Education begins at the very beginning of a child’s life. Experts say that early childhood is by far the most critical time of a person’s education, as this is the time when a very impressionable mind is capable of absorbing the most information.
What is early childhood education?
Early childhood education refers to the combination of physical, cognitive, emotional, and social learning of a child during the first six to eight years of his/her life. While parents and primary care givers play an important role in a child’s attainment of such knowledge, an early childhood educator offers a more specialised approach to the education of a child. In order to maximise the learning program for any child, early childhood educators usually go to great lengths to involve parents and care givers in his/her early childhood program.
The principle behind early childhood education
Psychological researches have revealed that children learn at the fastest pace when they are between the ages of 0-6 years old. That is the main reason why a child’s brain is often referred to as a sponge, as it has the ability to soak up huge amounts of information in a very naturalistic way. Early childhood education is primarily designed to enhance and maximise a child’s natural learning process.
The designing of an early childhood education curriculum
There are a number of early childhood education programs that are based around the beliefs and studies of different educational theorists. Some preschools focus solely on just one theory, while most preschools will devise a curriculum that integrates ideas of all leading theorists. Curriculums will touch on skills like reading and writing, while incorporating subjects such as geography and science. Irrespective of theorists and curriculums, each and every preschool is designed to cater to the individual needs of a child.
What should a good pre-school program entail?
There are a number of important factors to consider when choosing a suitable pre-school program for your child, some of which include the following;
- The parents or caregivers should be actively informed of and involved in the learning process
- All pre-school programs should place an emphasis on learning through play
- The curriculum provided must place equal importance on the physical, cognitive, emotional and social development of the child
One of the most crucial key factors to keep in mind is that the entire early learning process must be made into a fun and beneficial experience for a child, and it must not be forced in any way. After all, if a child is not having fun in preschool, they will most likely not want to return after their very first week there.
The value of early childhood education must not be overlooked or underestimated in any way as it is the foundation of every child’s learning. It is important to nurture a child’s brain in its susceptible state with as much information as is logical. Allowing children to develop their creative, social, physical and emotional skills in a relaxed and fun educational environment will give them a strong foundation for life and for further education.
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