In our three part series, we’ve been discussing topics on how to choose an early childhood education program that, you as a caregiver or parent, are happy and enthusiastic about. An early learning program needs to not only be up to par with the current science-based evidence in early childhood education, but it needs to employ instructors who are more than just warm bodies. In part three, we’ll continue to look at the teacher/child dynamic further and how they handle different activities and interactions situations.
Observing essential interactions
In a standard day in an early childhood education program, both your child and the instructor will have countless interactions with each other and with the other children, so while you’re touring facilities it’s important to look closely at all the interactions, no matter how mundane they may seem. Start in a classroom at the beginning of the day; what kind of interactions happen when the parent or caregiver drops the kids off? Separation anxiety and issues can occur in children that are either toddlers or preschool age, so notice how a teacher responds.
- Is the teacher present and available when the kids are being dropped off? Is their presence seen and are they welcoming? How does the teacher take the edge off the situation?
- Does the teacher offer support in the separation between child and parent or caregiver? Do they help engage the child and guide them to an activity in the classroom? Does the teacher involve another adjusted student to help immerse them in the group?
Other important activities such as snack time and group time can offer insight into how the teacher oversees their classroom.
Meals or snack time should be a positive experience for kids and can build a strong foundation for cooperation among social groups, so watch for the following:
- Children involvement – Are the students cooperating together in set up, handling, and cleaning up the food?
- Is there engagement? – Are both the students and teacher socially interacting with each other at this time? What kinds of conversations are being had?
Most classrooms in early childhood education programs have group activities that involve story time, show and tell, and other gatherings. Every child should have the chance to participate, so watch how the teacher facilitates a group.
- Do they allow for everyone to participate?
- If there is a child who doesn’t understand or is confused, how do they address that child with in the group?
- Are the activities being taught age appropriate and are the children enjoying it? Is there engagement or crickets?
- During individual or quiet time, are the kids able to sit quietly and work on their projects by themselves? Are they displaying independence?
- Is the teacher addressing each child individually if they have questions? Does the teacher seem engaged, and are they walking the classroom observing the kids? Or, are they behind their desk working on something else?
Kids are learning independence at this stage so look and ensure the instructor is giving attention to both the individual and the classroom during your visit.
ABC Early Learning Academy
If you’re looking for an early childhood education program where both the curriculum and instructor’s are stellar and committed to your child’s development, schedule a tour at ABC Early Learning Academy today!
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