My son attends since a few weeks a toddlers group, part time. And he is happy, there. I want to share in this post some of the thoughts and considerations which let us to that decision.
First of all, I want to make clear that we would never give him into a child care center, if we were not 100 % satisfied with the quality of the care, especially with the quality of the teachers.
But given that, there remain still some pros and cons.
Let me first go to the pro side:
- A child needs outside contacts. He needs to interact with other children and also with other grown up people. Now we do not live on the moon, there are children around, and in summer we spent a lot of time on the playground next to our house. But in winter, this is more difficult. And a structured approach does also help.
- The next point to consider is about learning speech and languages. We are a bilingual family, talking at home mostly English. But since we live in Germany, it is essential that our child gets early and consistent exposure to German language. We already observed that he takes German language important, because he sees that everybody speaks that language outside the house.
Now the contra, which are also there:
- At home, in a one to one situation, we can guide our child and show him in a one to one situation, how to do things which a child care center can never allow to a toddler. But the fact I he likes to help in the household, he wants to cook with us coffee, potatoes, and rise. Obviously, he cannot do this alone. But with one to one attention he learns that there are also dangerous things in the world, which need to be handled by care (like a glass full of water or juice) and how to handle delicate things.
- At home, we can also allow him to play with toys, which are important for his motoric, like a wooden hammer. In the toddles group it would never be possible to provide that, because the danger is too big, that one child would take such a toy for a moment without supervision, and possibly hurt another child.
We decided to bring him half days into the care center, and he is very happy with it. But in the afternoon at home, we still take care of him at home, provide one to one support and encourage him to explore what is there. This can involve slicing eggs, operating the hoover, switching TV and computer, clean eye glasses etc. I sincerely believe that we consistently underestimate children, and that we limit them with our beliefs. Even worse would be, if we create believes in them limiting them and create a habit of thinking “I cannot, I am too small to do this, I am too weak to do that, I am too stupid to try such things.” To see from time to time a broken glass is a small price for fostering a can do attitude in a child.
What do you think about it?