Play and Creative Expression in Child Care

Children and adults playing on the floor

As most child care professionals know, play is much more than a way to keep children busy between “important” activities. Hands-on exploration through play is the primary way that young children learn about their world and build their physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills. Some of the best ways that child care providers can support young children’s development are by scheduling adequate opportunities for children to play, planning interesting activities that engage children’s imagination, providing engaging and varied materials, and …

Using Learning Centers in Child Care

Learning centers in an ECE program

Learning centers are a purposeful way of dividing up your classroom into different subject/learning areas. The location of each learning center, placement of any furnishings or equipment, and easily available materials give a clear message to the child about what is to take place in that area.

Planning for Learning Centers

Establishing the centers requires some initial planning, work, and possible expense, but once they are established they save time and money. For example, you don’t want to place the …

Supporting Dads in Child Care: Let’s Play!

Father and toddler girl with doll

Supporting young children in child care includes helping to strengthen parent-child relationships. Many families who enroll their children in child care may be young, inexperienced parents. First-time fathers in particular may need extra encouragement as they establish relationships with their young children, and that’s a role child care providers are well suited for, yet often overlook.

Supporting father involvement with children may be especially important for child care programs that include military families. These families face the possible absence of …

What is cognitive development, and how can child care providers help children with their cognitive development?

Cognitive development refers to the ability to know and understand the world. It includes our ability to think about and remember what is happening around us.
Children’s thinking is different from the thinking of adults. Although adults have more information about the world, they also understand the world in different ways than children do. Over time, children move through distinct stages of thinking as they develop more complex ways of understanding the world.
When children are born, their brain is …

Importance of Play in Child Care

Boy playing with toy cars

Children are born naturally curious. By exploring and using their senses of sight, touch, sound, smell and taste, children learn about themselves and their environment. They are constantly discovering new things or ideas – how something feels, tastes or smells; or how something works, moves or reacts. Young children are attempting to discover the unknown by touching everything. Babies and toddlers often explore something new by putting the object in their mouths.

Play is far more than just a way …

Play Helps Young Children Be Ready for School

Children playing on road rug

With the increasing pressures of school readiness, many child care programs are actually cutting back on unstructured free play time. Pressured teachers believe that structured, teacher-led activities are the only way to help children be ready to read, do math, and understand science when they enter kindergarten. But what do we really know about young children and play? How does play help children learn?

Many adults are mistaken about play. We view “playing” as a frivolous activity, meant to fill …