Home-based Care Benefits
When families contact me to enquire about my service one of the most common questions I am asked is "What are the benefits of in-home education?". Whilst the benefits may be more obvious for an infant because of the close and nurturing environment, I believe that in-home education provides benefits for preschool children of all ages, right through to school age.
It should be recognised that in-home education follows the same Ministry of Education curriculum as any other daycare centre or kindergarten. However consider the flexibility and array of personalised opportunities that can be offered by a smaller environment, dedicated to your child as an individual, as they continue to grow and learn. I offer a personal and individual, hands-on service for children up to the age of 5 years old. In my service your child is one of four children, not one of many and this offers opportunities that are very different to a centre or kindergarten environment.
My personal opinion is:
Kids are in a class environment for such a lot of their childhood that I believe it's a shame to contain them so early. Children learn from playing, experiencing and questioning and there is no bigger classroom out there than the world around us. What can be better than learning from real world examples? In a centre or kindergarten things can be brought in from the outside world but going out and seeing things in their natural environment inspires children to learn and build on that knowledge using every sense. Whilst centres and kindergartens are well resourced it's still the same four walls everyday, in my care we go out into the community everyday to maximise learning opportunities. Why look at pictures in a book about a pig when you can go to the zoo, feed the kune kune and talk to the zoo keeper whilst scratching the pig behind the ears?!
Small groups are often more flexible, so in an in-home environment trips are easier to organise and it's easier to be spontaneous to take advantage of the weather. In a centre or kindergarten with many children, outings take time to organise logistically and ultimately may be scuppered by the Wellington weather! If the rain falls we change our plans and we make the most of every day exploring our city.
Children develop a sense of perspective by being out in the real world. The children in my care are so comfortable in their surroundings that they often tell me where to go and even point out places as we pass by. Whilst centres have the latest playground equipment, the city is our playground and there really is very little stopping us from heading out and enjoying all that is on offer for kids around and about. We go to regular groups but also take advantage of one-off events too, this helps the children become sociable and become confident in new social environments.
With in-home education your educator is constant and a relationship is formed with one person who becomes as good as family to that child (and the parents!). Not only does this provide a constant in their life which is incredibly supportive to their learning, the educator can interpret their children's moods and interests easily because there are fewer children to watch and no shared responsibility among several adults. There's no swapping of teachers between age-related rooms to gain more experience, the educator you choose is the one you get for the length of time your child is in their care, your child never loses their favourite educator to a different room, so as a parent you can rest easy knowing your child feels secure and loved.
Within a small group the children develop sibling-like relationships because they are in a home environment with a limited number of children of any age. This again helps development in different ways, such as learning to become big or little brothers and sisters, having that experience even if is not a possibility in their life at home.
The relationships children experience by 'mixing it up' in various groups in the community mirrors real-life, preparing them for the future. The wider group changes depending on the activity we attend. In life we don't always go to the same place with the same people everyday, this helps the children develop different social skills and cope in different company.
As part of our day children are exposed to the routine of going to and from school for pick ups and drop off. This daily routine is a valuable transition to school experience.
Developing relationships that last
With all of the city's attractions and activities on offer our resources are endless, not limited by four walls. I have this space to offer your child.
Consider a centre with:
A story corner as big as Central Library
Musical acoustics as vast as St Paul's
A collection of wildlife to equal Zealandia
Space to accommodate a Zoo
A garden as beautiful as the Botanic Garden
A theatre as entertaining as Capital E
A specimen corner as detailed as Te Papa
Room to house all the stars above the Observatory
It's own transport system of cable cars and trains to ride
A bike park as thrilling as Avalon Park
A sand pit as big as all of Wellington's beaches
A water play space with splash pads and pools to rival Harcourt Park
A pet corner that's home to pigs, horses and cows, as exciting as Staglands
A shop as big as a super market
A gym as challenging as Tumbling Tots
Plus the resources of a register home-based ECE provider to organise additional monthly outings.
Then imagine your child doesn't have to compete with dozens of others and can share this place with three of their best friends.
That's a special place to be.
I think being an in-home educator is a very personal experience that then translates into a personal service. We are self employed so we are business owners rather than employees, therefore our success depends on being the best we can be. It's in our best interests to be good at what we do. It should reassure parents to know that I am always going to offer the best possible service because your child attends my service alongside my own children, therefore you can count on me providing the very best opportunities as they are exposed to the same experiences I offer my own kids.