Making decisions regarding care for your child can be daunting and overwhelming. Choosing the right quality childcare that meets the needs and values of your family requires time, energy and research into your options. Nannies may be an option that some parents consider, alongside daycare and preschool. It is important to consider the value of preschool which offers a multitude of benefits for your child that will foster their lifelong learning.
A preschool is provincially regulated to meet quality standards, including the educational requirements of the educators. When hiring a nanny, their qualifications and background in childcare can be impressive, however, preschool educators are trained to understand the developmental pathways children typically follow. They are trained to understand that core development is spread across four different domains: the physical, the cognitive, the language and the social-emotional domains. Educators also recognize that there are time-stamped windows of opportunity to ensure optimal growth across these different developmental domains. Their goal is to ensure children in their daycare receive the experiences required to wire their brains to guarantee this optimal development. Children in preschools are in an environment where they are exposed to multiple levels of shared guidance and supervision. The expression “It takes a village” rings true here whereby educators form a team to best guide and nurture your children, instead of having just one caretaker if parents were to select a nanny.
As children develop their social-emotional skills, the value of group settings allows them to practice vital skills in communication and collaboration. Being cared for by a nanny exposes children to a very small amount of daily socialization, with no other children around. Young infants demonstrate empathy together, a lifelong trait that fostered early, will support relationships as they grow. As children climb the social bridge of development, they practice problem-solving and conflict resolution. Working together in a toddler or preschool group with other children provides a learning space for critical-thinking and respecting the ideas of others. In this inclusive daycare environment, children build skills that will support them through all ages of stages of their life.
As children age and become school-ready, it is of the utmost importance they feel safe, secure and confident to take risks with their learning. It is also critical they are able to manage within a group setting, allowing their individuality to shine while valuing the contributions of others. High-quality daycare settings set this stage, and prepare children to manage the more structured environments, challenges, and stress that can accompany the environments of the higher-grade school settings.
Choosing a quality preschool for your child has a positive long-term impact. Once you have made this important decision, you can support your child’s transition by including them in the transition. Arrange orientation visits prior to your child’s start date. Visit with your child and foster relationship with the educators who will be a tremendous part of your child’s life. This can be a hard transition for parents too and your child’s educators will be a support to help make it easier.
Once you have made your decision, be sure to include children’s literature that reinforces the excitement of starting a new learning adventure. Some recommendations are:
- Preschool Day Hooray! – Linda Leopold Strauss
- Maisy Goes to Preschool – Lucy Cousins
- Friends at School – Rochelle Burnett
- Bye-Bye Time – Elizabeth Verdick
Authors: Susie Martin & Sharon Pauwels – Education Coaches