Daycare And Development: What Is Your Child Learning?

Daycare is much more than a place where your child goes while you're away. Yes, the caring center staff will watch your child, making sure she's happy and healthy all day long, but that's not all. Your child will also get the chance to learn, grow and develop. What new skills and abilities will your child build during her daycare days? Take a look at the major developmental areas and how child care impacts them.

Social Development

Your child isn't born knowing how to share, take turns or listen politely when someone else speaks. She learned these behaviors by practicing them. Daycare provides the perfect learning environment for young children to practice social skills. Whether it's taking turns during a game, sharing finger paints or creating a drama-filled scene in the dress-up area, what may seem like simple child's play actually helps your child to build valuable social skills.

Emotional Development

Handling powerful emotions isn't always easy for the young child. Without the words to express feelings or the self-regulation skills to control them, an emotional outburst is common (if not expected) under stressful situations. Daycare teachers can help toddlers and preschoolers to learn emotion words (such as happy, sad, angry), correctly identify emotions and use their growing vocabulary to express their feelings. This may happen through everyday experiences, such as when one child takes another child's toy, or through activities that focus on identifying emotions.

Cognitive Development

During daycare, your child is building mental skills that she'll use right now and as she eventually moves into the school years. Not only is she learning about subjects such as science, math and social studies, but she's also developing problem-solving and critical thinking skills and improving her memory and recall. This type of skill-building happens during both formal and informal activities. For example, your child practices memory skills when the teacher asks her to recall the parts of a story that the class just heard. But she also develops other cognitive skills, such as problem-solving, when interacting with her classmates and through everyday play experiences.

Physical Development

There are two types of motor skills that your child is building — fine (small or hand motor skills) and gross (movements of large muscle groups). The daycare teacher can help your child to build fine motor skills in a variety of ways, including art-making, using scissors, writing or tracing letters, stringing beads, manipulating small toys or building with blocks. Your child gets the chance to develop gross motor skills through creative movement exercises, dancing, and outdoor play.

Daycare isn't a glorified group babysitting arrangement. It's a place where your child gets the chance to learn and develop, while still getting the loving care she needs when you're at work or school. From identifying emotions to picking up a pencil, your little one is spending her days building skills that she'll use now and for a long time to come.