Why Family Child Care (FCC)? Why Sharon’s Garden FCC?

Cozy home setting
Many child care centers work hard to create a home-like setting, because that is what’s best for children. Family child care takes place in the home of the child care provider, so the home-like atmosphere is automatically built in. This is a real home, complete with a living room, play area, kitchen, bedrooms, yard, and bathrooms. I am very fortunate to have dedicated child care space in the “mother-in-law suite” area of our home. It’s a perfect place for natural learning and development to take place and it truly becomes a home away from home for the children who come here. I have intentionally left certain areas decorated much as they would be in a typical home, but have made sure to include many interesting things to look at and touchable knick-knacks. The entire area is very comfortable and child friendly. (See my home tour photos)

Consistency of care, small group size, mixed age groups
In a family child care home, consistency of care is built-in, and strong, loving relationships develop naturally. I can take care of no more than 6 children at a time, so the group size is small and personal attention is abundant. I love the children and treat them like family. Also, since I care for children of various ages, it truly is much like a family in the mix of ages and the group dynamics. The children develop caring relationships with one another. They learn to respect and care for each other, for our property, for me as their caregiver, and for themselves as unique, wonderful people.

The adult/child ratio in my home is never greater than 1:6 (1 adult, 6 children). No more than 3 of these will be under the age of two, and no more than 1 under the age of 12 months. Click here to compare the adult/child ratio in my home to the allowable adult/child ratios in child care centers in Ohio.

Flexible, natural learning environment

Family child care naturally lends itself to providing a casual, flexible learning environment full of opportunity, wonder, and creativity. I plan a variety of enriching experiences that build a strong foundation of emotional, social, cognitive and physical skills for each child, but I don’t adhere to a rigid curriculum. I am able to flow with the interests of the children and take advantage of those “teachable moments” and opportunities. We have a regular routine and planned activities, but I most often function as a facilitator and “enhancer” to what is happening in the moment. This allows the children to explore, experience, and learn in a fun, relaxed, natural way. It enhances their curiosity and love of learning and allows true creativity to develop and flourish. I have written a little more about my philosophy here, and there are photos of activities here.

Why the name “Sharon’s Garden”?
I love nature. I love to grow things and be surrounded by beautiful, productive gardens. Because there are so many correlations between gardening and life, and because my house is surrounded by gardens and natural playspaces, “Sharon’s Garden” seemed an appropriate name for my child care home. It is a place of loving nurture, a place where children can grow and flourish and be who God created them to be.


Sharon Gartley
Sharon’s Garden Family Child Care

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