Child care is much more than simple supervision. Okay, so someone is watching your child while you're away. That is the major point of daycare. But, it's much more than just that. Early care environments pack in plenty of educational aspects, helping your child to grow and develop. What are the some of the areas that your child's pre-k teacher may cover?
A love of books starts early. Chances are that your child's teacher is helping her to build the basics when it comes to reading, writing and communicating. This means setting up a classroom literacy center (or a mini library), reading to the children regularly and engaging in writing activities. Keep in mind, young children in daycare typically aren't developmentally ready to read on their own or write in the same ways that adults do. Your child may pretend to read, listen (and watch) her teacher reading and scribble or create pretend letters as she learns to make marks. As she reaches the end of the child care years (in other words, is ready to start kindergarten) it's likely that your child will be able to pick out a few simple works that she knows by sight and write at least the first letter of her name.
Young children have a natural sense of curiosity. Science plays this up to the max. In the preschool classroom you might see young students exploring with a magnifying glass, figuring out how to use a prism, or watching ice as it melts. Your child will get hands-on experience and explore concepts that range from mixing colors to pushing a ball down a ramp to watch gravity at work.
Will your 3-year-old tackle complex cultural biographies at daycare? Probably not. But, she will get a first introduction to major political figures (such as the president), learn about the world around her, get to know the globe and discover what community helpers do. This doesn't mean that your child will sit and listen as the teacher lectures. In the preschool setting, social studies takes on an imaginative and hands-on approach. Your child might act out a play about George Washington, listen to (or play) music from another culture, dress up like the local community helpers or make her own paper mache globe.
Is your child ready to learn calculus? Not yet. She can start counting and begin solving basic equations. Young children in daycare start learning about what the numbers look like and can begin sorting quantities (typically under 10). They may also use counting beads or small toys to show addition or subtraction problems. Other math concepts that child care tackles include geometry (recognizing and naming shapes), comparing weights and measurements and exploring patterns.
Visual arts, music, dance/creative movement and drama are all parts of the pre-k classroom. These are used alone (such as when a child paints a portrait) or in combination with other content areas. For example, your child might use dance or creative movement in science to show how animals move or sing a song about numbers to reinforce math concepts.
The child care day is filled with learning, learning and more learning. Even when it seems like the children are just playing (such as building in the clock area or racing cars down ramps) they're actually building skills and developing. Yes, your child will get the supervision and care that she needs while you're away. But, she'll also get so much more.
For more information about the benefits of pre-k child care, contact a service such as Rainbow School, Inc.