To daycare, or not to daycare, that is the question most parents ask in the early years of their child’s development. In the next few blogs, I will explore this dilemma from a few perspectives.
Let’s begin with the notion “Child’s play is their work”, which has been espoused by numerous experts in education and early childhood development such as Jean Piaget, Maria Montessori, James Britton, Fraser Mustard, David Elkind etc.. Albert Einstein says it best: “Play is the highest form of research”.
We begin by examining this concept through an experience that most parents have with their child – learning to ride a bicycle. As a parent, you could sit in front of the household whiteboard and familiarize your child by explaining the physics involved in riding a bicycle, but that would be an extremely problematic as the bicycle is an enduring scientific mystery that remains unsolved by physicists, engineers and mathematicians alike. But as parents know, somehow, the child solves this scientific conundrum by playing with the contraption – but not alone. The experience begins with a parent grasping the back of the seat and/or a set of training wheels. The child experiments with balance, speed, and direction, unaware that the ‘support’ provided is the main ingredient to averting a disastrous fall resulting in scrapes and bruises. Eventually, balance comes and the independence evolves into a ride devoid of physical support. But it doesn’t end there as the next stage to independent riding comes with the frequent dropping of a leg and foot to the ground to regain that elusive balance or perhaps a fall sideways to the ground.
All this time, the encouraging and nurturing words of the parent is heard in the background. Finally – freedom of motion. Research completed. Success! The key to this achievement is the support and organization of the play ensconced in an encouraging and nurturing environment.
Childcare should reflect the same experience for the child – multiple organized play experiences within a nurturing supportive environment each one building upon the other like a scaffold.
What sets the early childhood experience apart at The Giles School, and what we’re proudest of, is our commitment to view each of our children as a totally unique individual to be nourished, harnessed and molded from within. They are encouraged with respect, acceptance, high expectation and love. Children’s play is their work – nurturing and determining the play experiences is the pedagogue’s work.
In the next blog, I will examine the impact and importance of the social experience of daycare/early childhood education coupled with the play experience.