we must realize is that the home, when both parents work, is
non-existent. Once we have honestly faced that fact, we must act
accordingly." -- Agnes Meyer
In today's world, with so many of our children
spending 50 to 60+ hours a week in professional child care, we must
ask ourselves: "Who is parenting these children?" In an
earlier day, it was often the mother, aunt, or the grandparent who
stayed home with the child, providing not only physical care (food
& drink, toileting, etc.), but also equally important emotional
care and moral instruction as well.
Now that much of this task has fallen to
us -- the teachers and professional caregivers -- we must examine how
we are handling this critical responsibility. Are the children in our
care falling through the parenting gap, or are they thriving --
receiving the emotional warmth and moral instruction they need to
grow into healthy minded teenagers and adults?
At Earth's Kids we respect the importance and
challenge of the job which professional caregivers do. Even
providing the so-called "basics" of a safe, friendly
environment, nutritious meals, and reasonable limits takes a
tremendous amount of dedication, planning, experience, and patience.
But at the same time, the job you do gives so much to the
children in your care -- as well as to their
parents and to your community. We want to support you in this
work by providing information about child development, safety standards, forms and
paperwork, stress management, and of course fun activities and
We strongly urge you to grow your knowledge base and your
professionalism through both formal education and through
participation in professional organizations, such as the NAEYC and
This outstanding resource for family day care
providers is really an online book, broken into chapters, that outlines
best practices for caregivers and educators and provides in-depth
practical advice for handling every aspect of the home child care
business. And it's totally free!
As a care provider you strike a delicate balance
every day between providing children with good nutrition and
providing them with food they will actually eat! Check out this article
10 tips to help you rock that balance. Best of all, it doubles
as a printable handout that you can send home with parents. After
all, if families are practicing these guidelines at home, kids will balk
less when they sit down to a healthy plateful at your table.
Maintaining an orderly and organized home or
center for your child care business not only gives a good impression to
prospective parent clients, it also helps you and your staff to find materials
quickly and easily, and it helps the children learn to be more self sufficient in getting out
and putting away toys and materials. Plus an organized and tidy
environment sends subtle signals that not only enhances the ability to focus and
stay calm, but also establishes a standard for your expectations about
how the environment should be treated. Check out
for maintaining a more orderly day care environment.
An important article for care providers,
detailing what too often goes wrong in the institutional childcare
setting and the tragic impact upon our children. Includes insights
into how to avoid the usual pitfalls in order to create a positively
nurturing childcare environment.
Poor hand washing practices
are the number one cause behind the spread of disease.
Protect yourself and the children in your care by practicing and
promoting good hand washing technique. This Earth's Kids article
provides an overview of the most effective way to help children
develop good hand washing habits, plus songs, activities,
coloring, books, and experiments to extend the learning.
The first step in helping abused or neglected
children is learning to
recognize the signs. Although the presence of a single
indicator is not enough to confirm whether abuse is taking place, it is
enough to warrant further observation and investigation.
It used to be that giving a "time out" was the
enlightened modern approach to dealing with children's misbehavior.
Well it certainly was a step up from the spankings of
yesteryear. After all a parent or caregiver did not have to endure
the embarrassing hypocrisy of telling a young child, for example, that
no hitting was allowed while... well, hitting. Talk about your
But while time out is preferable to inflicting
physical violence, research has shown that when it is used as a
punishment, rather than an opportunity to withdraw from a conflict and
cool off, it may not reduce bad behavior effectively. The child
whose underlying drives or misunderstanding have not been addressed is
not going to learn much from being forced to sit in a chair. Actually,
he or she may learn that some people have power over other
people, and resent being at the bottom of the power dynamic. The
child is likely to also resent having his feelings and desires seemingly
ignored while he sits and stews or feels abandoned and overwhelmed.
Resentment in turn typically leads to acting out. What is lacking
here is a way for the child to resolve the feelings and beliefs that led
him into trouble in the first place.
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The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is the world's largest organization working with and on behalf of children from birth through age 8.
The NAEYC sets standards of excellence for programs and teachers in early childhood education
and offers many vitally useful resources and publications.
NAEYC conferences, which take place at both the
local levels, are a delightful opportunity for professional growth
through lectures, workshops, and networking with other ECE
professionals. Meanwhile preschool accreditation by the NAEYC
has long been the gold standard of a quality Early Childhood program.
Although accredited or not, any facility that measures up to the
NAEYC's rigorous standards for programs, staffing, and facilities
distinguishes itself for a commitment to high quality education and
NAFCC is one of the largest professional support systems for family child care and
for early care and education advocates. We strongly urge you to
consider joining the NAFCC to support their critically important work
and your own professional excellence.
A must have book for preschool directors and
child care providers! Includes reproducible forms for administration,
licensing, registration, accreditation, fiscal management, personnel
supervision, program planning, child & family involvement, public
relations, and more!