Your little one's day at child care is more than crayons and nap time. Whether she spends five hours a week or all five days at daycare, knowing what she does and how it helps her to develop is part of parenting her. While not every center is the same when it comes to the overall program, curriculum, and classroom activities, you may find that some of the best parts of your child's day include:
- Socialization. Infants and young children need to experience give-and-take relationships, learn how to resolve conflicts in appropriate ways and feel like they are receiving responsive care, according to the national early childhood organization Zero to Three. These activities are part of developing essential social skills. During her day at "school" your child has the opportunity to practice sharing, taking turns and mediating conflicts while under the care and guidance of a teacher. Not only does your child enjoy the social parts of child care, but she is also learning from them.
- Creativity. From dress-up to art time, your child is getting creative at her center. By the time your child is 2-year-old it's likely that she's scribbling spontaneously, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Her child care teacher knows this and is giving your pint-sized Picasso plenty of opportunities to flex her artistic muscle through craft projects, exploration-based activities and creative expression.
- Story time. High-quality preschool programs recognize the importance of developing early literacy skills and incorporate reading/language activities into the daily curriculum, notes the International Reading Association. The structured language-based activities (such as hearing a story or looking at picture books with the teacher) are both entertaining and educational for your child.
- Outdoor play. Provided the weather isn't threatening to pour down rain, snow severely or drop the mercury well below freezing, your child is going outside to play. Not only is she getting a daily dose, or two, of fresh air, but she's building large motor skills. Outdoor play provides the opportunity to run unobstructed, climb on playground equipment and maybe even learn how to ride a tricycle!
- Coming home to you. Sure, she's had a blast all day. But, your child may just realize how important you are when she sees your smiling face at the end of the day. Even though being at child care has benefits, it also makes your little one appreciate the time that she spends with you just that much more.
Child care is filled with activities, games and projects that promote skill-building, learning and having fun! From making new friends to running relay races in the outdoor play yard, your preschooler has the opportunity to do things to help her learn and grow.
To make sure your child is receiving all of these learning opportunities, contact a professional child care service, like Rainbow Montessori, to discuss their program.