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What Should I Expect from a Child Care Curriculum?

By Amanda Dean
Updated May 17, 2024
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When enrolling their child in a day care service, parents should ask about the type of curriculum provided, or they may benefit from subscribing to child development programs to administer themselves. Programs usually include a variety of activity ideas that foster educational, social, and physical growth. Many companies offer prepackaged childcare curriculum kits that include instructions and materials. Since infants, toddlers, and school-aged children have different needs, be sure to select an age-appropriate curriculum.

Most often, a child care curriculum is focused on early learning and social development. Infant programs usually center around unstructured play, but also include songs and stories to help begin the learning process. A child care curriculum for toddlers will include identifying numbers and letters and doing simple crafts. At this age, children can begin learning simple math and science functions like classification, patterns, and numerical relationships. As children enter school, education in the child care setting should supplement their lessons in art, reading, math, and science.

You should also find materials that help support healthy eating and exercise activities for the children in your care. A child care curriculum should include healthy snack ideas and lessons to teach young children about the importance of proper nutrition. Programs often include fun dances or games to encourage children to exercise.

Children often learn best when their activity time is structured and they have some idea what to expect. Child care curriculum often comes with lesson plans and calendars to help facilitate learning. You should find clearly-stated objectives for each lesson and strategies to meet those objectives. Children are not usually tested in a child-care setting, but a prepackaged curriculum should be able to give you suggestions to determine how well you are meeting your objectives.

Community colleges and other resources often have classes dedicated to a child care curriculum. These can vary from day courses to degree programs in early childhood education. Certified programs teach caregivers how to plan lessons and activities. They also include nutrition segments to help caregivers provide nutritious meals and snacks that are also enjoyable for the children in their care.

In a formal education setting, you should learn about legal matters in child care including licensing and inspection. Since child care workers are required to report suspected child abuse in many jurisdictions, formal child care curriculum will often teach caregivers how to recognize the signs of abuse and how to report them. You might also learn about safety, first aid, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in a structured child care course.

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