In the past few weeks, you've narrowed down your daycare options to the ones that best fit your child's needs. Now all you have to do is take a tour. While you know to look for obvious things like cleanliness, it is also important to know that there are always more subtle things going on in an early childhood classroom that indicate quality care. For instance, children who are happily playing may actually be involved in deeper learning. As you tour daycares in your city, keep an eye out for these child behaviors that show the teachers encourage learning through meaningful play.
Children Choose Their Activities
Naturally, there are some things that must happen in every child care center such as lunch and story time. However, children should spend the majority of their time choosing activities that keep them interested. As you observe the children playing, you may see them using open-ended materials that encourage decision making. For example, a child might decide to use blocks to build a house, or they could pretend the block is a train. Either way, having free choice regarding how to manipulate objects and play their day builds confidence in young children.
Children Are Immersed In Their Play
When you enter a new classroom, some children will be eager to say hello. However, other children may not even notice that you are there because they are so engrossed in their activities. This is a sure sign that the teacher has carefully arranged the classroom to keep the kids engaged in activities that target their developmental needs. Whether they are fully living out their dream of being a chef in dramatic play or they are concentrating hard on figuring out what will stick to a magnet, seeing children heavily involved in the action means that they are learning valuable skills.
Children Enjoy Spontaneous Discoveries
Touring daycares in your community provides an opportunity to watch for unscripted learning. For example, you might see a toddler suddenly discover that a toy squeaks when they give it a squeeze. Alternatively, preschool aged children may exclaim when they figure out how to add wheels to a block structure to make it move. When a sudden discovery is made, you should also hear the teacher provide verbal reinforcement of the child's accomplishment so that they are motivated to keep on learning.
Every daycare center should have a quiet buzz of activity that indicates the children are happy. For adults, it is sometimes easy to forget that what looks like just a fun activity is likely intentionally planned by the child care teacher to stimulate development. By looking for signs of meaningful play, you can be certain that you have found the right classroom to encourage your child to enjoy learning. To learn more, contact a company like Youthland Academy.