Stay-at-Home vs ECE - What is best for my Toddler?

I received this question from a family who I have been working with since the new-born days.

We have decided to keep our almost one year old at home this year with a combination of myself and dad looking after him. We have enrolled him in a swimming class, jumping beans and will take him to the wriggle and rhyme sessions at the library. Do you think that’s enough in terms of socialising with other children his age? He really loves playing with other children so that’s my only worry about not sending him to daycare. There’s also a local playgroup and space sessions we can take him too however I don’t know if this would be too much for him/us. 

We have followed all your advice since he was really small and feel that this has really paid off for us and him, so really value your opinion. 

Thanks so much Rebecca

Hi Rebecca. Thank you for reaching out.

How fortunate that you and your partner have given your son an opportunity for a great start.

The short answer is yes absolutely !

A home based environment offers wonderful learning opportunities, consistency, familiarity and predictability for your Teeny Tiny to thrive.

The little info graphic below might be helpful for you to see that you are providing a well balanced learning, play and development environment for your Teeny Tiny.

This is the work of Developmental Psychologist Howard Gardner around Multiple Intelligences – here is how I adapt it to the world of Toddlers.

Body Smart – swimming, Jumping Beans, visit the park for a roll down the hill, explore bubbles, enjoy a swing, opportunities to dance, hang upside down, kick a ball, make a fort in the lounge, an obstacle course out of cushions and chairs, offer tunnels.

Music Smart – Wriggle and Rhyme, homemade musical instruments shakers and drums work well, play nursery rhymes, offer music that encourages movement - hokey tokey, wheels on the bus, a combination of pre recorded music and live music - this can be you singing, humming or whistling - no need to book tickets to Spark Arena just yet !

Word Smart - All the fabulous language opportunities the 1-1 connection and attention provides, books and day to day conversation, tell stories, play word games, narrate everyday experiences, but allow for quiet time to process it all too.

Logic Smart -  problem solving, investigating, patterning, puzzles, sorting, posting, classifying, here are some ideas to promote logic smart using the Peg Board

Nature Smart – head outside everyday – explore rocks, play with water, sift sand, squish mud, crunch leaves ( post them in your neighbours letterbox !), point out shadows, visit animals, collect and grow plants.

Picture/Spatial Smart – opportunities to scribble and draw with chalk and thick crayons, build with blocks, provide art experiences, playdough, a variety of books with a balance of bright bold graphics and photographed images.

Interpersonal – engaging with others at jumping beans, swimming, the supermarket, the fruit shop and visit friends and family.

Intrapersonal – independence skills will grow, toileting, self feeding, beginnings of self regulation and emotional understanding.

Use this as a guide – not to be all achieved in one, day or even one week !

Then perhaps looking closer to between 18m-2.5 years for a small group early childhood education environment to grow and develop social skills, understand what being part of a group is like, beginning to share, take turns and build further social connections.

Teeny Tinies thrive with the freedom of movement, the time to explore, and the joy of both new and familiar experiences.  Respect the journey, pause and simply observe, reflect on the precious moments and enjoy the parenting ride.

“Wow thank you so much. So many things here we hadn’t thought of so very pleased we emailed. Especially the art, nature and problem solving points. We’ve printed your last email and image and put it on the fridge to keep in top of mind during the year, great to have lots of wet weather suggestions too.”

If STAYING AT HOME  isn't an option for you come along to my Come Catch Me Crawler Workshop - the last half hour of our Q&A we discuss the quality indicators of an Early Childhood Education Service - starting with all the different services available and then what to look for, how to choose and questions to ask.

See you there.



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