Your child spends the better part of the day at day care. That means hours spent at the center of your choice. What does she do there all day? The answer to this question might surprise you. Sure, she finger paints and builds with blocks. But that's not all. Actually, it's far from it. Check out what your kiddo does when she's in child care.
Okay, so your 3-year-old isn't learning calculus. At least not yet. She is getting a jump on learning about early math concepts. This includes number recognition, identification and counting -- possibly up to 10. An early learning setting also provides the opportunity for young children to learn other math concepts, such as geometry (identifying basic shapes), recognize and creating patterns, measuring and maybe even adding simple sums. Keep in mind, your child won't sit and take tests or even complete worksheets. It's more likely that she'll get active and learn by counting objects that she can hold (such as toy cars or beads) or by creating geometric structures with blocks.
Social studies is also often part of the early childhood curriculum. At the preschool level this means talking about concepts, people and places that are close to the child. For example, your child may learn about community helps (firefighters, police, paramedics) or talk about cities in her state.
Young children are naturally curious. Science plays to this trait perfectly. Your child won't be doing quantum physics, but she maybe experimenting with gravity while watching a ball drop. Other science areas that day care centers often tackle include biology, chemistry and earth sciences. Activities in these areas may include going on a nature walk, using a magnifying glass to inspect bugs or flowers, watching ice melt (to understand solid to liquid transformations) or recycling cardboard boxes into eco-friendly art.
Reading and Writing
Early literacy is a major part of most early childhood programs. It's likely that your child will hear stories, get to handle books and get a chance to practiced writing through tracing letters, drawing or scribbling throughout the day.
There are plenty of ways that young children learn during the day care day. Even though it may seem like your child is "just playing," she's really building new skills, developing new abilities and exploring new concepts. Whether it's math, social studies, science, literacy or another area, your child is using these early years to build a knowledge base that she'll use later in kindergarten and beyond.