In Home Learning
The Leor model of in home early childhood education and care is underpinned by a vast amount of research that analysed how a child’s development is impacted by the ways in which they receive childcare in their early years. Our focus on curriculum based early childhood education that is tailored to the needs of each child, high quality standards and governance, and a focus on maintaining the currency of our Educators’ skills and knowledge, combine to produce what we believe to be a positive in home early learning and care experience for children and their families.
A longitudinal study of 10,700 children conducted in the United States of America in 2013 (Levine, Votruba-Drzal, Miller & Koury, 2013) found that childcare centres that placed a focus on high quality standards, highly trained educators, and continuous improvement in the preparation and delivery of educational programs resulted in improved emotional, social and developmental outcomes for children aged between 9 months and 5 years. Researchers further found that although an ability to manage emotions and learn in larger peer groups was key to school readiness, early entry into formal childcare meant that many children experienced difficulty coping with the stress of childcare centre environments. The stress that children experienced in this study was linked to elevated noise levels, large educator to child ratios, and the challenges faced by exposure to emotional and social issues experienced by their peers. Researchers in this study surmised that early exposure by children in care to challenges that other children faced in childcare settings had the potential to increase ‘negative behavioural responses’, and negatively impact ‘prosocial skills and learning behaviours’.
A study by Crockenberg (2003) found that the duration in which children were placed in a formal childcare setting impacted children’s fatigue as well as parental stress. The study, which measured cortisol levels in children, found that parents were torn between the need to work long hours and the stress of having to pick children up from daycare, despite being aware that greater time spent in the home environment was less stressful on children.
Consistency of Caregiver
A study conducted just across the seas in New Zealand in 2015 (Layland & Smith, 2015) found that:
This study, which found that a child and their family’s involvement in the determination of appropriate learning and development programs, as dictated by personal preferences and needs of the family, resulted in positive outcomes for the children included in the study. Parents who were interviewed as part of this study stated that they valued the connection between their child and a single caregiver as it provided children with an opportunity to be exposed to “consistent values, boundaries, and expectations”.
Quality of Care
In 2012 a group of researchers (Hughes-Belding, Hegland, Stein, Sideris & Bryant, 2012) found that high quality care in a home based environment that involved assessments of both the physical environment and the ability for educators to engage in social interactions with the children were directly linked to children’s cognitive and social outcomes. They found that these aspects of the learning environment, including identifying appropriate learning materials and equipment, meant that home based learning environments were dynamic in being individualised to meet the learning needs of each child.
Quality of Educators
This study also found that ongoing professional development for home based childcare educators resulted in a noticeable variation in quality of service delivery, as compared with those educators who were not accessing professional development and support.A study conducted by a group of researchers in 2017 (Schaack, Le & Setodji, 2017) found that in home education and care programs that were delivered by Educators who had qualifications related specifically to early childhood education, received professional development, and had access to mentoring, resulted in high quality early childhood education programs, whilst also achieving far greater positive outcomes for children, compared with services delivered by less qualified educators who did not receive any ongoing professional development or mentoring.
Social interaction in infants and toddlers plays a variety of roles, from allowing children to explore their ability to express emotion, to developing cognitive skills and abilities. Our flexible model allows parents to choose to engage Leor in conjunction with other forms of care that allow children greater opportunities for socialisation. However, in designing the Leor model we have taken into consideration the varying ages at which children use social interactions to play in social settings, whilst also understanding how play behaviour changes according to a child’s different stages of cognitive development.