Programming is the key difference between a professional child care service and a child minding service. Child minding is primarily concerned with keeping the child safe, clean and fed. In the past many children’s services were minding services and the education of the child was left to the kindergartens and schools. This has changed.
Today childcare services are expected to offer a stimulating educational program for children, as well as providing the children with their nutritional, hygiene and safety needs. This applies to all different types of child care services: Out of school hours programs, family day care, occasional care residential care and long day care. For children to be offered a stimulating and satisfying time in care it must be planned for, it doesn’t happen on its own.
What is involved in a program and it’s planning?
Sometimes it might look as if the children are just running around and having fun; it seems as if no thought has been invested in what they are doing. However this is not the case. A lot of time and effort goes into planning a suitable program and routine for each room and the individual child.
Program planning is an ongoing process that the staff go through to set up a suitable program that meets the needs and interests of the children. Staff plan these learning experiences based on what they observe about the individual children. They formulate experiences that match the children’s needs, interests and stages of development.
The program is made up of all the activities, learning experiences, routines and staff/child interactions that happen in day care. All these things need to be planned for, carried out and evaluated.
Program planning isn’t a matter of keeping the children busy. The programs are based on individual and group needs and interests. To establish these things staff make careful observations of the children over periods of time and then analyse and interpret the observations. Experiences are then created for the children based on these observations and the child’s development level.
So how can parents help and be involved?
There are many things parents and families can do to help with their child’s development. Offering the staff information about their child in their home environment can be very beneficial and helpful when a staff is programming for your child. Supplying staff with a copy of their child’s home routine can help a staff member to better understand a child’s needs. Also any information about a child’s background, their likes and dislikes and their family helps us to create a bigger picture of a child’s development.
Staff and families working together help to offer a child a better learning environment. You can be further involved by asking the staff what the children are learning about or what areas of their development they are focusing on for their child and offering activities in these areas at home can aid in your child development.
Individual planning and observations and how it works.
An educator observes the children during play and extend their play based on child’s interest or need. A child’s development can be grouped under four main areas:
*Physical (fine and gross motor)
*Cognitive (intellectual) development
Staff record information about these areas using many different types of records such as time samples, developmental summaries, anecdotal records, checklists and lots more. These are then evaluated by the staff and focus areas are developed were the staff can aid in the child’s development. The children are placed in focus groups and a program is then created with all these factors in mind.
*All programs are displayed in the rooms and parent input sheets are available on request. Please feel free to speak to Room Leader with any of your questions or concerns and we will do our best to keep you informed about your child’s development.