More Than a Day Care
“Walk a mile in my shoes” was a popular song long ago which advocated that to understand someone else’s point of view, try to see the world through their eyes. In running a day care, sometimes it helps if we stop and try to understand how your customers view you and view the experience they are having using your service. And, of course, the “customers ” of your day care are the children who are in your care and the parents who entrust those little ones to you for several hours each day.
To us a day care is a place to work and a business. At the day care worker level, there is a joy in working with children but its a job similar to teaching or other children related occupations. But to that child who shows up every day, this place is more than a day care, it is their second home. As such the priorities of a child in your dare care are no doubt much different the priorities you as the owner and operator of the day care or even your day care workers bring with them each morning. But the extent to which your customers, those children, feel that their priorities were met will be how much they report to their parents that they had a great day and want to go back again tomorrow.
To a child, there is a huge social value to coming to day care each day. Children love nothing more than to make new friends and participate in social events such as games and adventures. That is because a child spends very little time with people like them which is, of course, other children. So if they come to day care and they can make friends and enjoy activities that builds friendships with the other children, that makes all the difference to a child as to whether their day in day care was a good one or a terrible experience.
This little peek into the mind of a child can give you as the one who plans the day’s event for those children a lot to think about. For one thing, getting the perspective that what these children think is important to your success could have a revolutionary effect on your business and your potential success. And just as importantly, knowing what are the values of the very young by looking at the world through their eyes can help you design programs and conduct your day care worker orientation to address the social needs of children deliberately.
Too often we as adults lecture children about getting along and making new friends but we don’t create circumstances to make that possible. But a day care is the ideal situation to teach good social interaction skills and to create situations through games and activates that both encourages friendship and teamwork and allows plenty of time for those values to sprout and grow.
You are not required at your day care to have a curriculum. You don’t have to teach reading, writing and arithmetic to continue to be chartered to do business year after year. But you literally have hours of time with these children that you can use to teach them how to create relationships with each other. Moreover, you can even begin to instill in them the ability to resolve problems and handle conflict by using creative games and activities that such skills are used in a play scenario. As the children play at becoming good social creatures, those skills will take root and make them good social creatures.
Circle time is a great setting to get all of the children into a social activity that is fun, happy and relaxed so even the shyest of child can enter in at their own pace and without being judged for being a little retiring. In the circle time setting, games, stories, role playing skits and other activities can be used that to the children are just another form of fun but you and your day care workers know it is being used to build social skills in the very young. And if you can instill strong social skills in those children, those will be skills that will continue to help them be successes throughout their lives. What a great way to use the hours you have with them in day care.