The ABC of the daycare centre

The key terms of the daycare centre. You can filter the topics alphabetically or according to Maslow's hierarchy of needs.



This is the child’s first experience within a group and it takes place with the parents. This is the period in which the professionals establish a relationship of trust with the parents and child. For example, the child only attends the daycare centre for a few hours on the first day with a parent or a close relative present. Then they gradually stay for the whole day. The period of adaptation usually takes about two weeks.



This is the period during which the professional makes themselves available for the child and parent. The child and their individuality is taken into account to ensure good integration into their group. High-quality childcare helps all parties with the separation and establishes a relationship of confidence.

Daycare centre


The living space for a group of children with the same daily routine. The groups are formed according to the educational and teaching mission (groups by age category, mixed ages groups, etc.).

Educational mission


The objective of the educational mission is to define the orientation of the work that is carried out with children.

Each childcare facility writes its own educational mission, which defines the approach of the organisation, the institutional values, the educational line and focus, and the relationship with families and external partnerships.

This document formalises the procedures implemented by professionals to respond to the needs of children. When you meet the manager of the daycare centre, do not hesitate to ask them about the educational mission within the institution. It is the key element with regard to the quality of childcare.

Emotional security


This is all about supporting the child, helping them to perceive, recognise, and form a positive image of themselves. But it is also about treating the child with respect, caring, not judging, and taking account of their skills, history and family setting.



It is important for the child to discover the world around them in their own way so that they understand it. To grow up and evolve, the child has to have their own experiences at their own pace. The role of the professionals is therefore to create an environment adapted to their experimentation, enabling the development of the child under the best conditions of emotional and physical security.



Lunch and snacks provide rhythm in the day of children and babies. It is a time to interact, which encourages discovery and learning about new flavours and textures. The ambience, the décor and what is on the plate contribute to learning and to the fun of enjoying a pleasant time together.



Play is a universal phenomenon and the right of children. It is an activity that is entertaining and brings pleasure. The child evolves through play and develops his skills, imagination and learning. Play improves the cognitive, emotional, motor and social skills of the child in particular. You could say that “the work of the child is play”!

Reference person


The term “reference person” defines the person who supports the child and their family. They are the person who puts the child at ease and who knows their needs. The idea of the role of “reference person” differs depending on the daycare centre and its educational mission.



Siestas are indispensable markers in the day of the child. Their needs and rhythms are taken into consideration at the daycare centre. The sleeping area is set up in such a way that it is peaceful and reassuring. For babies, it is important to have a separate place exclusively set aside for them to sleep.