Planning a Successful Book Center in Child Care

book center

Books are very important for young children. A book center can help stimulate children’s imagination and creativity while also building language skills. The book center is a great place for adults to read to children and for children to spend time looking at pictures and interacting with different books.

Setting Up a Book Center in Your Classroom

  • Location: The book center should be located in a quiet area separate from noisier activities such as block building and active play. 

The Book Center in Child Care

book center with loft

The book center is an important part of every child care environment. Children should always have access to a variety of different types of books in the classroom. The book center can be a great place for children to play alone or with one or two other children. Having access to books stimulates children’s imagination and thinking skills, encourages developing language, and provides opportunities for creative expression through storytelling or puppetry. Adults can encourage children’s learning about words, sentences, and …

Using Puppets in Child Care

Finger puppets

Puppets provide a wide range of benefits for children in a child care setting. Child care providers can use puppets, whether they are purchased at the store or homemade, to enhance almost any area of the child care curriculum. Children of all ages can enjoy using puppets in child care.

Benefits of Using Puppets in a Child Care Setting

Puppets are a great way to engage the attention and imagination of children of all ages. Using puppets in the child …

Supporting and Encouraging Emergent Literacy in Child Care

Preschool child reading book

Learning how to read doesn’t happen overnight. It is a lifelong process that begins at birth when children are immersed in literacy. Child care providers and parents play an important role in supporting children’s literacy, simply by reading to children.

Signs of Emergent Reading

Emergent literacy refers to the ways that children learn about books and print text through everyday activities. Emergent literacy signs aren’t hard to identify. As a child care provider, have you ever noticed preschoolers beginning to …

Children's Books for Young Children in Military Families

Navy officer reading to children

Children’s books are such a great way to help children deal with change – and military life certainly has plenty of that!  Here are some books that can help young children deal with different changes that may occur in their families. The books in bold have a specific military theme and include characters in military families. Others are recommended because of how well they deal with emotions from a child’s perspective. Even though the situation doesn’t involve a military element, …

Fingerplays and Songs for Child Care

Boy with finger puppets

Welcome to the eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care database of fingerplays and songs for child care. Is there anything more enjoyable than watching young children light up as they sing a favorite song? In this collection, you will find lots of fingerplays, songs, and rhymes — some familiar and some new. 

There are three ways to see the fingerplays, songs, and rhymes:

Story-Stretching Ideas for Child Care

Teacher reading to children

Welcome to the eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care database of story-stretching ideas for child care. Here you will find lots of hands-on, ready-to-try ways to extend some of your favorite children’s stories into additional learning experiences. Search or browse these story-stretching ideas to find great ways to expand children’s books with related language and literacy, math, science, art, social skills, music, movement, and more. The ideas are especially designed to help young children of different ages expand their learning …

What Child Care Providers Can Expect in the Thinking and Language Development of 6 – 8 Year Olds

Child using binoculars

As children begin elementary school, they also show important advances in both thinking and language skills. They become better at logical thinking and problem-solving. They are motivated, active learners. School-age children begin to learn bigger words, to produce longer and more complex sentences, to manipulate language in new ways, to learn subtle exceptions to grammar rules and to understand their native tongue much better.

Child care providers in out-of-school child care programs can support the development of thinking and language …

What Child Care Providers Can Expect in Preschoolers' Thinking and Language Development

Preschool circle time

During the preschool years, children develop new thinking skills and become competent at using language to communicate. These newly developed thinking and language skills enable preschoolers to begin solving complex problems, asking and answering questions, and using their imagination to create and act out stories. Child care providers can support thinking and language development in preschoolers through conversations, reading, math and science activities, creative questions, and opportunities to pretend. The following are common milestones of thinking and language development in …

Helping Young Children Learn the Sounds of Letters

Alphabet blocks

Understanding the basic sounds of individual letters is an important basic skill in learning to read. Child care providers sometimes call this “learning the alphabet.” It also is called phonological awareness, which is the ability to pay attention to, identify, and use sounds of speech. Phonological awareness helps children break words into sounds and to blend sounds into words.

For example, children need to tell the difference between “d” and “t,” or “b” and “p.” Some letters can have a …