The general consensus among child care experts is that quality child care centers offer a wonderful environment for children to acquire a great deal of knowledge before heading off to school.  Most child care centers have a structure set in place that not only offers safety for the children, but also provides basic education.  Toddlers and children learn the alphabet, songs, concepts, writing, values, and so much more.  Not only do child care centers focus on educational growth, but also encourage social growth, which is important to many parents.

Here are 4 ways that child care centers do so:

  • Offer free play time.  Throughout the day children have the opportunity to play with other children inside the facility and outside the facility. During this time they get to interact with their peers, which helps them learn how to socialize.  As they go about playing, sometimes a conflict can arise like when two children want the same toy or one child is not so nice to another child. It is at times like these where the staff can help the children to learn positive conflict resolution skills and the importance of sharing. If a child is an only child, he or she may not get into such situations at home, so child care centers can help children learn appropriate ways to socialize.
  • Partner time.  Some child care centers have certain times throughout the day in which two children will partner up to complete activities. For example, when it is time to line up to wash hands before lunch, partners can line up next to each other while waiting in line.  This helps children to understand the concept of partnering and have the opportunity to relate to each other regularly.
  • Children get familiar with groups.  Social growth includes learning how to get along in a group setting.  Child care centers offer the chance for children to be involved in group activities and get along with each other.  For example, if a group of preschoolers are learning a song together, they get to perform beside each other and work on a common goal as a group.  This is an important skill to learn as kids head off to school and grow up because plenty of times in life will they be in a group setting working on a common goal.
  • Children learn how to share appropriately.  When Johnny calls Jimmy a dumb jerk because he broke his favorite toy, it is the responsibility of qualified staff to address Johnny’s behavior and coach him to use his words in a different way to express his feelings.  Staff can let Jimmy know that his words were inappropriate and hurtful and coach him to share his feelings more appropriately.  “I feel bad that my favorite toy is broken” is a much better way to express frustration and this can be emphasized to Johnny.  Parents tend to like the fact that child care centers partner with them to teach appropriate ways to handle social situations and emotions.

Social growth is certainly important in growing up and child care centers have been known to foster positive social growth in children.  Children can certainly learn many positive things while attending a high quality child care, including social and emotional skills.