Parents and child care teachers share an important responsibility to help nurture a child’s identity and feelings of accomplishment and value. During early childhood, children are learning to get along with others. Early social skills are important in a child’s overall development as children build a sense of their abilities at a very early age.
Child Care Curriculums That Enhance Children’s Self Esteem
The early childhood years are a critical time in the formation of self-esteem. During these first years, children form impressions of their capabilities and self-worth based on their successes and the feedback they receive.
Children with a strong sense of self-worth feel able to take on challenges, believe in their ability to be successful, and see setbacks as temporary situations that can be overcome. Children with poor self-image are easily discouraged, lack initiative to begin daunting tasks, and see obstacles as defeating and permanent.
Daily interactions, teaching methods, and choices in an early child care program make an important impact on children’s development of self-esteem. Below are some guidelines to ensure that child care activities support and enhance a child’s self-esteem:
- Talk positively with children about identity and physical characteristics
- Give children individual attention during activities and routines
- Allow plenty of time for children to make choices in child-directed play
- Place toys and materials on low shelves, easily accessible to the children
- Label bins and toy shelves so children can participate in clean up
- Keep hand washing supplies and self-help materials within children’s reach
- Plan activities that challenge the children and allow them to feel a true sense of accomplishment
Child Care Curriculums That Encourage Social Development
Social interactions play an important role in several other developmental domains. Children use social interactions as a way to practice language and problem solving skills. In fact, children who interact most often with peers are the children who have the best-developed language skills.
The Child Care Teacher’s Role
Most children develop healthy social interaction skills quite naturally. They easily move from depending upon adults to creating and sustaining their own interactions with others. In doing so, children learn to see things from another point of view, to make compromises and resolve conflicts, and to share, collaborate, and negotiate for themselves.
Some children need a great deal of support while learning to develop and sustain social interactions. Child care teachers can help encourage healthy social interaction in the following ways:
- Arrange classroom equipment to encourage face-to-face interactions
- Watch for children who are having trouble finding play partners and invite these children to join an activity
- Set up equipment to encourage social play
- Draw attention to mutual interests among the children
- Offer activities that children can do in pairs and assign buddies so that children who have trouble finding a partner can join in the games
- Create learning centers within the classroom that accommodate small group play
- Plan and implement group games and activities that entice children into sharing, turn taking, and other social interactions
Does your current child care provider enhance and encourage your child’s social development and self-esteem?