Daycare centres may not be as rigid and academically structured as preschools and kindergartens, but that doesn't mean your child won't learn anything while they're there. In fact, long daycare is one of the best ways for little ones to develop their early childhood skills, given how long they spend there with their teachers and peers. If you're thinking of sending your 3-year-old off to long daycare, here are 4 things they'll learn there.
1. Social skills
While your little one spends plenty of time with their family, long daycare is a place where they'll get a chance to interact with lots of new teachers, friends and peers. Learning how to play well with others is a vital part of growing up. When your child gets to long daycare, they will be surrounded by other children of varying different ages, which will help them learn how to interact appropriately. On top of that, being around new adults will give them the skills needed to speak to grown-ups that aren't part of the family.
2. Self-confidence and independence
When your 3-year-old goes to long daycare, it's their chance to show you (and the world) what they can do on their own. Most daycare centres offer a variety of different activities and your little one will likely be able to explore them on their own, which helps them learn how to tackle unfamiliar scenarios and develop new skills. In other words, as children are playing and exploring new activities on a daily basis in the classroom environment, they're practising self-confidence and independence by deciding when not to get up from the carpet or wait for an adult to help with tying shoelaces.
While daycares aren't usually strictly structured like schools are, the vast majority follow a set routine every day. These routines provide children with opportunities to become more disciplined. Time management is a crucial skill for adult life, and learning discipline around keeping a schedule will help your little one master that ahead of time. On top of routines, children must follow carers' instructions while at daycare, further instilling a sense of discipline.
4. Pre-academic skills
Even if your chosen daycare doesn't hold lessons to teach your 3-year-old skills like reading and numeracy, they'll still pick up the necessary pre-academic skills they'll need to succeed in school one day. For example, children often learn the alphabet, basic finger counting, shapes, and colours during their daycare years. The best part is that this learning all happens through play, helping your child foster an enthusiasm for education.