When you drop your precious little angel off at her day care center, you expect that she will receive the best when it comes to care and supervision. Although watching your child -- and the other kids in the classroom -- is a key part of the teacher's job, there are other important responsibilities that come into play.
The obvious point of child care is to provide a watchful eye in your absence. Of all the many hats that a child care teacher wears, supervision is the primary one. Supervision includes monitoring the children at all times to ensure safety. To maintain adequate supervision, licensed child care centers must maintain a strict adult-child ratio. For example, South Dakota's licensed centers require one adult for every five toddlers. If there aren't enough teachers to supervise the number of children in a given classroom, the center could face losing its license.
Curriculum and Lessons
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) notes that child care teachers should create a curriculum that is thoughtful, challenging, developmentally appropriate and engaging. Planning lessons and activities is a crucial aspect of the early childhood educator's job. The curriculum, and the lessons that fall under it, are the framework for what your child will learn at day care or preschool. This includes activities in content areas such as early literacy, science, social studies, the arts, math and motor skill development.
How will you know if your child is actually learning or developing on target during her child care days? One way is through teacher assessment. Child care teachers must know how to make valid assessments of early childhood development, looking at your child's strengths and progress across the course of the year. This will help the teacher to evaluate your child's needs in order to adjust daily activities, lessons and interactions to maximize overall learning and development.
Setting an organized schedule can help to create a predictable day and bring a sense of comfort to the young child. The daily schedule will allow your child to understand what to expect each day, making the day less stressful. One of the primary jobs that the teacher has is to design this set schedule. For example, if the children arrive at 8:00, the teacher may schedule breakfast until 8:45, circle time until 9:15, small group activities until 10:30, outdoor play until 11:30, with lunch and a nap next.
Creating and enforcing classroom rules can make the difference between a crazy classroom and one that seems more serene. The child care teacher must start the school year off on the right foot by creating a set of classroom rules that the children can understand. Although the kids may hear and even understand what the rules are, young children may have difficulty following them. It's up to the teacher to enforce the rules.