The Benefits of Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education is a term that is used to commonly describe the formal teaching and care of young children by individuals or professionals other than their family or in settings outside the child’s home. Based on the definition provided by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, early childhood education spans the child’s life from birth to the age of eight.
That being said, the general definition adopted by the majority of school districts throughout the world will typically employ a system of early childhood education starting from birth to when a child starts school—which typically occurs at the age of five.
The definitions regarding early childhood education are somewhat arbitrary; however, the majority of school jurisdictions throughout the world have defined the curriculum as taking place between a child’s birth until he or she reaches the age of 6. This period is regarded as one of the most critical in regards to a child’s development, for the years, which constitute early childhood education, denote the most influential period of growth and development. From zero to age 6 is the period of greatest growth and development for a child; at this stage, the brain develops most rapidly.
During this period, a child will begin walking, talking, developing a self-esteem and manufacturing a vision of the world. As a result of these innate developments, the child will build a moral foundation that is ultimately intertwined with the ability to perform rudimentary educational tasks.
Social and Emotional Development
Having your child attend the same preschool programme throughout his or her early years allows him or her to develop relationships with the adults and children in that environment, which provides a sense of security. A child who is comfortable with the people in his or her life is more likely to participate in learning opportunities and in advanced cooperative play, such as role playing with others, playing games with rules, and working with others to accomplish goals. Children who experience consistency in their early childhood education programme demonstrate less aggressive behaviours, because of their ability to interact with others and use their language skills to resolve conflicts. For young children, the knowledge that teachers, other children, and daily routines will be consistent over time fosters confidence and competency in social settings. These dimensions include well-trained teaching staff, a small number of children per classroom and an enduring intervention that begins early. Reviews of effective early education strategies conclude that programs that combine early childhood education with services to support families can produce lasting positive social benefits, and can result in decreased rates of antisocial and delinquent behavior (Yoshikawa, 1995).
Consistency in the preschool programme can significantly impact a child's cognitive development. High-quality early childhood development programmes that provide developmentally appropriate curricula, enable children to develop specific cognitive skills at the appropriate age. Developmentally appropriate curricula help children develop cognitive skills through a developmental continuum, meaning the curricula builds on children's existing skills and knowledge to help them acquire new skills and knowledge. In addition, curriculum programmes that incorporate developmental objectives ensure children follow a scope and sequence of age-appropriate developmental milestones throughout their time in the programme. Although research suggests that income is clearly associated with the cognitive development and achievement of children during their preschool years, studies have likewise found that the poorest children benefit the most from a high quality early education program (Brooks-Gunn, 2003; Yoshikawa, 1995)....
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