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The Importance of Choosing Childcare that Suits Your Child

Preschools and Kindergartens

Research shows that choosing childcare that suits your child's specific needs, preferences, and learning style plays an integral role in determining the extent of his or her success in life. According to the U.S. Department of Education, quality childcare—especially preschool—is a significant determiner of your child's academic success later in life, since children in high-quality preschools tend to have better language, cognitive, and social skills than children in lower-quality preschools. Studies also show that these children generally have longer attention spans, stronger social abilities, and more advanced language and math skills. While determining which day care or preschool to take your child to may seem like a small matter initially, it is important to understand how learning to play with objects like crayons and pipe cleaners can actually affect your child substantially.

Consider Philosophy when Choosing Childcare

One of the most important aspects to consider when choosing childcare is the philosophy of the day care or preschool you select. Different day cares and preschools follow various philosophies of education, such as learning by doing versus learning by listening. When you examine the philosophy of various locations, you should keep a few key points in mind:

  • To what extent can children make choices about topics they learn and when they learn these?
  • How much activity is teacher-directed versus child-directed?
  • Does the school take children's emotional and social growth seriously?
  • Do the environment, activities, and attitudes the teachers exhibit suit your child's personality?
  • How involved in activities are parents, and how actively do administrators seek out parents' ideas and help?

Consider Hours of Operation when Choosing Childcare

When choosing childcare, another important thing to keep in mind is the day care's or school's hours, since these may differ drastically depending on whether you need a day care or preschool for your child. In many cases, preschool programs are only for half a day, whereas day care programs tend to accommodate parents who work outside the home better. However, many child-care centers combine aspects of preschool and day care by offering extended hours. These settings can be perfect for young children because they set aside time for more home-like activities such as snacks in the morning and afternoon, afternoon naps, quiet playing, and free play in the afternoons.

Whether you need a day care center, preschool, or childcare program that offers elements of both, you should always remember that choosing childcare is an extremely important decision, and you should always search for an atmosphere that caters to your child's learning style and preferences. While no childcare center is perfect in every aspect, taking measures to choose one that is best for your child can ultimately play a key role in determining his or her future success.

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