“Welcome home!” “Home is where the heart is.” “Mi casa es su casa.” All
these familiar quotations convey one thought—home is where we feel a
sense of safety and belonging. Our homes take on our personalities with
colors and patterns that range from vibrant palettes and polka dots to muted
hues and subtle stripes. We live in log cabins, manufactured houses, small
townhouses, and towering apartment buildings. However, the term home
means more than physical space; home is a feeling that comes over us when
we think about being inside with people we love. I have coined the term
homestyle to refer to a feeling we have when seeing or thinking about home.
Every week family child care (FCC) providers open their homes to over
one million children under age five in over 238,000 family child care homes.
This accounts for 9 percent of the children of working mothers (National
Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies 2010). Parents
interviewed were pleased that their children received individual attention in
a home-based setting (Layzer, Goodson, and Brown-Lyons 2007). Parents
with children in family child care ranked the home environment as one of
the major indicators of satisfaction of care (Morrissey and Banghart 2007).
All too often, however, the look and feel of home is ignored and family
child care environments take on the appearance of mini child development
centers. Out go small wooden tables, rocking chairs, and baskets of books.
In come plastic stackable chairs, vinyl resting mats, oversized bookcases, and
large circle-time rugs. Walls display commercial photos of children in India
or Nepal, interest center signs are placed at adult eye level, and mobiles
hang from ceilings everywhere. For whatever reason, many FCC environ-
ments have lost their homestyle atmosphere. It is time to bring back the
feeling of home in family child care.
This book is written for those of you who operate a family child care in
your own home. It challenges you to set aside center-based notions of what
a child care setting should include and helps you think more deeply about
the real advantages of providing child care in your family’s home setting. I
hope you will be inspired to make creative and exciting learning environ-
ments that capture the feeling of home for children. The book offers many
practical suggestions to arrange furniture, store materials, declutter the child
care space, and select items that address the needs of all children in your
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