When couples are engaging in family planning, there are several things that they have to take into consideration. One such thing is the care of the child or children when it is time for them to return to work. A common option over the years has been that of the day care or child care center. Parents today are realizing the importance of daycare centers in their children’s development. They are looking for daycare centers that not only will take care of their child while they are away but also will provide quality, real-life learning opportunities and experiences.
These learning opportunities will ensure that children are prepared not only for their academic life in school but also for real life situations outside the daycare center and their own homes. There are five basic categories of day cares: Child care centers, educational day care, family day care, non-profit day care and subsidized day care. A child care center is a large day-care provider and is often franchised under a brand name. They often have extensive facilities, including swimming pools and large playgrounds. They also provide day care for multiple ages divided into smaller groups by age.
Educational day cares are intended to provide children with pre-school learning and skills to prepare her for kindergarten or elementary school. They strive to provide children with rounded spiritual, physical, mental and emotional support to prepare them for life’s challenges. A family day care is provided in the care-giver’s home, usually with the provider’s children present. They provide a familiar and comfortable setting for your child. A family day care often is smaller than other types of day care. Non-profit day cares are run by non-profit organizations, such as churches or synagogues.
They sometimes include religious schooling and are often more affordable than other types of day care because of their non-profit status. Subsidized day care programs are those that provide financial assistance either through the federal or state government or an employer. The day care visited by group five, was an educational daycare. The daycare caters to children between three (3) months and three (3) years old. At the beginning of September, there were a total of forty (40) children. Currently, there are twenty-six (26) children there.
Space and Equipment The day care is clean and sanitary. There is no garbage lying around, floors are clean as they are constantly mopped when messes are made. The kitchen is large enough to facilitate the free movement when 2-3 persons are in there making food preparations. It is also away from the areas where diapers are changed and away from the bathroom. It is clear that great consideration was taken in regards to inclement weather, as the space in the day care is large enough to separate sleeping children from playing children and those who are learning.
The area is large enough for everyone to play when they are unable to go outside even though the tables where they have their meals are there. There are five smoke detectors throughout the building, a fire aid kit and a fire extinguisher that are strategically places. Standard childproofing techniques are utilized, (covered outlets, safety gates, door latches). The center is secure, having a buzzer that is working and therefore, strangers are not able to just walk in from the streets. The building is properly lit and ventilated and doors are placed strategically as well to facilitate emergency exit if necessary.
There is short term parking space at the front for parents and guardians who come to drop off and pick up their children. Caregivers’ Credentials/Qualifications Because the caregivers are expected to create a safe and stimulating environment for the children to develop in, it is important that the staff get formal training that will equip them with the tools necessary to do so. All the members of staff are qualified. The qualifications held are varied. There are members of staff who have Level 1 and 2 Certificates in Early Childhood Care and Development from HEART Trust NTA.
Other qualification held by staff is a Certificate in Practical Nursing and Heart care and a Diploma in Early Childhood Teacher Education. Programme Activities At this stage of the child’s development, it is important to have activities that engage the children’s minds and develop skills that will be needed in further learning. At the day care, there is a structured schedule that includes plenty of time for physical activity, quiet time (including daily reading sessions for groups and individuals), group activities, individual activities, meals, snacks, and free time.
The activities cover the duration of time that the children are at the day care from the moment of arrival to the time of departure. The physical activities come in varied forms including music movement (dance) and play time- outdoor play and free play. Free play is for the children to do whatever they feel like doing, whether it is engaging in imaginative play with their little friends or by themselves, playing with toys, or looking through their picture books. Outdoors, there is a slide, a swing, a monkey bar and some tires for the children to crawl through. Group activities include some aspects of the physical activities and story time, as well as their varied creative, manipulative activities. Such creative/manipulative activities include finger painting, drawing, and making things out of clay dough. This is done with the assistance of the staff. A lot of the stories are made up based on a series of pictures that are taped to the walls of the daycare.
Caregivers also engage the children in picture games. The children form a ring and are shown pictures that they are to identify. Those who correctly identify the pictures get an extra treat at meal time. They are also taught nursery rhymes such as “hey diddle diddle”, and “itsy bitsy spider” and the alphabet song. There are designated times for snacks, and other meals. They do not allow the children to eat right throughout the day but encourage the habit of eating at intervals. There is also designated naptime and quiet time for the children.
The activities are very appropriate as they are in keeping with Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. In the sensorimotor stage of cognitive development, which is the first stage, Piaget stresses the importance of discovery through a child’s active interaction with the environment. Between birth and age two (2), children discover the world using their senses and motor activity because they are limited by their inability to use language or symbols at this stage. Therefore, the hands on activities that they are engaged in, helps to enhance cognitive development at this stage.
Teacher-child Relationships According to Erikson’s psychosocial theory of development, trust is identified as the first major developmental task of early childhood, and is established in children’s first relationship with their caregivers, parents and teachers. Trust is the first pre-requisite for effective learning. It encourages a sense of well-being and emotional security in young children, creating a solid foundation for future learning from the dynamic experiences of childhood.
Without the support of early trust relationships with caring adults, children are ill-equipped to take the kinds of risk essential to the learning process. Trust develops when children come to anticipate positive experiences in the child care settings. If trust is to develop, children need sensitive and perceptive caregivers that understand children’s needs and consistently offer tender, responsive care. Having received formal training for the purpose of taking care of the children, they have an understanding of the importance of their interactions with the children and therefore treat the children accordingly.
It is evident that the children trust their caregivers as they affectionately refer to them as “Auntie” and warm smile light up their tiny faces whenever they see the members of staff walk through the door. The staff plays with the children during their playtime. There is prompt responsiveness to the cries or outbursts of the children and reassurance is given when the infant is crying, except in cases when the child is throwing a tantrum. In such instances, the infant is spoken to firmly but gently. The ratio of teacher to child is 1: 6.
However, the caretakers try to share their attentions evenly among the children. They tend to group the children together when they are interacting with them so that none is left out. There were demonstrations of positive reinforcement from the caregivers. When a child did not like what was prepared for them to eat, he or she was coaxed into eating by the use of various methods, one of which was to pretend that the spoonful of food was an airplane loaded with niceties. The child was praised when he or she would chew the food and swallow it.
The caregiver would also reward the child with the option of having their juice before the water if the food was eaten. A sense of autonomy is identified as the second major developmental task of early childhood and is developed when a child is allowed to practice newly acquired physical skills. At the daycare, the children are encouraged to do things for themselves. There are toddlers who prefer to feed themselves, even though they make a bit of a mess when they do. Nonetheless, they are allowed to do so.
They are encouraged to pick up after themselves and therefore run around picking up toys when they are done playing. During outdoor play, the older and stronger children are allowed to climb the monkey bars by themselves with the ‘Auntie’ hovering close by to give assistance if it is needed. Recommendations A good day care is one that has a good reputation. No one will want to send their child/children to a daycare that has a bad track record. Established ground rules and policies are important and this is something a good day care has.
These rules and policies should include what to do when a child gets sick, or has an accident while at the daycare, schedule pick up times (even though there should be some amount of flexibility with this), safety policies, etcetera. A good day care has a stimulating curriculum that is age appropriate. As these are the formative of a child’s life, activities should be geared at setting a foundation of later learning. The day care should have a license that is current. This is an indication that the day care is in legal operation. Qualified staff is also important.
Parents want to know that when they drop their children off at the day care, they are in good hands. The facilities should be clean and safe as well. The day care of study can be considered to be a good one. However, there are a few things that could be done to improve the facility. The acquisition of more qualified staff is something that should be looked into. Even though the caregivers try to pay attention to all the children in their care, it can be taxing for one staff member to have to oversee six children at once, especially during play time.
There is a need for more toys for the children, especially building blocks. There is presently a toy drive going on to help with the endeavor of procuring more toys. In doing so, they can look into getting another slide as the tiny one that is there cannot suffice for all the children that want to use it during outdoor play. They need to also look into getting straps or bars put on the swing as there are children who have a habit of getting in and out of the swing while it is in flight. This can be very harmful to them.
The monkey bar is also a cause of concern as it is very dangerous, especially for the smaller children. The spaces between each bar are too wide and therefore adjustments may have to be made by putting plastic or wooden bars in between each space to reduce the width that the children will have to climb on. There is a gate at the end of one of the driveways that is too far from the ground and so the ball continues to go under the gate when the children play in the driveway. They need to lower the gate or put something to block the opening so that the ball does not run onto the road.
Closing Remarks Members of group five (5) can conclude that the visit to the day care was a productive one. The time spent with the children was thoroughly enjoyed as there was more than mere observation. The day care is a great one and should become better if the things in the afore mentioned recommendations are taken into consideration. Group five would recommend this day care to parents and guardians seeking one as they take into consideration the holistic development of the children.
Courtney from Study Moose
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