One of the questions parents are often faced with after the birth of their child is whether to put their child in child care. The need for care tends to arise due to work commitments however, more families are choosing an early learning environment to develop their child’s sense of wellbeing, ensuring the socialisation skills learned will help them interact with others and their environments.
An early learning child care environment provides children with many social techniques, providing many of the basic building blocks to help shape your child’s adult life experiences. Problem solving, negotiating, establishing new friendships, conflict resolution, empathy, respect, responsibility and sharing are amongst some of the foundations developed at a young age.
Brain development of children at a preschool age is both crucial and dynamic as this is the time in a child’s life that the brain develops by socially interacting with others. During this age “brain development is characterized by its blossoming nature, showing some of its most dynamic and elaborative anatomical and physiological changes”. (Brown & Jernigan, 2013)
Key benefits of socialisation skills developed in child care
- A play-based learning environment allows children to be part of a productive learning environment. We observe and listen to what the children are interested in and plan activities to develop their knowledge and social skills. This sets children up well for later years, as they continue to learn and explore independently or as part of a group.
- Forming friendships and learning to cooperate is important, as they learn right from wrong. They learn rules and routines and that there are consequences for breaking rules. Learning to listen whilst someone else is speaking and to sit as part of a group.
- Communicating their needs by learning to recognise that others have feelings and boundaries. Learning to be polite and respectful of others, within their learning environment.
- Becoming independent and having the confidence to discover new topics and eagerness to learn independently. The children learn to socially ask questions and debate during projects, whilst participating in meaningful experiences.
- Children become researchers and are active constructors of knowledge.
- Children explore and question things and have fun becoming partners with parents and teachers during the learning process.
Child care allows for many children and educators to be exposed to a structured and learning environment. In a child care setting, young children are given the social interaction that they need with children their age. They also learn about discipline and the consequences of their behaviour and what reactions are fitting and which ones are not, simply through social signs they’ve learnt in their surroundings. Such an environment also provides consistency of care which further helps to cement the different stages of their social development.
Socialisation Skills and Kindergarten
The social skills developed in the preschool setting (pre-kindergarten age) will help your child to socially transition to kindergarten and then to school successfully. Your child will be better prepared both socially and emotionally for the transition to a new environment.
One of the most common problems faced by children who do not attend kindergarten is separation anxiety. It can be difficult for them to adjust to new environments as easily as those who do attend kindergarten. Children learn to separate from caregivers whilst attending kindergarten and adjust to new environments, such as the school setting, more easily.
Catering to your child’s social needs
Every child’s social developmental stage, however, is different, and in a child care and preschool setting environment, the centre will cater to your child’s social needs. At Inspira Kids, we are committed to helping and guiding all children from 6 weeks to 6 years of age develop their social skills through our Habits of Mind and play-based programs, curriculum and Reggio Emilia Centres.
A Reggio Emilia inspired curriculum prepares children to engage in group learning communities. Socially this improves their ability to share knowledge and become interested in learning new things. In primary school children will work together on projects and discover new interests.
Ultimately, a child care and preschool setting provides children with the care required to develop a strong sense of identity, to connect with and contribute to their world, become confident and involved learners, and effective communicators to help them become strong in their social wellbeing.