Tag Archives: child care

Bringing child care strategies home

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.  

 

Read

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

“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’.

 

Get outdoors

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.   

Understanding the Early Years Learning Framework

The Australian Government has developed this Framework to help childcare educators develop a foundation for children’s future success in learning. It’s not a bible or syllabus, but a guide for early childhood teachers to help their children become their best.

 

Identity

Children may play in a group but they still have a strong sense of self. They don’t turn into “another face in the crowd”. They develop a sense of identity first in a family setting, where they spend most of their time, and this is built up further in kindy.

The EYLF encourages a “safe” environment where children will discover themselves and understand what it means to belong in a group. Discovering identity also means knowing their background/cultural heritage and taking pride in it.

 

Connect, contribute

We build bonds constantly, but it starts in childhood. After discovering their sense of self and feeling like they belong, children start to form bonds with others. This happens at home and in childcare. It’s important to make connections and become a part of a group. A group dynamic helps children learn about the diversity of the world around them and to respect it.

Contributing is encouraged in group discussion and play. The teachers create settings where children are able to voice their opinions and feel comfortable doing so. This part of the Early Years Learning Framework encourages children to have a voice, respect those of others and have an awareness of their surroundings.

 

A sense of wellbeing

Nobody should ever feel isolated, excluded or feel mentally drained to the point of it affecting their physical health. This is especially true during the critical development years in childhood.

The third outcomes of EYLF aim to have children not only feel happy and healthy but also take responsibility for it. Children can’t develop strong bonds and a sense of belonging if their wellbeing is low mentally or physically. Signs of a sense of wellbeing in children include “owning” their feelings, taking risks and facing challenges, recognising what their body needs and having an awareness for the health of others.

 

Confident, involved learners

When children feel like they belong in a community, they feel more confident in their abilities. They’ll learn effectively, make mistakes and have more involvement in a group learning situation. They hypothesise, experiment, research and investigate like scientists with a curiosity only they can manage. Their teachers are the “guides”, encouraging open-ended discussion and helping them work towards a solution when problems arise.

 

Effective communicators

Communication is key in relationships, work and general everyday life. The Early Years Learning Framework guides educators on how to help children develop these skills. Their job is to help teach the children how to communicate politely with others and how to interpret nonverbal cues. This starts from infancy and doesn’t stop when the children leave go to prep; learning is lifelong, after all.

Communicating effectively applies to play situations. The childcare teachers create scenarios or supply materials to help the children verbalise what they learn. Popular outlets for self-expression are drama and music.