I’ve been hearing about working parents bringing their young children to work with them because of the high cost of child care.
From a child’s eyes, I wonder if they had a choice to be thrust into an adult world of work or to be in a developmentally appropriate environment –what would they choose?
An environment that supports learning through play supports a child’s growth and learning. Adults that are mindful of learning opportunities that a child can gain during play time are creating a meaningful learning environment. When play has a purpose or adds value to a child it is referred to as purposeful play. If a child has a voice, don’t you think they would want to learn through purposeful play?
The adult working world is structured to meet business goals and demands. A child’s world needs support and the opportunity to have fun, openly explore, move at their own speed, and meet their physical, emotional, social, and intellectual needs. An adult work environment is most often not made for a child’s ears and eyes. Adults tones and wording could disrupt a child’s day.
Visiting a parent’s work environment can be such an amazing learning opportunity and a great opportunity for building relationships. Short visits have more meaning than having a child in an adult work environment for extended periods of time.
I understand that the cost of childcare can influence a parent’s decision to bring a child to work. There are so many factors that go into the cost of quality childcare, such as payroll costs (i.e., having one teacher for every four babies), high quality educational toys, facility upkeep, overhead costs, and more.
Young children don’t (and shouldn’t!) comprehend adult conversations and adult environments. Zoning decisions, business decisions, and busy stressful environments are not conducive to a young child’s ability to learn.
Children need more than just toys. Children need an appropriate learning environment that is structured to meet their developmental needs.
Mary Ann Shallcross Smith
Shallcross Smith, of Lincoln, is a former state representative and founder of Dr. Day Care centers.