Setting up a daycare is a challenge, one that many childhood educators have faced. A child care centre is more than a place to drop children off while parents are at work. It’s a place where they learn STREAM and its variants. You’ve heard this acronym and its variants before because it’s essential to early childhood education.
- Science: Observing changes in the environment, e.g. how water flows and changes, reactions between chemicals.
- Technology: Whatever is used by children as a medium in their learning is considered technology. This isn’t only computers; it includes books, pens, and other materials.
- Reading: The everyday skill of reading builds literacy and language in children and it’s essential to early childhood education. Literacy sets them up for life.
- Engineering: What makes things work? How do they fit together? The simple act of creating structures out of everyday objects is engineering at work.
- Art: There was controversy and criticism surrounding the addition of this acronym. Adding arts to the curriculum allows children to unleash their creative skills, whether through role play or painting. It encourages children to ‘think creatively’.
- Mathematics: Counting, sums, and organising are everyday skills adults use effortlessly. Children, though, work their hardest just to count to 100.
It’s a lot to think about when setting up a daycare. Don’t stress about it too much, though. Children are naturally curious and with some encouragement, they’ll use the supplies according to STREAM principles. So what are some essential daycare supplies you’ll need before you open your doors?
- Building blocks: old classics that have an infinite number of uses. They help with calculations and create structures (like a JENGA tower).
- Art easels: Children need something that will hold their masterpieces while they paint and sketch.
- Large foam shapes: Capable of creating an obstacle course or a makeshift house. The kids think critically and creatively to make the shapes fit together into something viable.
- Books: Stock your caddy with picture and small text books.
- Role play sets: Children imitate what they see in real life, from TV shows to parents cooking in the kitchen. Role play sets like kitchens, tool benches, and houses encourage creative thinking and group activity.
When you’re setting up a daycare that’s STREAM-friendly, make sure you have materials for your staff as well. TED talks, text books, and printouts to pin on the noticeboards will be helpful when they are planning some activities or just need a refresher.