There are many different types of early childhood education. Whether education is being provided at an in home family daycare, daycare center, preschool, or Head Start, all of these programs fill an important niche in our communities. Someone phrased it to me very well the other day, “If you guys (child care providers) don’t do well at your job, none of us can do well at ours.” Essentially, if early childhood educators don’t provide quality and sustainability for our families, then the entire workforce breaks down. That seems pretty important!
The myth of the babysitter
Playing with children all day, resting during naptime. Watching lots of tv. What a great way to spend your adulthood! These are pretty common misconceptions regarding a daycare provider (particularly if you work out of your home). We don’t sit on babies (they’re little, and they don’t like it). The demands put upon the in-home family daycare provider are probably the highest in the early education field. While we’ve all heard the horror stories of a chain smoking negligent in home “daycare lady”, there needs to be a clear line drawn. Quality in home providers can facilitate one of the best environments for children. If you are an in home provider live up to the high standards. Register with the state, attend trainings, have support providers so you don’t burn out, and be proud of your profession. If you aren’t an in home provider, find out about the good ones and support them in their career.
The myth of the babystealer
I was visiting with another center director about a month ago. She voiced that one of the challenges she faces from her community are the stay at home moms who are disdainful toward a business that is focused around enabling mothers to return to work and “abandon” their babies. I wish I was making this up. We don’t steal babies. We acknowledge that the ability to stay home with their children is a wonderful choice that many people make. We also acknowledge that it is not the choice that many wish to make or are able to (South Dakota being in the top rankings in the nation for single parent households AND dual income households). That is where quality, caring professionals come in to fill a societal need. P.S. Refer to my previous blog regarding The Myth of the Money Making Preschool if you think we’re stealing babies as part of a plan to become millionaires.
The myth of the over educator
There is a lot of buzz about whether or not preschool education pushes too much too soon. Parents can be hesitant to enroll their children in preschool because they want their children to have more time to just be kids, or the parents themselves were never in preschool, or because the parents disliked school in general. If a family needs care, then a program that offers preschool can be a wonderful addition to their child’s early years. The main objectives in preschool are generally not academic goals, but social goals. Preschool serves as an intermediary between the family home and the public or private school system. It prepares children for a more structured environment and enables them to interact with their peers, both of which are important skills for success in kindergarten. A good preschool environment will be balanced, anything that is high pressure in not conducive for early learning.
The myth of the under educator
Children learn very effectively during play. Play is recognized as a viable teaching tool with proper implementation. Learning during play takes a lot of planning on the part of the early childhood educator, and can involve a lot of interaction and/or observation when it is taking place. Learning through play does not grant the educator the ability to sit back and do nothing as students simply “play.” It is important to be aware if an educator is using the play based method correctly. For more information about learning through play, look at Let Them Play: An Early Learning (Un)Curriculum by Denita Dinger and Jeff Johnson.
It is important to be aware of the myths surrounding early childhood education, and to be prepared to dispel them. While the first facility providing full day nursery school in the United States was founded in Boston in 1838, we are still navigating a field where acceptance is relatively new and standards are rapidly changing and improving.
Thank you for reading Early Education Plantation! I encourage you to share what you read, and be sure to follow to receive my free eBook and weekly blog reminders in your inbox! I particularly love the “play” illustration. I received it during CDA training and can’t credit its original source, but it is one of my favorites!