Question: How do you insure that children who are not in a structured daycare situation receive the benefits of a curriculum-based program?
Answer: The benefits of a good curriculum-based program are cognitive, social, emotional and physical growth.Children who are cared for one-on-one can actually receive a higher level of these benefits than children who are in center-based situations do. How can you give your child these benefits?
Capture your child's day-to-day "teachable moments". Look for your child's interests and build on them. For example, if your toddler picks us a leaf... you can admire it with him, help him feel the texture, playfully gather up leaves on a nature stroll, trace and craft with them, throw them up and watch them. You have also opened the door to a world of trees, the animals that live in them the growth of plants and so much more. These simple ideas and activities can become your spontaneously developed curriculum. Each enhances your child's cognitive, fine and gross motor skills. Most important, building on you child's own interests, builds an excitement of learning.
Assess your child's development levels. Is your child developmentally delayed or accelerated in specific areas? While a typical center curriculum must plan "average" curriculum lessons--one-on-one allows you to tailor activities to your child's needs. Learning can happen at the level in each of your child's developmental areas. For example, it is common that a child, who may excel in one skill area such as speech and language, may lag in another area such as gross motor skill.
Incorporate your child's passions. Passion is the difference between doing an activity just to get it done and doing it from the heart. Whether your child is passionate about building trains, or dancing or a purple dinosaur, incorporating his interests into a structured curriculum helps him retain knowledge. Are exciting changes happening in your child's life? A move, a new sibling or an upcoming vacation may become more meaningful and valued if incorporated into a planned curriculum. Make sure activities are hands-on, fun and exciting for your child. Get on the floor with your child. See the world with him as you enjoy activities together. These are the building blocks for long-term retention in a young child.
Make sure your plans are flexible. Work around you child's natural energy cycles.
Research and gather activity ideas and information regarding early childhood education from teacher stores, books stores, libraries and the Internet. Clip ideas!
Use community resources to form playgroups.
Go on field trips relating to your curriculum themes. And,
Remember that attention spans are limited and build gradually.
You can also insure your child receives developmental play and activities by hiring a caregiver that is trained and experienced in a child-related field...and requiring her to develop a curriculum based on your child. Individuals placed through TeacherCare typically hold degrees and hands on experience in Child Development. Each TeacherCaregiver tailors a playful program based on the developmental level, interest and needs of each child in the home.