What Makes an Excellent Childcare Centre?

By Dana Prediger

An excellent childcare centre, such as this one at Mount Royal University in Calgary, provides a safe, friendly, stimulating environment for children. Probably the most important characteristic from the child’s point of view is that it’s a place where they feel happy and have many fun things to do. For children, a high-quality program may mean feeling accepted for who they are, no matter their ability or culture. It means having friends and responsive adults, being emotionally and physically comfortable. Unbeknownst to the child, having a variety of fun, interesting and engaging activities provides opportunities for developing motor, social, language and cognitive skills through play. A rich and colourful space, with its wealth of materials, enables children to learn—seemingly by osmosis—and to be well prepared for school, increasing chances of success there.

 

A good centre meets basic needs, providing healthy, nutritious meals and snacks, space for rest and naps, and time outdoors in the fresh air, even in winter when snowsuits are required. It goes without saying that the centre is clean and requires children to pay attention to good hygiene. Crayons, paint and paper, building blocks and other toys are available for the child’s creative imagination. On the walls are displays of what the children are doing and learning: drawings, paintings, other artwork, calendars, maps, number charts and photos of outings. The space has distinct areas for several different activities. It is an orderly environment with some predictability. Children have opportunities for interacting with others and also for pursuing activities alone.

 

The key is skilled staff and warm, responsive interactions between staff and children. The staff are trained and certified in early childhood education. The adult-to-child ratio is high. The staff plan a variety of activities in a language-rich environment where the children are regularly read to and books are discussed. Children are encouraged to talk with their teachers and each other.

‏‏

 

This is what makes an excellent childcare centre. AV‎ ‎ ‏‎ ‏

Dana Prediger is a Calgary-based photographer.

RELATED POSTS

Should Alberta Have $10/Day Childcare?

Marina Adshade, the professor of economics at UBC and author of Dollars and Sex (Harper Collins, 2013) says yes. If you are like me, and believe the role of responsible government is to spend your tax dollars wisely, then you should support a program that provides $10/day daycare for families. Universal daycare programs ...

“Tin-Pot Childcare” Lives On?

During the second World War, Canada had a national daycare program to facilitate the participation of women with young children in a labour market emptied out by military service and the disruption of immigrant flows. However, the Wartime Day Nurseries program was abandoned by Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s federal government after the end ...

The Pied Piper of Alberta

At the peak of last winter's omicron wave, I found myself thinking about “The Pied Piper of Hamelin.” If you don’t know the story, here’s a short synopsis: A medieval European town has a bad rat problem. They hire a piper who says he can fix it. He pipes a tune ...