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 …

Basic Math Skills in Child Care: Greater Than, Less Than, and Equal To

Abacus

One important part of teaching young children about math is helping them learn the concepts of “more than,” “less than,” and “equal to.” These concepts are key in beginning to understand addition and subtraction. With society increasing focus on the importance of reading, writing, and arithmetic, we are beginning to see more advertisements pushing for the use of flash cards, even beginning in infancy.  Although this is a popular trend, using flash cards to help young children memorize math and …

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 …

Early Learning and School Readiness in Child Care

Kindergarten classroom

Young children in child care are always growing, developing, thinking and learning. We now know that the first few years of life are extremely important for children’s brain development. Without early opportunities to explore, learn and discover, children may be less ready and able to learn later on. Child care providers play an important role in supporting and nurturing young children’s learning.

The idea of getting children school-ready or ready to learn is still important, but high-quality child care programs …

Ways to Encourage Self-Help Skills in Children

Toddler with food on face

Children have a drive to be independent and do things on their own. This is a healthy part of normal child development. As children grow, they learn to do more and more tasks.

Child care providers can help young children become independent by allowing and encouraging them to take responsibility for themselves whenever possible. It can be faster and less messy to do things for children, but they learn so much from doing things for themselves. When children practice self-help …

Math in Child Care

Tangram tiles

Math is everywhere, and it’s more than just learning numbers. When children sort crayons by color, put puzzles together, build with blocks, count their raisins during snack, and sing “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed,” they are learning about math. These kinds of hands-on learning activities create a solid foundation for children to understand shapes, sizes, length, addition, and subtraction. Children who have the opportunity to learn math-related concepts in early childhood often do better in school and are …

Science in Child Care

Girl blowing bubbles

Science can be a fun part of everyday learning in child care. Science is a process of exploration and discovery. Young children learn the skills of asking questions, testing hypotheses, and reporting their results using simple, hands-on materials. Science is not limited to the “science table.” A child mixing flour, sugar, and butter to make cookies is learning that mixing and baking will change substances into something new and delightful. Children putting objects in water are learning which objects float

Age-Appropriate Toy Ideas for Child Care

Choosing the best toys for children of different ages is one of the most important jobs of a child care provider. Matching toys to children’s age, ability, interests, and developmental goals requires careful thought and planning.

Even though children have different abilities and preferences, there are some classic toys that most groups of young children enjoy at different ages. The following ideas may help you get started choosing toys for different age groups. Remember that these lists are just a …

Art in Child Care

Child painting mural

The child care setting can be a great place for children to use and explore different types of art materials. By providing children with many different materials appropriate to their ages and abilities, child care providers can encourage children to use their imaginations and be creative. Children can work on motor skills by stimulation using different types of materials (paper punches, clay, and crayons) and demonstrate an understanding of certain concepts, such as big and small. Through art children are …

Ways Child Care Providers Can Encourage Children Who Don't Like Art

Crayon tips

Art is a favorite activity for most children in child care. However, a few children may be little hesitant to join in the fun. Some children don’t like the mess and don’t want to get dirty. Others may watch from the sidelines or avoid art altogether. Observing children closely will help you understand their reluctance to explore and experiment with art. The following ideas may be helpful as you work with children.

Children Who Avoid the Art Area

If given …