A List of Skills Children Learn in a Family Child Care Setting

Sometimes, it is hard for family child care providers to explain to potential parents that “yes, indeed a whole bunch of learning happening in my home.”  This list, I have had for some years and I use in my Parent Handbook,  as a way to explain to parents what types of learning can occur in a family child care setting.  I cannot say exactly who the author is, but who ever it was I want to shout a great thanks, for putting the information into such a great format.

Finding toys or learning materials to work with by self or with others

Specific Skills Learned:

Cognitive: Makes decisions about interests and abilities.

Self help:  Finds toys by himself or sets up environment for play

Social/Language:  Learns to share, barter, manage conflict and ask for help.

Emotional: Learns about acceptance and rejection.  Learns to express their own emotional needs.

Block play

Specific Skills Learned:

Physical: Learns to balance blocks and cause and effect, while developing their small motor coordination.

Cognitive:  May count, see patterns and design. Learns to build and plan structure. Matches blocks that look-alike.

Social:  Learns to share and cooperate.

Setting the table and sitting down to eat

Specific Skill Learned:

Cognitive: Counts silverware, glasses and napkins, or places one object by each setting. (one to one correspondence).  Follows patterns of place settings.  Measures to pour. Learns to listen and follow directions.

Social: Cooperates with other children. Mentors younger children by teaching them to help.

Social/Language: Learns appropriate table conversations and manners.

Physical: Picks up and places objects (small motor coordination), pours milk and water, passes dishes.

Story time

Specific Skills Learned:

Cognitive:  Listen and retains information. Pre-reading skills, word recognition, follows story line with eyes and ears.

Language: Learns words and speaking skills.

Music, finger plays and songs

Specific Skills Learned:

Cognitive: Learns rhythms, instruments, learns words, gestures and melody. Is able to learn to listen and follow directions. Learns by repetition and speech.

Physical: Coordination (small and large motor) for movement, gestures and finger plays.

Dramatic play

Specific Skill Learned:

Social: Plays adult roles.  Practices real life learning. Developes self-image and coordinates with others.

Language: Learns to express self in another role.

Cognitive:  Decides right dress and appearance for role; uses visual perceptions to help self, others, and play environment. Learns and remembers behaviors to imitate. Develops abstract thinking abilities.

Self-help: Dress self. Sets up play environment and finds props.


Specific Skills Learned:

Cognitive/Language: Listens to melody and rhythms. Learns to understand simple movement directions and their relationship to the music.

Physical: Coordination (large motor)


Specific Skills Learned:

Cognitive:  May count the rungs when climbing, plans their climb.  Maps out directions and distance to ride: watches for others in path.

Physical: Large motor coordination and balance.

Social: Learns to take turns and interacts with others.

Sand play

Specific Skills Learned:

Cognitive:  Measures sand and maps out play (spatial relationships)

Physical: Pours, dumps, pushes, gathers, scoops, packs (small and large motor)

Social: Learns to share, interacts, and learns cooperation

Putting Away Toys

Specific Skills Learned:

Cognitive: Sorts toys, listens and learns to follow simple directions.

Physical:  Places objects on the shelf, replaces lids, opens and shuts doors (small and large motor coordination)

Social: Takes turns, learns to handle toys with carefully and with respect.

This is a great list to start from, it shows a potential parent that you do so much more than play.  Plus, it shows what is learned from play.  It can be added to and edited as needed added too.  I have added a few of my movie clips that I use as marketing on my website, so you could see how this type of information could be used to promote your business.  I am currently redoing the page that this information will show up at on Little Scholar.  So as soon as I finish, I will share the link

2 thoughts on “A List of Skills Children Learn in a Family Child Care Setting

  1. What I like about putting my child in to a child care is that he becomes more interactive. I like it how he learns a lot from some other children and also from himself. But, as a parent we make sure that home would always be his first source of learning. The communication/interaction between the child and the parent would be very important. He/She must know that you as a parent are open for his/her questions. Because, it’ll build a strong relationship to your family. 🙂


  2. I don’t think people realize everything a child learns in preschool. When my daughter was young she suffered from separation anxiety and did not want to play with other children. I enrolled her in preschool and the teacher was wonderful. She developed so many social and critical thinking skills while enrolled there. I am one parent that knows preschool is not just daycare.


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