Understanding the Importance of Early Childhood Education
It is indeed every parent’s dream to help their child build a safe and secure future. This cycle starts from the very first day the child is born and continues till the day the child turns into an adult and become physically, mentally and emotionally independent.
The early stages of a child’s development or you can say, the early stages of childhood are the most important ones. The childhood phase is very crucial as parent’s can mould the child accordingly during these early years of childhood.
As per a recent study conducted some very well-known scientists across the globe, the time period starting from a child’s birth to eight years is filled with high level learning and it is during this time that the child absorbs whatever is going around him. This period is the maturing period of the child’s physical and mental abilities.
What age is early childhood?
There is no particular age that defines early childhood. Generally, the first 6-8 years after the child’s birth are the learning filled years of the child and whatever the child harnesses during this period, stays with him till the end of life. The basis of a child’s understanding is formed during these initial years and hence, they are considered as early childhood education and care years.
During these years, the children are completely under the influence of their parents and whatever is taught to them. What parent’s make their children do or make them understand has a immense impact on the child’s growth and mental development.
What does early childhood education mean?
There is no set definition of early childhood education and it varies from one person to another. The National Association for Education of Young Children defines early childhood education as high quality learning for children between the ages of 1 to 6 years. It not only drives the child towards academic achievements in later stages but also helps in a healthy mental, physical and emotional development of a child. This education is something that only the parents can extend to their children before they enter pre-school and high-school as this education forms the base of a child’s growth.
A peek into early childhood development stages!
The development cycle of a baby starts from the very first day the baby is brought home after delivery. The initial few days are the very sensitive ones and the most nerve wrecking days for the parents. The little feet, sensitive hands, soft head and the fragile body, the development cycle beings as soon as the baby is born.
Once the baby grows up, he starts crawling, trying to life his body, trying to stand using external support, grabbing things and putting almost everything in mouth and trying to chew them. All these actions are a signal that the baby’s mental and physical development has begun. Also, when the baby is 1-2 years old, he can sense what is going around us and reacts to external stimuli the way adults too; this shows that his emotional development has also started.
It is during these development years that parents can mould the child into educated kids.
Here are few suggestions how family involvement in early childhood education can do wonders!
Parents can opt for mother-child relationship sessions where a group of mothers and their little ones get together and high quality educational lessons are provided for the toddlers. Mothers are also taught how to deal with kids of this age and how progressive learning can be extended to them.
In these sessions, parents are also taught how to keep their child happy and provide them a positive environment. In early years of childhood, a healthy environment is a must for the child to be able to learn and become intellectually stable.
Speech stimulation is another aspect of the child’s development that requires attention and patience. Conversing with your child on a daily basis, telling him stories and asking him to comprehend them are some of the ways in which you urge your child to speak. The first few words that the children learn come from their surroundings and what their parents teach.
You can also take the help of nursery rhymes, educational TV serials, pictorial books, puzzles and story books to make this education trip an exciting one for your child.
All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy!
Remember this saying?
Well, this applies to the case of your child too. Do not forget that playing is a very important tool in the child’s development. Educating the child with lessons, story books, nursery rhymes cassettes and CDs etc. are not the only ways of educating the children in their early years.
Playing not only makes the child active, but is also partially responsible for the child’s mental development. It helps the child develop motor and practical skills that books can definitely not teach them.
Building blocks, matching shapes and figures and simple craft activities like colouring and sketching can contribute to the child’s thinking and comprehensive skills. Not only this, pretention games like playing with the kitchen sets for girls, making doll houses and car racing in case of young boys, help them connect to the reality of the world they are about to step in and help in the development of reasoning and living skills.
Theories of early childhood education
In technical terms, ECE of Early Child Education is a subdivision of education theory which deals with imparting education and learning to young kids until the age of eight.
A number of theories revolve around early childhood education.
Vygotsky’s socio-cultural learning theory is based on the social and cultural impact of the society on children. Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist proposed that children learn through their interactions with more knowledgeable peers and adults.Vygotsky’s socio-cultural learning theory has also proven especially important for the education of the mentally disabled.
Piaget’s constructivist theory suggests that learning comes from within and children build their own knowledge of the world through life experiences and what happens around them. Piaget’s theory comes to conclude that computers can be a great educational tool for kids when used to support the design and construction of their projects and contributes a lot to the development of their reasoning skills.
Apart from these two important theories, there are several other theories across the globe that highlight different aspects of learning and importance of early childhood education and each has its own conclusion about what contributes the most in a child’s development. For some, it is a natural process and comes from inside while for other’s it’s something completely mechanical and depends completely on what the child is taught by his family.
A balanced environment is the best way to help your child grow in to a balanced adult or teen. Always remember that restrictions urge children to do the opposite and this is indeed very harmful when the child grows into a teenager. An open and happy go lucky surrounding will not only be pleasing for the child, but will also help the child open up and accept the outside world with positivity and determination. Early education and care is a topic of great concern and one should not be ignorant about it as it forms the bases of a child’s life going forward and in the years to come. A child is often said to be his parent’s reflection and each and every action that you take has some effect on your child-negative or positive. This is something which every parent should remember and be careful about it. Even though a 3 year old child does not speak what he feels, simply because he cannot, it does not mean that he is not observing what is going around him. He observes and at the same time feeds the same in his brain which comes up somewhere in the later stage of his life and reflects in his actions.
No matter what educational tool you use to educate your growing child, there is something very essential that every parent must remember. Boosting the early years of children’s lives is the best asset we can make as a society in ensuring their future success.
This article was meant to give help you understand the various approaches to early childhood education. We hope you like it. If you have any questions on any of the things mentioned in the article, please feel free to ask! We will be more than happy to help you. Also, if you have something to share or an experience that can help other’s pass this tense phase of their child’s development, please go ahead and share it with others.
Keep checking this space for expert advice on various other aspects of child’s development and behaviour in later stages of life.