As another new year begins it is a good time to put things in perspective and take a look at where we are going. The year 2016 is special because it is part of a 4-year cycle that includes an extra day in February and a presidential election. Every Leap Year is a presidential election year. Presidents come and go, and families come and grow. Children's Cottage opened in Napa way back in 1993 when Bill Clinton was about 6 months into his first term as president. When it comes to child care, things have not changed much over the last 23 years. The early care and education of young children still boils down to some very basic fundamentals.
It is very important that all teachers have respect for how children learn. Every child is unique and each one learns in their own style and in their own way. Some children process new ideas by listening. Other children do better when they can feel, touch, and do things. The size of the room and the lighting can have an effect on the way children learn. If a room is too large with lots of sounds it may be hard for some children to process all of the input. They may do better with a smaller group size and more one-on-one with the teacher. At Children's Cottage, our goal is to prepare all children for transitional kindergarten and elementary school. Our teachers get to know every child in their class and how to maximize each child's potential for learning.
One of the most important parts of this is socialization. The more children can positively interact with other children, the more they will succeed in elementary school and in life. If a child is an only-child or does not have a sibling fairly close in age, the opportunities for socialization in preschool are wonderful. I love the outdoor playground for socializing. Children choose which friends they interact with, what games to play, and what roles they will have. When minor conflicts arise as they inevitably will, it is best if the children can work it out with as little teacher intervention as possible. This helps them build self confidence with each other which they build on each week of preschool.
I like a regular Monday through Friday weekly schedule for child care because it mimics the Monday through Friday pattern that the elementary schools use. Children get stability and predictability in their weekly lives. This means that they are also eating lunch and napping at the same time throughout the week. This weekly pattern provides comfort for young learners and less anxiety in their lives. This optimizes early learning. If a 5-day weekly schedule is not practical, keeping the same lunch and nap times when the children are not at school will help keep consistency in their lives.
As a parent, if you chat with your child's teacher on a regular basis you'll be an active part of your child's educational future. Parents should also talk to each other so that everyone is on the same page. When this happens the child always is the winner!