The Role of Daycare in Early Childhood Education: An In-depth Analysis

The role of daycare in early childhood education isn’t always as clear-cut as people make it seem. Here’s the role daycare should really play in a child’s education.

#1: Daycare should support parents, not replace parenting.

In the current economy, it is sometimes very difficult for one parent to stay home while the other works. Many households rely on two incomes in order to stay afloat. Additionally, single parents need someone to look after their kids while they work. This is usually where daycare comes in. The purpose, however, of daycare is not to raise the kids or replace parents but to look after them while their parents work.

This means a daycare should be a warm, loving place filled with qualified, trained people who know how to work with kids. If a child stirs up trouble or has difficulty getting along with others, teachers ought to communicate this with parents and figure out the best way to handle the behavior together. Nothing can or should replace the love, care, and nurturing of parents/guardians.

#2: Quality daycare makes all the difference in the world.

There’s a big difference between quality daycare and subpar daycare, and it isn’t always easy to tell the difference between the two. Just because a daycare has a structured program with a stellar curriculum doesn’t mean it’s a good place to send your child! A quality daycare will have a positive influence on your child’s education. Vice versa, a low-quality daycare will have a negative influence.

“The effects of daycare on infants, toddlers, and children have been well-researched and continue to present similar findings over many years and countries. Studies show a positive connection between quality child development daycare programs and improved social, emotional, and cognitive growth. However, not all daycares are created equal, and the quality of a daycare program is a vital piece of the puzzle.”

-Cadence Education

If your child is coming home from daycare overly hyper or fatigued, it might be that the daycare you have chosen isn’t providing quality care.

#3: Your child’s feedback matters.

A good way to know whether or not daycare is playing a positive or negative role in your child’s education is to ASK your child about their experience. Does your child enjoy daycare? Why or why not? Are they encouraged to be creative and make friends? While plenty of learning can happen at daycare, it isn’t school and should never feel like school. Invite your child to share about their day and use the information to determine whether or not the daycare you’ve chosen is a good fit for them.

#4: Play is important.

Play is just as important to childhood education as math, reading, and other subjects. Therefore, a childcare program should always include play. In his book You Are Special: Neighborly Words of Wisdom from Mister Rogers, Fred Rogers said:

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. At various times, play is a way to cope with life and to prepare for adulthood. Playing is a way to solve problems and to express feelings. In fact, play is the real work of childhood.”

Anyone can print worksheets and drill your child in numbers and letters. It takes intentionality, wisdom, care, and time to create a daycare program that prioritizes play.

The Smokerise team understands that your child’s needs are multi-faceted. We consider it a privilege and a tremendous responsibility to be entrusted with your children. We aim to provide them with a caring environment in which they can learn, grow, and have fun! Let us know if you have any questions about our childcare program.