When deciding which infant care centre is appropriate for your family, what should you consider? Charlotte Wong, Senior Manager of Kinderland Educare Services advise parents to look out for these 3 E’s.
Parents are naturally concerned about their child’s well-being and routine care during their day in infant care. You first need to be comfortable with the environment, checking if it is clean, safe and homely for your infant. The classroom has to be age appropriate, highly functional and aesthetically appealing.
Things to consider include good ventilation, sufficient lighting, spaciousness and cleanliness. Furniture used such as sleeping cots should be safe for young infants. Equipment used in the food-preparation area has to be in good working condition, including the sanitizing of milk bottles and utensils.
The layout determines how much exploratory play infants are exposed to. It should provide infants with various opportunities to challenge them through what they see, touch and feel as this is what develops their gross and fine motor skills. Such environments allow infants to safely explore their environment independently.
Educarers and Education
These two E’s go hand-in-hand. Education cannot begin without a qualified and passion educarer. It begins with a healthy, open relationship with parents.
What is the mode of communication between parents and the educarers? What is the frequency of it? Once a week or more? Chat with the educarers and understand their motivations for being an infant care teacher. Their passion for children would exude through their actions and care for infants. Their personal values and perception of a baby also determines how your young ones are cared for.
Observe the educareres and look at how they handle and take care of other infants in the centre. Do they talk to the babies as they are changing their diapers or feeding them?
Having 100 billion brain cells at birth, babies are born ready to learn. An infant care should have a schedule with stimulating activities to engage your child. They use their daily experiences to make sense of the world; from the sounds they hear to the cuddling they receive. These two-way interactions help to develop their brains as they make crucial neural connections. Even as your infant’s diapers are being changed or having his milk, communication between educarer and your infant provides immense language development.
Are your baby’s senses stimulated during the day? Are there activities that engage the senses such as music and movement? Simple musical ‘instruments’ can be provided for children to make sounds and learn about rhythm. Research has proven that children who learn to play a musical instrument perform better in cognitive skills. At Kinderland infant centres, classical music is played when infants are napping and other music genres are played during activity time. Teachers sing interactive nursery rhymes in English and Chinese to help infants learn the languages.
Research has shown that an infant care in a preschool setting offers abundant opportunities for important cognitive development, through communication between adults and child conversational partners.
How You Can Prepare Your Baby for Infant Care
When preparing for infant care, it is good to reflect on the difference between the younger and older infants. Younger infants below 6 months need familiarity and would benefit from a familiar item from home. It will be even better if it was mum’s t-shirt so that baby can “sense” the closeness of her presence.
Parents who are ready to trust educarers with openness will be able to ease the child into the centre better. Communicate with your child’s educarers if you have concerns about their sleeping and eating patterns.
Older infants, who already start to recognize caregivers, may need their parents to explain the transition to them in an age-appropriate manner. Bringing them to the centre for an orientation and getting to know the educarers will help alleviate fears and anxieties.