Infants are exploring the world and practicing new skills constantly. They are learning with all of their senses and using their whole bodies. When weighing your child care options, consider the many benefits that an educational infant program can help provide for your baby:
- Having the opportunity to socialize with other infants – he listens to other children, bonding and connecting with them
- Forming attachments with adults other than her family – the more attachments with adults, the better for your child’s social-emotional growth
- Benefiting from teachers who are trained in early childhood education and know what to expect from your child developmentally, and how to stimulate your child’s learning
- Receiving learning opportunities such as sensory experiences, art, fine and large motor development with grabbing, pushing, dancing and singing, collecting, dumping, sorting, storytelling, reading time with a teacher, cognitive experiences where she gets to solve problems as she is inspecting and exploring. Infants learn best by building on what they know so their skills can grow
- Having the opportunity to explore, experiment with, and discover new skills with a variety of materials and centers throughout the classroom
Key qualities to look for when evaluating what an educational child care provider has to offer include these types of environments and interactions:
- Considerable thought and planning by teachers
- Adjusting to individual infants’ needs
- Families clearly having a place in the classroom, indicated by such things as photos of families displayed in the room, as well as information available about a child’s day and learning
- Teachers who realize that along with the everyday tasks of feeding, changing and napping your infant comes the much-needed quality time to be in the moment with your baby
Ongoing research by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development also suggests that children in quality daycare centers may even have an intellectual edge over those in other kinds of care. When researchers compared children who attended quality daycare with those in other, equally high-quality child care situations, children in centers performed a little better on tests.
Only you can make the best decision for your baby. There is nothing like the feeling of knowing that your child’s needs are being met in the best way possible, so your child can be safe, secure and happy.