Six reasons why Early Childhood Education is a great step for your child (and you!)
The thought of returning to work after a few months (or years) at home with your wee one is daunting, right? Throw in worrying about your child starting daycare and it’s enough to guarantee some new grey hairs!
The good news is that enrolling your child in a quality early childhood centre can be a really positive experience for both of you, now and in the future. We’re often talking to parents about what they love about early childhood education and it prompted us to share the following six reasons why childcare centres are good for children, and mums!
#1: They meet their milestones
The latest research comparing children being cared for at home versus in a quality childcare centre shows that by the age of two there’s no difference in them meeting their milestones. And by the age of three, children do better if they’re in a childcare centre (particularly with language and cognitive skills) than being cared for at home.
#2: Academically ahead
The key word here is quality. A quality childcare centre (as defined by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in a recent study) offers "extensive interaction with care providers, support and cognitive boosting activities". This study, monitoring more than 1,300 children, was the first to track children for over a decade after they left child care. One of its core findings was the children who received high quality childcare before starting school, performed better academically as a teenager.
#3: Smooth transition to school
Starting school is a massive learning curve for both your child, and you. Anything that can help make this transition easier has got to be a good thing! The similarities of a childcare centre and the classroom will give your child a sense of familiarity, from the way each day follows a routine, to parts of the day like mat time and free play. One of the biggest learning curves in the classroom is how to interact with other children. From their experience in a childcare centre, your child will already understand the concepts of cooperation, sharing and being responsible for themselves. All of this will stand your little learner in good stead for the challenges ahead!
#4: Peace of mind for you!
Every childcare centre in the country comes under the care of the Ministry of Education, who conduct ERO (Education Review Office) reports regularly, just like schools. So, even before you visit a centre you can do your homework and see what their latest review is like. You can see if the centre aligns with your values, what its teaching team is like and if there is anywhere they need to improve. All of our centres are on four year ERO reviews - which puts us in the top 10 percent of centres in New Zealand. Our Papamoa Centre was reviewed in September 2017, and we are pretty chuffed with what the reviewer had to say!
#5: Routine to thrive in
We know children learn everywhere they go, but being in a regular routine at a childcare centre is hugely beneficial to their learning. They get to make friends, be independent and learn communication skills, all while knowing they have a structure to their day that provides stability for them to thrive. Each day your child can expect periods of uninterrupted play, time to eat, time to nap and quiet time. They can rely on the rhythm of the day and anticipate what will be happening next - every part of their day helps to set them up to be confident, fun-loving little individuals.
#6: Happy mum = happy home
That’s right, it’s a win-win! Studies have shown having your child enrolled in a quality childcare centre, can improve your own mental health and wellbeing. Renowned sociologist (and Harvard University Professor) Mario Small says: "mothers using childcare reap social, psychological and even financial rewards". Even a small amount of interaction with other parents has been shown to be a big mood booster. A study by the University of Chicago found that parents had lower levels of depression and less financial hardships by having their children in care.
So as your first day at work looms, know that enrolling your child in a quality childcare centre will boost your own mental health and set your child on a positive (and fun!) path towards school and beyond.
When you’re ready to find the Centre that best fits your family, there are New Shoots Children's Centres around Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. We would love to meet you and your child!
If you’re interested in learning more about New Shoots centres, our website is a great place to start.
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We love what we do, and we look forward to welcoming you into our community!