hen a person hears the words “daycare” or “child care,” they may not realise the true importance and understanding in a child’s development in the first 0 to 3 years of life. While many African parents prefer to raise their children at home or with caregivers until they join nursery or kindergarten, just a few send their children to daycare centers before kindergarten.
We visited a Montessori daycare in Kigali, and learned a lot about how beneficial daycare can be in a child’s early years. If you’re considering sending your child to daycare, take a peek at what a typical day in daycare looks like.
We arrived at Happy Hearts daycare around half past eight in the morning, when parents were dropping off their children, and it was clear that the children were cheerful and thrilled for the new day as they said goodbye to their parents and met their daycare facilitators.
In an interview with The New Times, Bruno Tayeb, the general manager of Happy Hearts, talked us through what a Montessori daycare is and its importance for a child’s development.
“I define daycare as a place where children come together to grow and learn to socialise with one another as they bloom and blossom,” Tayeb said.
When children are together at a daycare, they learn how to live and learn in their small community, which has numerous advantages.
When a child spends their day with their age mates in daycare, they develop communication and social skills between their peers and teachers. The child has time for fun with others, which is preferable to spending the entire day at home using screens or being bored. This community can be challenging to offer at home since the child might not have age mates around.
“As they spend time together in their small community, a child learns to socialize and communicate with their peers,” said Tayeb. “The child learns how to live away from their parents and learns to interact with other adults as well as developing new skills,” he added.
It is also a place for parents to gain from because they can trust daycares to have a structured routine setting for the child to benefit from and grow in. The program accommodates learning, feeding, playtime, and naptime as the age group is between 10 months and three years old.
According to ABC academy, several studies have shown that childcare impacts a child’s educational path, with children who spent time in daycare performing better as teenagers. This demonstrates that childcare helps children achieve academic success in the future.
Happy Heart daycare uses the Montessori teaching approach and philosophy based on self-directed learning and hands-on learning. The child is guided on the different materials available and how they are used correctly to promote the appropriate use of learning materials. They may profit as much as they can with the freedom of focusing on their interests. The different areas of learning include Sensorial, Mathematics, Language, Cosmic and Practical Life. An interesting element for this learning approach is that there is an opportunity to learn what captivates the child without influence, giving their parents an idea on how best to invest in their child’s future. Plus, each child’s growth is observed individually using a child-centered approach. The facilitator’s work is to guide them towards self-directed learning by using hands-on & self-correcting learning materials so that each learner can develop at their own pace.
“This philosophy helps children grow independent and learn by themselves through manipulation and different teaching materials,” said Tayeb. “As they grow together in a community, they learn how to live together as children, and we follow their growth on an individual level since each child has a different personality,” he added.
According to Tayeb, 80 percent of a child’s brain growth occurs between the ages of 0 and 3, which is when the brain is at its most capable state of learning, making this an ideal period to introduce youngsters to new languages, routines, and other essential aspects of daily life. In Montessori, we call it the “absorbent mind,” often comparing the toddler’s brain to a sponge capable of absorbing everything.
Self-confidence and improved behavior
As the child interacts with their peers and meet new people, they develop self-esteem at a young age and are confident to practice speaking with others, teamwork, sharing, and becoming accustomed to social situations. The facilitators also assist in the development of confidence and speech.
Communication and independence
As the child spends more time in the daycare, a safe yet new environment that they must learn to navigate, which they eventually familiarise themselves with, they naturally become more independent. They know how to organize their materials, pick up after themselves, eat by themselves, learn how to brush their teeth, and more. Daycares also serve as excellent places to learn how to communicate needs effectively, courteously, and politely.
Overall there are plenty of benefits to being in a Montessori Daycare.
At Happy Hearts, they offer a half-day and full-day option. When parents arrive to pick up their children after naptime, the day at a daycare comes to an end.
Original story on The New Times