Child care centres are a place of laughter, learning, and play. Children learn from their surrounds and their carers at the centre through play-based programs. You can bring these elements into your own home to help your child’s development.
Children are curious and stories are great ‘brain food’ for their imaginations. Early learning experts encourage reading at home to improve literacy and communication.
Reading to children isn’t a complicated exercise. It’s ideal to regularly set aside a time when you can read together. Some parents like to read with their children before bed and the traditional ‘bedtime story’ is still going strong. Picture books are better for younger children so they can associate the words on the page with the illustrations. Older children can better handle books with longer blocks of text.
“Play has many valuable purposes. It is a means by which children develop their physical, intellectual, emotional, social and moral capacities. It is a means of creating and preserving friendships. It also provides a state of mind that is uniquely suited for high-level reasoning, insightful problem solving and all sorts of creative endeavours.”
– Peter Gray.
Child care centres implement play-centred learning programs under the guidance of the Early Years Learning Framework, and parents can just as easily implement a play centred ‘program’ of their own at home.
Inviting your child’s friends to your home for a playdate is one way to facilitate this. Hosting a playdate doesn’t mean children are avoiding doing something productive or ‘wasting time’. Rather, they have the opportunity to work in a team, recognise the importance working together, and understand that other opinions matter besides their own. Early Childhood Australia has a short list defining the different types of ‘play’.
Following from the last point, play-based learning isn’t always done indoors. If you live in a home with a backyard area, spend time with your child outside or encourage them to play in the yard. Child care centres have outdoor areas where children are active, and an abundance of loose-part resources are available to them.
Loose parts allow children to move, manipulate, control, change, carry, combine, redesign, line up, take apart and put back together in endless ways. They invite conversations, interactions and they encourage collaboration and cooperation. They promote social competence because they support creativity and innovation. Loose parts can be available in both indoor and outdoor environments and offer excellent opportunities for open-ended learning and higher levels of critical thinking and creativity.