24 months. After the age of 18 months a child may begin his transition to the toddler program. Move-up ages may vary by several months. Please note that space availability is also a factor.

The Prepared Environment

A child’s early years are a time of great sensitivity to bonding in order to establish trust in the world; as well as language, order, sensorial impressions, and development of coordinated movement, both fine- and gross-motor. Each of our Infant rooms supports the child’s development of movement, independence, and capacity for active exploration. Because an infant’s brain is wired for language acquisition, our environments offer rich opportunities for babies to learn through plenty of reading, singing, sign language and a running dialogue as your child’s caregivers explain the events of your child’s day. Our respect for each child shows by how we engage him in each care-giving activity with warm eye-contact and verbal explanations of each step, rather than merely just doing the tasks to the child.

In our Infant environment there are special mobiles and images to stimulate brain development, as well as a variety of tactile objects for children to explore. Because this is the period when infants learn to roll over, sit, scoot, crawl and potentially walk, the room has many opportunities for movement. There are striking differences between a Montessori Infant environment and other, more traditional daycare settings: our babies do not spend their active hours in playpens, jumpers, walkers or other containers. Instead, in our Infant rooms you will see …

  • Many soft floor mats and bolsters on which babies can move freely and develop gross motor skills.
  • Mirrors positioned close to the floor to stimulate tummy time and self-discovery.
  • Low bars mounted to the wall and soft furniture for children to pull themselves up.
  • An abundance of Boppy-style pillows for infants to climb over and prop themselves onto.

For the older infants, where crawling and newly walking babies have their hands free for exploration, you will see…

  • Low shelving with materials for fine-motor development and cause/effect, such as puzzles, rings on a post, and containers to open and close.
  • Opportunities for purposeful water play.
  • A stair with low steps and a railing to practice climbing up and down.
  • Pull and push toys to promote gross motor movement.

All of our environments have several special features that also set them apart from typical daycare settings:

  • We support breastfeeding! Our Infant rooms welcome mothers who would like to nurse their baby during midday visits.
  • We use low tables and chairs, instead of high chairs, for snacks and solid meals. We believe this provides young children with a valuable first experience at gaining independence with self-feeding.
  • Ours are tranquil environments where a designated nap space ensures quality rest when babies need it.
  • A newly constructed outdoor space designed especially for infants, with soft surfaces and a variety of spaces to explore, plus equipment to climb over and through. We also have multi-child strollers for taking infants on regular “buggy rides” both outside and indoors around our campus so they can see more of the world.

Program Schedule / Daily Routine

Most infants follow a routine, though not necessarily a strict schedule, that allows for feeding, active time, and nap. This routine repeats itself throughout the day and provides important predictability for young children. In our Infant environments, our Montessori guides maintain a consistent rhythm outlined by parents that responds to each child’s needs and complements what parents do at home.


Fully established LePort Infant environments have a maximum of 12 infants and 4 adults (a 3:1 ratio), one of whom is also the Room Leader. Though the California Community Care Licensing allows a 4:1 ratio for infants, we realize that a 3:1 ratio is better for your child because it allows for more individualized attention. While we strive to maintain the 3:1 ratio throughout the day, there are moments when we will need to provide care at a 4:1 ratio to allow for teacher breaks. When we launch a new Infant classroom, we may temporarily maintain a 4:1 ratio, as infants are slowly added to the program. Once our classroom is fully enrolled, we strive to achieve at 3:1 ratio for majority of the school day.  Though your child will interact with all teachers in the classroom on a daily basis, the classroom’s Head Teacher will be the main point of contact for parent communication regarding your child.


We are your partners in guiding and supporting you during the many changes in feeding routines that you will experience as your child grows.

All bottles and food for infants are supplied from home. With fridges, freezers, warmers, and microwaves in each Infant environment, we are set up to safely and hygienically accommodate both breastfed and formula-fed babies, finger foods, jarred meals, homemade purees, etc.

We provide comfortable chairs for breastfeeding mothers who would like to nurse their babies on site. Parents are also welcome to drop off expressed milk anytime during the day. To ensure a smooth transition into a group setting, breastfed babies should be successfully bottle feeding for at least one month before they join the younger infant class; older infants may alternatively take milk from a regular cup. In our effort to encourage independence, we offer your child the opportunity and guidance to self-feed as soon as he or she is ready.


Our nap rooms provide each child a dedicated crib for younger infants or a low cot for older infants in a designated, peaceful area where noise is minimized and tranquility is heightened. We work with parents to replicate techniques that work best at home for your child’s sleep patterns, while sharing tips from our experts for optimizing your child’s sleep. While pacifiers are permitted for younger infants, we will assist the 10-24 month old child to wean from these in an effort to promote independence and oral health. We also help prevent tooth decay by refraining from placing bottles in cribs, or having children fall asleep while drinking a bottle. We will rock or hold a very young infant, between 3-4 months, who needs such comforting to fall asleep; however, we will work with these parents, and particularly with parents of older infants, to help the infants develop self-regulation in sleep habits. Our goal is for your child to recognize sleep as a peaceful opportunity to self-soothe and rest because he or she is tired, just as a child will eat when hungry. If your child arrives asleep in a car seat, he or she will be gently placed in a crib. Children will have the opportunity to awaken from sleep naturally, rather than being awakened by an adult.


It is our priority to have close parent communication because we are all partners in caring for your child.

When your child begins in our Infant program, we will ask parents for detailed information on your baby’s sleep preferences (e.g. pacifier use), routine, feeding needs, temperament, etc. We strive to complement the home environment to ensure a sense of security and a smooth transition for your child.

On a daily basis, it is important for us to check in with parents to learn how your child slept the night before, the time of his or her last feeding, etc., so that we can best respond to his or her cues. Parents will receive the same information from us when they pick up their child at the end of each day.

We welcome parents to call and check on their children at any time, to talk informally with teachers at pick-up and drop-off time, to attend regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences, and to book additional teacher meetings as needed.

Throughout the year, we also encourage you to attend our parent education events to learn more about child development and the Montessori approach to responding to your child’s needs. Our goal is to aid your child’s development by providing you with clear and helpful information as you journey through the infant years.

We look forward to meeting you and your infant!


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Montessori Infant-Toddler Programs: The Best Beginning 
This brief article describes the unique Montessori approach to the first three years of a child’s life. It lays out the principles behind both parent-child programs and infant and toddler programs. It also provides helpful background for parents who are interested in applying Montessori ideas at home.

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Montessori from the Start, by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen
What does Montessori look like for infants and toddlers? This book provides guidance on the principles of applying Dr. Montessori’s unique ideas to the youngest children. It also contains much advice on how to bring Montessori ideas to life at home. From the design of the baby’s bedroom to the child-sized kitchen table, from diet and food preparation to clothing and movement, the authors provide guidance for the establishment of a beautiful and serviceable environment for babies and very young children.

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Understanding the Human Being, by Silvana Quattrocchi Montanaro, M.D
Written by the international head of the well-known Montessori Assistants to Infancy program, this book discusses why the first three years of life are of such immense importance to a child’s development, and how a Montessori approach helps the youngest children to thrive.

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In A Montessori Home, by NAMTA
This short book of 36 pages gives a glimpse into real homes, and the way real parents have transformed their home environment to support their baby’s optimal development. In addition to many inspirational photographs from actual homes, this guide offers practical advice and a concise explanation about the Montessori theories, applied to living with babies and toddlers. It also includes simple do-it-yourself toy tips, and a resources list for further reading.