Learning doesn’t start with school. In fact, if you are a daycare owner, you can do a lot to set the right foundations for the kids’ further education. That is why ensuring quality daycare interactions between staff and kids should be your first priority.
And if you’re not 100% on how to do it, check out Hopping In’s guide to making sure that your daycare stands out.
Supporting Natural Development
While working with kids means managing their behavior more often than not, quality daycare interactions should be focused on helping them manage themselves.
Daycare-aged children are doing a lot: they are developing autonomy, learning how to manage themselves and improving their language skills by interacting with significant adults.
During this stage, your caregivers should let them be more independent. This requires a lot of patience but pays off in the long run. Sometimes they’ll have to discuss causes and consequences of their actions, which helps kids understand what they did and why it was wrong.
Keep in mind that quality daycare interactions should be exactly that – interactions. The caregiver should explain their point of view, but allow the children to express their own, as well.
This doesn’t just apply to negative situations, though. It’s good to discuss and point out examples of positive behavior such as helping another child, too. This helps reinforce it as a standard.
Understanding the reasoning behind their behavior provides a deeper insight into the kids’ needs, and even helps them learn how to express themselves verbally.
Kids are not yet adults, but they are people. It’s important to treat them that way.
Learning the Right Way
Preschool is typically the first time kids are expected to grasp big concepts, as we discussed in our article on selecting the right curriculum.
However, daycare is when you can let the kids run free and absorb knowledge while playing. That can be exhausting for caregivers but it’s incredibly stimulating to children who are at the stage where they learn through experiencing.
And just because there are no books, that doesn’t mean you can’t teach them new things. You don’t even have to break the children’s natural pacing to do it. Simply pay attention to what they are interested in and give them simple tasks they can do on their own.
For example, if a kid loves building houses with Lego, encourage that interest by asking them to explain it more or add on more rooms. Do your best to explain how it works in the real world and what professions are connected to it. Chances are they’re probably not going to become a construction worker or an architect, but nurturing curiosity matters. At the same time, you are also validating their interests and offering advice.
After all, the first indicator of quality daycare interactions between caregivers and kids is how well suited the interactions are to their needs.
Caregiver to child ratio matters here, as well. The more caregivers there are, the more they are able to understand every child. It’s not easy taking on more caregivers on a daycare budget, but it’s good to write it down as a long-term goal and look into ways of turning that dream into reality.
Balancing Emotions and Learning
According to the QuaKi study conducted by the Department of Early Childhood Development and Education at Thurgau University in Zurich, the most important thing is to balance emotional support and active learning support.
As in life, both are absolutely necessary.
Quality daycare interactions start with owners. As we’ve previously emphasized, employee training matters – especially if your daycare is different from others. Your methods can come from your personal experience or simply wanting to make the kids and the parents the happiest they can be, but it is important to show the caregivers what they could be doing even better.
Emotional and behavioral support is one of the things you have to keep an eye on.
Emotional atmosphere and sensitivity of caregivers matter – regulating kids’ behavior is necessary, but a caregiver who is capable of deescalating a situation helps the child both understand what went wrong and correct themselves without fearing the consequences.
Active learning, on the other hand, goes much better during guided group work. Quality daycare interactions in that sense typically include a lot of feedback and instructions, while providing the necessary emotional support.
Group work is also a great way to teach kids how to be team players, something they’re going to need later in life.
The Main Takeaways
So, how can you recognize quality daycare interactions?
1) Support and sensitivity
These come in handy with everything. That’s why it’s helpful to relieve the pressure on the caregivers’ shoulders by improving your staff-to-child ratio and providing additional training. Reinvesting your extra revenue into training always pays off in the long run, and Hopping In can help with that.
2) Supporting the natural pacing
Children are learning how to be independent and manage themselves. A good caregiver should give them enough space and support their natural development.
3) Encouraging curiosity
Every child has different needs but most children have curiosity in common. Quality daycare interactions support and encourage it.
And while typical learning starts with school, daycares are the ones in charge of giving the kids an education that is even more important than science and math – learning how to be themselves and understand the world around them.
All it takes is patience and understanding.
Author: Hopping In Blog
Sholom Strick is an expert on the business of running daycare centers and founder of Hopping In, a tool that helps childcare centers and family daycare providers fill unused spots.
To contact him or for media inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org