As a parent, you want your child to have the best possible care while you’re busy. You want to rest easy knowing that they’re in good hands and that they’ll have a fun, enriching time when they’re away from you. Not all daycare facilities are equal in value or care, however. If you’re looking for daycare, childcare, and early childhood care options in Gardner, here are a few things to consider.
Daycare vs Childcare vs Early Childhood Care
Have you seen these terms in your search? “Daycare,” “childcare,” and “early childhood care.” On the surface, these terms may seem like they’re referring to the same thing, but there are actually a few key differences. Not all centers are created equal.
Daycare is usually just a place where children simply stay for a few hours with some activities and supervision to keep them occupied. But childcare doesn’t put the convenience of adults first—it focuses on the developmental needs of the child. Early childhood care has a similar focus.
Childcare centers like Little Stepping Stones prioritize education and enrichment. They design special curriculums to help children work on hard and soft skills through early childhood educational programming. And for those who need special attention, these centers can work structured learning and goal-based lessons into the child’s program. Behavioral specialists are also available to help young children manage their emotions and build coping skills.
The importance of these differences, though, depends entirely on what you are looking for as a parent in your child care. Ask yourself:
- What outcomes are most important to me?
- What can early childhood care provide my child that I can’t on a regular basis?
- Will my child’s special needs be met?
- Is flexibility with scheduling more important, or having opportunities for academic achievement?
Little Stepping Stones is a great resource for finding the right answers for you. Consider some of these benefits as you think about what you want for your child.
Benefits of Early Childhood Care
Regular Schedules and Routines
Even at a young age, routines and schedules are helpful for children’s intellectual development and growth. Having structured times for playing, eating, learning and other activities help shape a toddler’s behavior—which will benefit your schedule when they’re at home with you.
Various scientific studies show that kids who spend time in development-focused childcare have higher cognitive performance as teens. Sending your kids to early childhood care can contribute to their future success. Some centers even offer basic classes on grade school subjects geared towards pre-school and younger kids. Or they find creative ways to work reading, writing, math, and other skills into playtime activities.
Build Skills Like Independence, Confidence, and Communication
Spending time away from home in a supportive environment will help your kids get used to not having you around all the time, avoiding separation anxiety, and instilling independence. Tasks like organizing toys, putting on clothes, and retrieving personal items for lessons and activities will help children learn independence and accountability. Being around others will teach them not only to be comfortable and confident in social settings but also how to communicate well with new people. And if your child struggles in any of these areas, the childcare team will personally help them overcome any challenges.
Children learn about behavior and personalities being around others. Through guided opportunities, they’re able to learn how to interact, communicate, and play in a positive and fulfilling way. Centers also prioritize emotional development and work this into lessons and activities, even on an individual basis. And if your child has any specific needs regarding certain behaviors, professionals at the center can work with your child to grow in those areas.
Smoother Transition to School
If your child is used to the structure and routines of early childhood care, transitioning to kindergarten or primary school will be much easier than if they went to daycare. And if the center focuses on academic advancement, they will have a head start on their classmates in their education.
Time for Fun and Socialization
Of course, kids need time to play, have fun, and just be kids! No need to schedule playdates—they’ll have lots of opportunities to make new friends at childcare. Not only will they have the toys, tools, and supervision to play safely, but they can make friendships that may last for years to come.
Give Your Child the Best Childcare at Little Stepping Stones
Not only do we understand the difference between daycare and childcare, but Little Stepping Stones has developed an inclusive, comprehensive program that puts children and their developmental needs first. Our staff is dedicated to you and your child getting the best care, and we’d love to work with you. Request a tour of our facility today to see how your child can start on a path to success.