In general, students—no matter how young or old—tend to work best when they are engaged in the lesson and working on something that they’re interested in. While each individual may have different strengths and interests, there are some common threads for younger age groups that can help keep levels of engagement high throughout the classroom. One way to encourage engagement is to ensure each child is given the opportunity to be creative throughout the day. This can be done by providing them with time for painting, drawing, singing, tracing letters and other fun activities. A benefit to keeping children engaged is that it helps each childcare instructor and childcare assistant build and maintain strong, trusting relationships with the children. Working to keep their level of engagement high shows children that the early childcare workers understand them; who they are and what they like at this early stage in their life. On the other hand, it allows early childcare assistants to be more effective and help the children learn various things, from the basics of the alphabet to how to interact with their peers.
Students enrolled in an early childcare assistant program will complete a hands-on placement during their training, which will give them an idea of the actual classroom experience. During their placement, students will learn that each child needs a different amount of attention, engagement, and encouragement in order to stay interested in the lesson. Some tasks, like moving bins filled with toys, sitting quietly and attentively while stories are being told, and walking in a single-file line, will be easier for some students than for others. Regardless, an early childcare assistant’s goal is to ensure each student is comfortable doing all of these things by the end of the year. That’s why it’s important to develop clear objectives, ensuring each child is on track and learns the necessary skills.
Once you’ve completed your early childcare assistant training, you’ll learn just how crucial unstructured time and the ability to be creative are to a child’s development. Young children learn most effectively through play, which occurs most often during recess. They experience different things by exploring the world and by engaging with each other. In particular, having that unstructured time allows them to develop their social skills, which helps them learn how to regulate their emotions, solve problems and set boundaries. One of the ways to bring the concept of playing into the classroom as an early childcare assistant is to mix the elements of creativity and fun, while also letting the students interact with one another. This can happen by doing something as simple as playing games that let children be creative; such as hide-and-seek, dress up, or playing with dolls, stuffed animals or toy dinosaurs.