BBELC - Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre Childcare (9)

Childcare and Development in Toddlers

The 3 main areas of development in toddlers: Gain Self-Regulation, Communicating and Learning, and Relating to others. Let’s explore the relationship between childcare and development.

Providing Quality Childcare Since 2012   Infants, Toddlers & Preschool  •  Daycare Centre

What is the relationship between childcare and development?

Providing toddlers with the care they need for proper cognitive, emotional, physical and social development is a topic that interests both parents and early learning educators. Many toddlers spend most of the day in different forms of childcare.

That is why it’s essential to understand how and to what degree the relationship is between childcare and development in toddlers.

What is childcare?

Childcare represents the care provided regularly by someone other than the child’s mother.

What does science say about childcare and development?

Studies in past decades have stated loud and clear that what happens to children during their first months and years of life matters a lot because they can affect the children’s prospects. The conclusion of these studies, in conjunction with the observations made by toddlers’ parents, other caretakers and educators, is a reason strong enough to pay a great deal of attention to the conditions a child grows during the first years of life.

Childcare and development in preschoolers

The main areas of development in toddlers are:

  • Gaining Self-Regulation

  • Communicating and Learning

  • Relating to others

Childcare and Development -Gaining Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is a foundation principle of human adaptation. It enables us to react to things that happen, regulates our reactions, and is vital to childcare and development. Toddlers have the ability to react but need to learn how to regulate those reactions. Self-regulation is, in this context, the children’s ability to act more independently in different social situations.

Supportive environments such as their homes and early learning centres that provide high-quality childcare stimulate this learning process.

These centres embed in their routine activities that help toddlers to develop, practice and manifest self-regulation. Tasks like playing, “Simon says”, waiting their turn to receive a biscuit, remaining quiet during indicated moments or avoiding distractions while working on designated tasks enable toddlers to master better the ability to regulate their behaviour and reactions. 

Extensive research has revealed that developments in the region of the brain responsible for self-regulation influence, at older ages, abilities such as reasoning, problem-solving capacity and planning and conducting actions with a high degree of complexity.

Daycare and early learning centres support toddlers in acquiring and mastering self-regulation through interactions with educators and their peers. A toddler who gets upset because another child took a toy while playing learns with the help of the educators how to regulate the reaction of being upset.

Communicating and Learning


Communication is vital in childcare and development. Almost all children learn to talk without specific instruction. Usually, a child speaks their first words between 10 and 15 months. Starting at the age of eighteen months, children learn on average nine new words every day. Most three-year-olds can speak complete sentences with their communication skills developing daily.

Researchers have shown that children learn various qualities of their language depending on the features of the environment in which the learning takes place. A toddler’s home, daycare and any other location in which they learn impacts their ability to develop language, communication skills and literacy.

Research indicates that communicating skills support other areas of development. For example, toddlers who speak clearly and can communicate their ideas clearly, are more able to interact socially with other children.

Toddlers attending a daycare or an early learning centre where educators spend a lot of time speaking to them obtain better results on verbal and general ability tests. This score increase is more evident when the educators encourage and guide the learning and exploration of children. Essentially, the more toddlers are talked to at home or a daycare centre, the more they talk to themselves.


From birth to age 5, children embark on the journey of making sense of the world, an essential element of childcare and development. This period is filled with intellectual achievements:

  • A child of 9-12 months can learn new behaviours by watching and copying others;
  • A two-year-old toddler understands the properties of objects such as their appearance and disappearance, their location, and owners and can discuss the actions done on objects by people;
  • At two and a half years, a child comprehends that other people can have different preferences than his or hers.

Daycare and early learning centres can activate and promote the process of learning by providing toddlers with opportunities to learn, acting as the agents of this process and receiving foreseeable responses from their surrounding environment.

Early learning centres often nurture children’s natural curiosity regarding the world and their innate inclinations toward learning. For example, two-year-old toddlers begin voluntarily to sort their toys into piles based on various criteria, such as vehicles and marbles, provided they have the opportunity and the resources to do so.

The learning process runs more smoothly when it takes place in a motivating-stimulating set-up, such as daycare centres where educators constantly encourage the children to explore their possibilities.

Research has indicated that toddlers who learn in a highly-controlled environment, in classrooms focused on obtaining performance before anything else, have a low degree of motivation, can suffer from depression and don’t establish a connection of warmth with their educators. 

Childcare and Development - Relating to Others

Relating with other children is a key element of childcare and development in toddlers. The type of relationships toddlers establish with other toddlers is important to them. These relationships shape their perception of the world as a friendly or non-friendly environment, the assessment of their worth and competence and influence their social behaviour as they grow.

Toddlers of 1 to 2 years experience increased interaction with other children. This developmental stage enables them to imitate other children, become aware of those children’s intent and switch roles with them, creating a solid base for cooperative play. 

How educators in daycare and early learning centres manage the children’s playing environment is essential. The relationship toddlers establish during play are sometimes fragile: a child who gets distracted or insists on changing the rules is sometimes enough to break the play pattern and can leave some children discouraged from getting involved in future playing.

The daycare has an important role also in mediating conflicts whose peak occurs between the ages of 2 and 3. Supervision and proper intervention of educators help toddlers learn how to manage conflicts and stressful situations, compromise, establish trusting and positive relationships with others and engage in calculated risks for sharing playing experiences with their peers.

A final consideration: the quality of the early learning centre matters!

An extensive study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has concluded that high-quality care:

  • stimulates and supports higher development of language and cognitive capabilities, 
  • better relationships with other children, 
  • enhanced compliance with rules, 
  • better development of skills that favour success at school and fewer behaviour difficulties. 

 The main characteristics of high-quality childcare are the child-to-caregiver ratio, the size of children groups organised by the centre, and, most significantly, the positive care provided by educators.

Positive care signs in a daycare include positive physical contact between the educator and the children, praising and encouraging children, telling and singing, reading, efficient management of negative situations such as conflicts between children, and teaching methods that promote the positive development of behaviour.

Choosing a daycare to provide the right childcare and development in toddlers may be challenging for parents overwhelmed by the options available.  

Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre, based upon the Reggio Emilia fundamental principles, provides a creative and open environment which encourages infinite learning for the children and strong relationships between teachers, children and families.

Contact us to book a tour at one of our childcare centres in Panmure, Mt Roskill, Howick in Auckland or Hamilton East.

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Our Early Learning Centres

Our early childhood centre environments strongly reflects our inspiration – The Reggio Emilia philosophy, from Reggio Emilia, Italy.

We provide a creative and open ended environment that encourages infinite learning for the children and strong relationships between teachers, children and families.

The day’s routines are flexible. At the same time, care is taken to recognise and respect each child’s needs.

Playground at Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre childcare in Howick, Auckland
Child playing in BBELC - Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre Childcare (1)

Why Choose a Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre?

Here's what our parents say about our childcare centres

Come and visit one of our childcare centres and see for yourself why your child will love it

Talk to the Centre Manager, meet the team, see the natural outdoor play areas and educational rooms, learn about how we develop our programs and find out more about our unique approach to partnering with our families.

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