Magazine article Work & Family Life

If You're Looking for High-Quality Child Care

Magazine article Work & Family Life

If You're Looking for High-Quality Child Care

Article excerpt

Q I keep hearing the term "developmentally appropriate" at the center that takes care of my 3-year-old when I'm at work. Does this have special meaning beyond the obvious-and why is it so important?

-C.G., Des Moines, IA

A You've hit on one of the foundations for defining quality in early childhood programs. Roger Neugebauer, publisher of the Child Care Information Exchange, explains:

"Developmentally appropriate means thinking first about what young children are like (for example, that they learn best through firsthand experience) and then creating activities, routines and expectations that accommodate and complement those characteristics.

"We need to know more than a few descriptive facts about a child, such as age and gender, to design appropriate programs. We have to look at kids within the context of their family, culture, community, past experience and current circumstances to create age- and individual-appropriate living and learning environments.

"We have to recognize that children are not miniature adults. The experiences we plan for them should reflect the notion that early childhood is a time of life that is qualitatively different from later school years and adulthood. …

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