More than 32 million American children are in regular child care arrangements, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If your child is one of the many preschoolers who regularly attends a daycare center, understanding some of the lesser-known benefits is a must-do. What can your little learner get from time spent at childcare?
The benefits of daycare programs include:
Prep for school
You already knew that daycare prepares your child academically. The idea that young children are learning letters, numbers and other academic basics in preschool isn't exactly breaking news. But, what about everything else your child needs to know? The elementary school day includes 'rule-bound' tasks such as walking in a line with other children, taking turns, sitting attentively and listening to the teacher quietly, asking an adult before leaving the classroom, and following directions. The less formal classroom setting at daycare helps your child to learn these behaviors, making it easier to stick to the rules.
Making new friends
Your child has siblings, neighborhood kids and maybe even a few cousins to play with. Even though these other children provide plenty of opportunities for social interactions, they are also 'friends' that have been chosen for your preschooler. While at childcare, your child gets to pick and choose their own friends. The ability to make social connections independent of mom and dad is a skill that your child can keep and take well beyond the daycare years.
Getting ready for kindergarten by learning literacy, math, science and other skills at daycare is certainly valuable. That said, the benefits of early educational experiences don't stop there. Children who attend quality preschool programs are more likely to graduate from high school on time and even earn more as adults than those who don't have any early education, according to the HighScope Perry Preschool Study.
There's no doubt that your child's daycare teachers are watchful and present all of the time. Even with adults looking on, redirecting and intervening, your child is getting the chance to act without your direct words or requests. Instead of relying on mom or dad for everything, your child is making their way through the day without a parent. This allows your child to solve problems and negotiate emotional situations without you having to step in.
Daycare programs provide much more than just 'care' for kids who have working parents. Yes, they are nurturing places. And yes, they offer supervision when the child's primary caregivers have other obligations to attend to. But, they also give children the chance to learn soon-to-be-used school rules, connect with other children socially and build a foundation for life-long learning (and possibly earning).
For more information about how the right preschool or daycare can benefit your child, contact Advantage Learning Center or another daycare near you.