‘There’s a method to the madness’ as the saying goes, though I’m sure the last word we want intertwined in a read about our daycare is ‘madness’! That said, in a quality daycare, behind the smiling faces and bright colors, there really is a method and direct focus on our children’s education and development.
What does quality care look like in terms of meeting our children’s needs? Well, let’s consider the following…
Children thrive where they feel safe and secure, where they are able to express their natural desire for learning and where they are able to build their competence.
Children thrive where they can rely on the adults/caregivers around them for nurturance and guidance.
Children thrive when they receive care in a relationship that consistently meets their physical and emotional needs, making that relationship a base for exploration and discovery.
So basically, it’s the caregiver’s response to an infant’s cues for sleep or food because of their relationship and knowing of that child, or their taking the time to respond and name the pictures in a book when the toddler points, and the teacher’s using words or language familiar to a child to help them learn or understand because of the relationship they’ve established with that particular child.
What are the policies, practices and professional developments that make up a foster quality care in a center?
- Small groups
- Continuity of care
- A safe, interesting & developmentally engaging environment and materials
- Curriculum that is responsive to individual children’s interests, needs and developmental abilities
Why is all of this important? Because as much as we’d like it to be different, our kids spend a significant amount of time in early care and educational settings and not all of them are of good quality. With these initial years being of the utmost importance, doesn’t it make sense to choose wisely?
Information for this post was pulled from the Infant/Toddler Learning & Development Program Guidelines developed by California’s Department of Education.