By Julia Gorham
Children’s growth and development are shaped and influenced by their environment. Growth is enhanced through nurturing and responsive care. Children’s intellectual and psychological development are fostered through a stimulating environment that provides new challenges, opportunities for learning and positive interactions. The ideal school environment for your child will have positive effects on your child’s growth and development. Celebrating each child’s unique qualities and personalities, where children work at their own pace according to their own skills is an important ingredient to ensure a successful educational foundation for you child. This will allow your child to gain the skills necessary for their successful schooling years that lie ahead.
Research continues to demonstrate that high quality teaching programmes make a difference in a child’s development and family relationships (Tucker – Drob 2014). Children enrolled in care high- quality care show long- term gains in language and cognitive skills, improving school readiness and fewer problem behaviours. Researchers have identified three characteristics to high quality early child hood programmes (Ma et al, Hebbler, Spiker and Kanhn) with the following:
- Small group size
- Low teacher – child ratio
- Teachers who have advanced educational training in early childhood education and child development as well as teaching experience.
Families should take time to consider the time to question their children’s learning programme and that this should include:
- Physical facilities.
- Attention to children’s adversity.
- Educational activities should include high quality educational equipment for indoors and outdoors.
- Early education programmes learning experiences should address children’s needs across developmental areas including: physical, cognitive, motor, sensory social emotional, language and self care.
- Health services (Trained teaching staff, registration with the health and social services, school procedures including health, safety records, emergency care , clean, safe indoor and outdoor environments etc.)
- Teachers’ qualifications.
- Regular parent correspondence to keep parents informed.
- Children’s assessments.
Teachers who work in high quality teaching programmes often bring special personal qualities and skills to their position. They value communication and how to develop meaningful relationships with children, and families.They understand and respect diversity and make it a priority. They also possess qualities of warmth, patience, nurturing and sensitivity to children’s needs, respecting individual differences. These qualities will have a positive effect on young children’s lives.
Your choice of your child’s toddler and preschool education is important.
Take the time to ensure that your child is provided with the best start in life!