Creating a Supportive Environment
A safe and comfortable environment is crucial to your child’s language development. Warm and caring relationships at home promote a healthy environment for learning. Child care can be an equally warm and supportive place for your child’s learning and development to continue. The interaction your child will have with the other caretakers and children will certainly affect and could enhance your child’s learning experience. Taking your child to places in your community, such as the library or the zoo, also supports learning by introducing your child to new words and real life experiences. Even a trip to the grocery store can become a fun and exciting expedition and an important learning experience.
Playing is one more way children learn. Playing fun and creative games support your child’s language development, too.
Try to find a balance between activities that your child does alone and those that involve interacting with others. Encourage playtime with other children. This will benefit your child’s language development, as well as emphasize the importance of sharing and friendship.
Many working parents cannot be with their children all day. Even so, parents should make time to talk, listen, and read to their children on a regular basis. For parents who cannot be with their children all day, child care is an option that–if chosen wisely–will not hinder, and could even help, a child’s development.
Much of your child’s learning and language development will take place outside of the home, oftentimes in a child care facility. If the child care environment is positive, the effects on your child’s development will be positive.
Important things to look for when choosing a facility are:
- the teacher’s experience level
- the teacher’s educational background
- the ratio of children to teacher
- the amount of shared reading time
- the physical environment
These tend to play a large role in whether or not child care will be a positive learning environment for your child. Take the time to find a child care program that provides quality interactions–both one on one with the provider as well as among the children–and one that is right for your child.
For more information on child care in your community or how to choose the best care for your child, try the following sites:
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) helps parents find out whether or not the child care facility they have chosen has been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).There are many other useful resources.
The National Child Care Information Center (NCCIC) helps parents choose child care facilities. It also provides links to many other children’s organizations.
The National Network for Child Care (NNCC) provides information for professionals and families who care for children and youth. The site includes an e-mail discussion group, a chance to ask a specialist questions regarding child care, and links to many other resources.
There are lots of exciting places in your community to take your child. A trip to the zoo, a walk in a state park, or a visit to a children’s museum can all become fun adventures, but so can a trip to the grocery store or a visit to your workplace. The library is a great place to allow your child to explore new books. Also, many libraries host reading activities that are fun and exciting for children. When you visit one of these places, talk with your child and ask him questions about his experience. Ask him to point out new things that he sees. Let him explore this new environment and help him learn about it.
For more information on libraries in your community, go to LIBWEB: Library Services Via WWW. This site provides a comprehensive list of all the public, academic and national libraries in the United States and around the world.
A comprehensive description of US zoos can be found at the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
The National Park Service, Park Net provides information about national parks in America.