This is a great question Heidi!! You can help soooooo much to get the most out of your child’s day at Child Care!!
Did you know that part of a centre being accredited (being able to operate) is that they need to provide evidence of how they collaborate with families!!! This means that they really want your input, ideas, help, concerns, etc. By you telling your teachers what your child is interested in, you open up possibilities of the teachers being able to extend on this interest and develop a deeper understanding (this is how children learn).
Does your child have a ‘portfolio’? How do the teachers keep records of learning of your child? It is another requirement of accreditation that your child’s learning is assessed, planned, documented and evaluated. The best way teachers can get a ‘holistic’ view of your child is to offer observations of them at home. If your child has a portfolio, take it home regularly and add photos of things you do at home, that means something to your child and your family. It could be a note that your child is now able to climb to the top of a tree at home, this is important because the teacher mightn’t observe climbing at the child care centre and might think that they are not able to do it.
Talk to you teachers about how your child’s day was? What did they do today? This way you can talk to your child about it at home or even extend on the learning they have obtained at childcare. Miss 4 learnt alot about bees at Kindy and we were able to take her to ‘Super Bee’ (where we saw inside working bee hives), she’s now a bit of an expert. If your child really enjoys the wooden blocks at childcare, maybe introduce some more construction into your toy box at home.
Some other suggestions are to add food into your child’s lunch box that they don’t eat at home. I add a few capsicum, celery sticks and grape tomatoes. Some times being in a ‘social’ situation with positive healthy messages about food, these items come home ‘tasted’. It is another requirement of accreditation that healthy eating is promoted. We do alot of work with talking about vegetables at Kindy and even name the vitamins and minerals that the children are receiving when they eat a particular food. Just because they wont eat it at home doesn’t mean you should stop offering it!!
Finally, the wonderful joy that teachers get when parents organise play dates!!! This is such a great way to establish friendships for your child. I will sometimes recommend to parents that they have a play date with a few friends to help their child with social development. If your child plays with a few children at childcare, pop your number into their child’s bags and role model actions of friendship to your children.
I have added the links to the National Accreditation Standards (ACECQA), its interesting to see what needs to be occurring in your childcare centres.
Quality standard 6: Collaborative partnership with families and community
Quality standard 2: Children’s health and safety
Quality standard 1: Educational program and practice