In order to understand the topic of this post it is best to start with a definition of early learning. Early learning “refers to the emotional, social, physical, and intellectual development of young children”(source of quote at bottom). During the early years of children’s life they are developing rapidly, both physically and cognitively. They are in a state of constant learning as they interact with ever-changing and new environments, people, and situations.
For children who attend daycare, the childcare centre is one of these new and engaging environments that contribute to their constant learning. Furthermore, good childcare centres know that they are participating in an essential period of children’s development and strive to stimulate the developing child with new and unique experiences.
So what do these so-called “good” childcare centres look like? Well part of it is that they possess the following qualities:
- Safe environment
- Developmentally appropriate programming
- Staffed by caring educators
- Uses play-based exploratory methods
- Attempt to build on the individuality of each child and acknowledge their diverse strengths and abilities
- Support learning through nurturing relationships
- Respect for the parent’s role as the most essential teacher in their lives
- Support family development and community
When theses criteria are met, a childcare centre is able to provide essential early learning opportunities so that childcare and early learning unite as one fluid experience for the developing child.