Best Child Care Trends to Watch for in 2016
January 18, 2016
Among 2015’s trends in the child care industry, we observed – among other things – a greater emphasis on the need for child care that serves children with special needs, an increased need for longer non-traditional hours of care and a demand for higher quality child care with programming that goes beyond the requirements of state licensing and regulations.
With many Kiddie Academies carrying national accreditation, already operating with the sensitivities of working parents and families in mind, and offering exceptional programming across the U.S., Kiddie Academy was well ahead of the curve last year. The Baltimore Sun wrote a trend article about the growing footprint of Kiddie Academy’s educational child care model which includes modern early learning programs like Mandarin, sign language, yoga and more.
While we cannot predict child care trends for the coming year, we do see further development of emerging trends from the last few months. Here is our list of the best child care trends to watch for in 2016:
Technology: As technology advances and becomes more affordable and more accessible, more and more early learning schools will institute mobile technology (tablets) for use by both young students in a learning capacity and their parents day-to-day for benchmarking and monitoring their children.
At Kiddie Academy, we define technology as implementation and utilization of hardware, software, internet programs, and applications as a developmentally appropriate component of our educational curriculum for children attending each Academy. In addition, we believe in the implementation of technology to support and enhance communication with our enrolled families and local community.
Many Kiddie Academy schools offer a state-of-the-art “WatchMeGrow” technology for live, streaming video of students in classrooms that parents can watch from their computers at work, or even through the WatchMeGrow mobile app while on-the-go. In 2016, there will be more early learning schools with online access to cameras allowing parents to check in on their children throughout the day.
Other technology we’re seeing enter the early learning school atmosphere include all-in-one touch screen PCs, interactive whiteboard displays and even digital photography. Many Kiddie Academy classrooms are outfitted with a revolutionary preschool interactive whiteboards which help teachers and students in daily routines like Circle Time (reviewing day of the week, weather, month of the year, etc.), attendance, and also storytelling and lesson planning.
Security: Modern American families who invest their hard-earned dollars in quality educational child care want to know that their children are not only receiving the best care and learning opportunities, but also that they’re safe. As an extension of the live video offerings, security will continue to be a key concern for parents in 2016. Many Kiddie Academies install advanced alarm system technologies throughout the interior and exterior of their buildings to include door contact alarms, motion sensor alarms, window contact sensors and professional security monitoring. Even gates and access points around playgrounds are completely secured to ensure the safety of children.
Health & Fitness: An emerging trend continues to be ways to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity by teaching children, from the very start, the healthy habits they need for a lifetime. That means focusing on eating right, integrating physical exercise, and maintaining healthy personal habits each and every day. Kiddie Academy approaches this through the school’s Life Essentials philosophy. We want children to learn how to stay healthy by making good food choices, incorporating physical fitness, and including sound hygiene into their daily living skills.
Developmentally-Appropriate Curriculum: The developmentally-appropriate practices approach supports educational equality for all children. This has been a trend in early learning schools and is now being seen in more primary schools as opposed to whole group instruction. Developmentally-appropriate curriculum is written to support the changing and differing needs of all children. The curriculum is designed so that children can explore different content areas; yet it meets the needs of all children in areas of cognition, social/emotional development, language and literacy, and health and physical development. A developmentally appropriate curriculum allows teachers to make modifications and accommodations so that each child can learn, and so that all children experience the joys of learning.
Character Development: Parents don’t want to just see traditional education, they want to also witness character development and growth in their children. Character education curriculum provides specific learning experiences to support each child as he or she develops relationships with teachers, peers and members of the community. This trend will continue to emerge in 2016 as we see the need to teach and reinforce these skills to prepare our children for school and life.
Sensory Play: Most parents have had the experience of dealing with a crazed or distressed toddler, only to see their bad mood disintegrate with a splash in the bathtub. We’re seeing a greater trend toward the implementation of more sensory play for babies and toddlers in early learning atmospheres. Studies show that sensory play can be therapeutic for children and even improve motor skills and encourage development. In touch, sight, smell, taste and sound sensory experiences for babies, they have an opportunity to interact with the world. We’ll be seeing more organized sensory experience programs for little ones in 2016 like Zumbini, a baby Zumba class; Music & More and other group offerings.