Environments set up for creative play, whether in a child’s home or child care program, encourage children to explore and learn about their world. Children are always learning. Whether they are running, jumping, eating, playing, talking, singing or sitting quietly with a book, they are having experiences that help them understand themselves, and their world. In fact, the information they gather during their early years lays the foundation for success in school later.
Playing with friends, taking turns and paying attention during story time are all part of the early opportunities children experience that are now being called “Kindergarten readiness.” Helping children get “ready for school” is not something new. It is something most child care programs have always done. However, in recent years, the new information about early brain development sometimes influences parents into thinking that children need special academic experiences to help them do better in school.
“I usually let them play all day. We don’t watch too much television because they are just too busy.” –Licensed family child care provider
Experienced child care providers know that what children need in order to do well in school is to have early experiences that help children feel positive about learning and making friends. A caregiver’s responsiveness to children, even the youngest babies, is the first way children begin to learn. When children feel someone is available to take care of them, they feel safe and secure. And, as they grow and become curious about their world the encouragement of their exploration becomes the foundation for their future love of learning.
Parents who are looking for early learning experiences for their child may only need to look to the experienced family child care providers and center staff who are already caring for their children day in and day out. “Kindergarten readiness” or “preschool” experiences may already be woven into the very fabric of their child’s daily routines and play experiences. When a curriculum is rich in appropriate sensory and social experiences, a child’s intellectual capacity naturally flourishes.
More to explore…
Dictionary for Early Learning – Sometimes we need a dictionary to understand that providers, parents and experts are saying the same thing.