Allowing children to be children…
That was my vision 28 years ago and thanks to the support of many families over the years, it continues to be my vision today.
I’ve noticed that in recent years many child care centers have drifted away from creative play toward a focus on academic activities. Worksheets and even homework have become commonplace.
In my experience, fantasy play activities are more effective in the development of social, emotional and cognitive skills – all of which are important for success in school. We want the children to know it’s OK to be exactly who they are. It’s our role as caregivers to help them believe in themselves. It’s our responsibility to support and provide encouragement along the way.
I also believe children need to be loved, hugged and valued for who they are. Each child’s skills and strengths are recognized. Visitors comment that our children always seem happy and carefree. Maybe that’s because we allow them to be children.
Dawn Stear, the owner-director of First Friends, has a B.A. in child psychology from Millersville University and is currently working on a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has owned and operated First Friends since 1988.
She has also counseled emotionally and socially disturbed children under the age of seven at the Child Psychiatry Center in Philadelphia. Dawn has taken additional courses in education at Bucks County Community College.