Play As An Essential Element In A Preschool Curriculum

Academic demands on learners have been on a steady increase over the years, and this has trickled down to the little ones. Preschool curricula today seem to be heavily influenced by the present culture that is obsessed with tests and academic achievement. However, the fact ...
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6 Things To Look For In A Daycare Center

The thought of leaving your child in someone else’s care every day while you work probably makes you at least ...
Read More

The Case For Quality Preschool Education For Your Child

The preschool years are fundamental for instilling intellectual curiosity and a love of learning in your child. Early childhood educators ...
Read More

Academic Vs Play-Based Preschool Curriculum – Which Is Better For Your Child?

The academic demands placed on students today are incredibly high, and these demands have trickled down to the youngest learners ...
Read More

6 Things To Look For In A Daycare Center

The thought of leaving your child in someone else’s care every day while you work probably makes you at least a little anxious — but it doesn’t have to. Not if you know your little one will receive the best possible care and age-appropriate learning in the process. This is why choosing a good daycare or pre-school is so critical and should be done as early as possible — preferably six months before you plan to enroll your child.

As a parent, your gut instinct will really come into play when choosing the right fit for your child. Trust your feelings. And also weigh these six basic things a good daycare should have or offer:

1. A great reputation

When you need to get an unbiased view of a daycare center, the best place to start is with parents whose kids have been there. You can also check for online reviews from reputable sites.

2. A stimulating curriculum

A child’s first few years are critical to his or her development. This is why you need to choose a daycare center or pre-school that offers a stimulating, age-appropriate curriculum that will aid the cognitive development of your child and instill a love of learning.

3. Good policies

While policies may vary between centers, you need to find out as much as you can about the policies in any particular center you are considering. This is the only way to be sure you are comfortable with the way your child will be handled. For instance, the center’s discipline policy should align with your preferred approach to discipline.

Another critical guideline you should be aware of is the sick-child policy. Find out the kind of symptoms that would prevent a child from attending. While this may be inconvenient when it’s your child that’s ill, it goes a long way in minimizing your child’s exposure to infections and illnesses from other kids.

4. Open communication

Your child’s care provider will spend a great deal of time with your child. When speaking with the provider, you should be able to ask as many questions and receive as much feedback as you need about your child. For this reason, you want to find someone who is approachable and friendly.

5. Qualified and experienced staff

As a starting point, remember to check whether the center is fully licensed. In addition, find out the center’s staff requirements in terms of qualifications and experience. Ideally, the director should have a degree in early childhood education while teachers should have training in the same field, early childhood development or a parallel program. Further, daycare center employees should be trained in CPR, pediatric first aid and other emergency training.

6. A safe environment

You want to be sure that the center offers a safe environment for your child. For instance, good hygiene must be prioritized and enforced in the center. Additionally, it’s important that children be supervised at all times, even when they are asleep. Additionally, all daycare workers should undergo complete criminal background checks.

If you are looking for an outstanding daycare for your child, Spanish for fun! is your best option. We combine the loving care that your child needs with Spanish language education, cultural learning and lots of fun. Get in touch with us today to schedule a tour of our Wake Forest Daycare campus. We look forward to showing you why your child will thrive with us.

The Case For Quality Preschool Education For Your Child

The preschool years are fundamental for instilling intellectual curiosity and a love of learning in your child. Early childhood educators emphasize that young children should be given the right kind of education in the right environment. This helps to guarantee that their development begins on track. When the proper environment is created, it allows your child’s potential to naturally blossom.

Unfortunately, preschool learning is often either given very little thought, or given much thought but done the wrong way. If you’re one of the skeptics who thinks investing in preschool learning is a waste of money, the following post should help you reconsider your position:

How Investing In Preschool Beats The Stock Market, Hands Down
If you got 13 percent back on your investments every year, you’d be pretty happy, right? Remember, the S&P 500, historically, has averaged about 7 percent when adjusted for inflation.

What if the investment is in children, and the return on investment not only makes economic sense but results in richer, fuller, healthier lives for the entire family?

That’s the crux of a new paper out Monday, The Life-Cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program, co-authored by Nobel laureate James Heckman, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and the director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development. Read more at NPR.org…

The facts and figures in the above post clearly show that preschool education is one investment you cannot ignore. It will result in great returns for you and your children too.

Another factor that makes preschool education so invaluable is the parental and teacher input it invites in the early years of your child’s life. The following post examines this concept further:

New evidence shows how important preschool really is
Although enrolling your child into preschool can seem daunting (where did your baby go?) research shows that 90 per cent of a child’s brain development happens in the first five years of their life, making it an ideal opportunity for early education.

A new campaign from the NSW Department of Education hopes to make families more aware of the benefits of preschool.

Leslie Williams, the NSW Minister for Early Childhood Education, says that the goal of the campaign is to give parents the facts, so they can make better and more informed decisions about their child’s educational needs.

“A child needs a great parent, and a great teacher….” Read more at Essential Baby…

At this point, you may agree that childhood education is important but feel that your child can wait for kindergarten and receive the same benefits as attending preschool. The following post provides a contrary view and expounds on why the pre-K years are so crucial:

Kids Have Critical Period For Brain Development; Nurturing During Preschool Age More Important Than Later On
A child’s brain is designed to absorb information at a fast pace: During the first few years of life, they create 700 to 1,000 new neural connections every second, making their early years integral to how their brain functions for the rest of their childhood and adolescent development. Knowing this, a team of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine studied parental impact at each stage of development, and discovered the earlier parents invest in their child’s brain structure growth, the better. Read more at Medical Daily…

As you see, you really do not want to miss out on your child’s formative years.

If you are in Wake Forest and looking for a preschool or daycare that will offer your child the benefits discussed in this post, Spanish for fun! is your best option. We combine the loving care that your child needs with Spanish language education, cultural learning and lots of fun. Get in touch with us today to schedule a tour of our Wakeforest campus. Call (919) 883-2061 or complete the form on the homepage. We look forward to showing you why your child will thrive with us.

 

Academic Vs Play-Based Preschool Curriculum – Which Is Better For Your Child?

The academic demands placed on students today are incredibly high, and these demands have trickled down to the youngest learners. As a result, elementary school and even preschool programs have become much more rigorous as children are expected to develop basic learning skills as early as possible. The question, however, is whether a greater focus on academics will actually work better for preschoolers.

Learning through play

Research shows and proves that preschoolers learn best through play, which is why it must be a primary element in their learning. The fact that children are playful by nature and easily turned off by extended formal learning only serves to further support this style of learning. Moreover, these observations are true regardless of a child’s economic or cultural background.

Two year old boy playing with colorful dough at preschool.

Image Courtesy of pixabay.com

Developing life skills

The assumption that nothing much is going on when children play is inaccurate. In fact, a great deal of development takes place at playtime. Kids develop skills, attitudes and habits that will stay with them throughout their lives, such as coping with frustration, seeking to improve, sharing with others and expressing their thoughts or fantasies.

Play is work

You may be surprised to learn that the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) considers play for children to be equal to work for adults, and has gone further to make play a criterion for accrediting programs for young children. Children are happy and excited when they play, and this contributes significantly to helping them develop a positive attitude and approach to learning.

Comparing performance

Play helps preschoolers master the skills they’ll need for their academic learning later on. These include pre-reading skills, motor acuity as well as basic science and geometry. In other words, play lays the foundation that more formal learning will be built on in the ensuing years.

A preschool curriculum that stresses formal learning over play activities can be compared to teaching a child the different swimming strokes before you teach them to float. A study by the University of Florida found that fourth-graders who attended preschools with play-based curricula performed better than their fellow students both academically and socially. Another study revealed that the language abilities of children who engaged in pretend play were more enhanced.

 

child exploring and learning

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

What does this mean for parents of preschoolers?

Simply put, your child will gain more from a preschool program that allows them to have fun while learning than one that teaches rote memorization as a primary pathway to learning.

Look for a preschool that features unstructured activity as part of its educational philosophy. And when you visit, note if there is an outdoor area that provides opportunities for fun and exploration. Keep in mind that hands-on play encourages more creativity in children. As such, a school with low-tech toys such as blocks, simple cars and trucks, musical instruments, puppets and dolls can be preferable to one with lots of fancy electronics.

At Spanish for fun!, we understand the value of play, which is why our center provides a variety of options for children to play, discover and share. Our Spanish-immersion approach allows children to acquire Spanish as a second language in a natural and active learning environment.

Play As An Essential Element In A Preschool Curriculum

Academic demands on learners have been on a steady increase over the years, and this has trickled down to the little ones. Preschool curricula today seem to be heavily influenced by the present culture that is obsessed with tests and academic achievement. However, the fact that preschools today feel a lot like regular schools may not deliver the positive outcomes all parents want for their children.

The wrong approach

Why is this? Simply put, because children typically do not learn in the same ways as older children or adults. As such, while parents may want to give their children an academic edge when choosing preschool programs, they need to do it with an understanding of what would actually help their children thrive at their own level. And children learn when they play, a fact that many people don’t appreciate.

Structured play

When we talk of children at play, don’t envision little ones left to run amok. We’re talking about structured play that is intended to provide a foundation for creativity, problem-solving, self-regulation and overall learning. In fact, structured play allows children to master the skills they’ll need later for academic subjects.

child at play

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Playing with soap bubbles may seem like an aimless activity, but it actually stimulates a child’s interest in science learning. Playing with building blocks establishes the foundation a child needs to understand geometry later on. Children can also develop their motor acuity through repetitive play activities such as completing a puzzle, dismantling it and then putting it together again. Listening to stories during story time helps kids develop the pre-reading skills they need such as wordplay, reading and the ability to follow a plot.

Free play

This is not to say that unstructured play doesn’t help too. Playing outside with other kids helps children develop their social skills. Allowing them to safely explore their surroundings at preschool or while at home fosters their sense of curiosity, which will increase their enthusiasm for learning. When young children have the opportunity to discover things on their own, it provides a great learning benefit to them.

A study by the Massachusetts Institute of technology demonstrated the learning potential that free play offers. In the study, the kids got to play with an interactive toy that could squeak, play music, light up and more. One group of kids were shown how to make it squeak, while the other group was given no instructions. At the end of the experiment, the undirected kids had discovered everything the toy could do through simple experimentation, while the other group could still only make it squeak.

child playing game

Image Courtesy of Vimeo

Choosing a preschool program

What does all this mean for parents choosing a preschool program for their kids? Primarily, that you focus on the things that actually matter in terms of your child’s development. It means not looking for a preschool with regimented learning activities that will take up the bulk of the day. Keep in mind that your child is more likely to develop from a play-based curriculum.

Spanish for fun! offers students a variety of opportunities to play, discover and share. If you want to give your child an educational jumpstart, we are your best option. Get in touch with us today to schedule a tour of our Wake Forest Childcare campus. We want you to see our facilities, meet the staff and learn about our unique Spanish-based curriculum. Call 919-881-1695 or complete the form on the homepage. We look forward to showing you why your child will thrive with us.

 

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