When you choose a daycare, you no doubt look at a number of factors, including the condition of the facilities, the qualifications of the staff, and the number of children present. One factor you may not consider in depth is the quality of play opportunities offered to the children. You want your children to learn and be safe at daycare, but they also need enough playtime to develop properly.
Reduced Play Time
Decades ago, no one worried about how much time kids spent playing. The expectation was that they would play for hours every day. Kids played after school and on the weekends and had generous time for play at school. Studies show that play time has been drastically reduced in recent years. Schools and even daycare facilities have beefed up their "academics" in response to more stringent educational goals in the public and private school systems. Kids are now expected to know much more by the time they enter kindergarten, including writing and some reading.
At home, things are often just as busy. Parents are often busy shuttling children to various activities and helping them with their homework. Time to just play is often not on the schedule.
Because family life is so hectic, "child-driven" playtime is greatly restricted which can contribute to behavior issues with children. Parents need to take the time and play with children, letting the child take the lead. The only goal is to be together and to communicate in a non-pressure environment. It encourages parents to go to the child's "level," which improves parent-child relationships. Also, everyone can simply have fun together, making the family bond stronger.
Children who play outside, in particular, use their imaginations more. They also reduce their stress when they spend more unstructured time outside. These children do better in several academic areas, including math, reading, and critical thinking. They also tend to have fewer behavior problems in the classroom. The benefits extend to college where students who spent more time outside when they were younger did better in science courses.
When you choose a daycare or preschool (like Mendon Child Care Ctr), you need to pick one that offers children plenty of free playtime. When your children play, they are learning as well as having fun. Today's overly structured world often robs even very young children of these opportunities. Make sure that your child can play freely each and every day.