Choosing a kindergarten or childcare can be a big decision for families. Parents may have concerns and worry if their child will enjoy their time away from home, but may not feel confident to ask questions or know what to ask.
Dr Sandra Cheeseman, C&K Chief Operating Officer says some feelings of uncertainty are normal and parents should be confident and encouraged to ask questions. “Many parents share similar concerns, especially if it’s their first time choosing a childcare or kindergarten,” Dr Cheeseman said.
What happens during the day?
“It’s essential when you choose a centre, that you feel comfortable with the staff. Take time to find out about the centre and how the staff will work with your child,” Dr Cheeseman explained. “Knowing a centre’s policies and procedures is important, but there is much more to ask. How is the day structured? What will they do if a child is upset? Do they do excursions? What sorts of things can parents do to help their child settle? It is also important to understand how the staff plan for your child’s learning and development,” Dr Cheeseman said.
What is play-based learning?
“Most early childhood programs focus on a play-based program. The benefits that play-based learning provides to children before they begin their formal education is well documented, although often, the term ‘play-based learning’ is not understood.
“Play-based learning is an opportunity for children to engage in a range of experiences based on what children are interested in. Children need to be supported and guided by qualified educators in environments where they feel safe to explore, create and engage in active play both indoors and outdoors.
“Early childhood educators are experts in creating rich learning through play,” Dr Cheeseman states. “This can involve music, art, science, dancing along with many opportunities to tinker with open-ended resources which all allow their creativity and problem-solving skills to develop. Learning through play begins from birth. This is the best way for children to learn in the early childhood.”
How will my child be nurtured?
“We encourage families to ask any prospective centres about their play-based approach and to ask how their child will be nurtured in mind and body,” said Dr Cheeseman.
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