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, …

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 …

Language Development in Child Care

Teacher reading to children

Child care providers play an important role in supporting early language development. The building blocks for language development are present in children’s lives beginning at birth. Newborn infants follow the sound of their parent’s voice. Babies who are only a few weeks old prefer their parents’ voices. Infants begin making their first language sounds within the first few months of life.

Child care providers can help children learn language in easy yet exciting ways. As a child care provider, you …

How to Read Aloud with Children in Child Care

Navy officer reading to children

There’s magic in children’s books. Well-selected and well-read children’s books add to the child care curriculum by opening children to a world of fun and wonder. Books can help children learn about the world and themselves, expand their imaginations, connect with their child care provider, and build important skills that will help children read alone later on.

Reading with others is a learned skill. Child care providers can help children enjoy books by reading in ways that capture and build …

Ways to Get Children in Your Child Care Program Ready For Reading

Children reading books

Literacy and language develop together in children. Reading and writing develop along with speaking and listening. And it all begins at birth with a child’s first cooing. There are many ways child care providers can boost children’s language skills at different ages. Here are several ways to help expand the language and literacy skills of children in your child care program.

Newborn to 3 Months

  • Hold babies often. Physical contact helps them feel secure.
  • Talk to babies about what you

Helping Young Children Learn New Words

Adult reading book to children outdoors

For children, learning to read means continually building an ever-growing vocabulary of words. Child care providers are a key part in this process of vocabulary development.

Vocabulary is the number of words known or used by a person. Children use simple words that they understand. Generally, children understand more words than they use. The average preschooler knows about 5,000 words. By the end of high school the average young adult will know about 60,000 words. A child’s vocabulary will gradually …

Language and Literacy in Child Care

Woman reading to 2 children

Learning how to read and write is not just a skill that begins in kindergarten. The basics of literacy begins as early as infancy. As a child care provider, you play an important role in supporting young children’s developing reading and writing skills. Children will begin learning the basics of reading and writing when they repeatedly encounter reading and writing in and out of the classroom environment. By watching adults around them who read and write, children will become interested