Education is a lifelong process that begins as soon as we are born. Learning occurs either actively or passively, and we can learn either by listening, seeing or doing. Let us first understand how the brain develops before we get into the importance and benefits of early childhood education.
It is known that 90% of brain development occurs within the first 3 years of a child’s life. It does continue after that until the age of 5yrs, and by age 6yrs, the brain is already 95% of its adult size. However, the thinking part of the brain, the grey matter, continues to develop and thicken as the synapses make extra connections based on the stimulus and input it gets from the outside world.
In the past few decades, researchers and scientists have realized how fast the child’s brain develops and how quickly and easily children absorb information from their environment. During this time, the children are rapidly developing their social skills, language skills, gross and fine motor skills, cognitive skills, and even emotional skills. Their minds are like sponges absorbing knowledge that they will use later on. All this has made the ages 0-5 years ideal for human development. The exposure and experiences we give them now will last their entire lifetime.
A Changing Trend
With the research now going into early childhood and early education, people realize the importance of child education. The old ways of letting children be by themselves, staying at home all day, and playing with random toys have given way to more age-appropriate toys and equipment designed to help children achieve their developmental milestones.
Parents engage with their children while they play, talking to them, even reading to them, taking their children to different places and exposing them to various experiences. There is a difference that can be seen between the children who have had these experiences and those who haven’t, both when they enter formal education and in later life as well.
Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education, or ECE, is the type of child education dedicated to children below the age of 8. It comprises both formal and informal methods of teaching. This area of early education originated in Europe and has gained acceptance all over, with many countries accepting it as a norm.
The initial 2 years of the child’s life are spent at home, with parents and family members playing an important role in the child’s understanding of themselves and their surroundings. Home is the first learning environment the child is exposed to, where the parents can shower the child with much love and attention. In contrast, research has proven that as the child grows older, they stand to benefit much more from the experience of teachers within an early education program.
Benefits of Early Childhood Education
The significant benefit of an early childhood education program is that the child is surrounded by professionals who understand the needs of the child, they are very familiar with the developmental milestones that the child needs to achieve, and they have the ability and resources at hand to provide an environment that not only fosters these skills but is also intellectually stimulating. These early education centres can give children a wide spectrum of opportunities for better cognitive, social-emotional, language, and even gross and fine motor skills, resulting in increased confidence levels.
Find a Eurokids center near you and observe the ease at which children learn and have fun at the same time.
The “Kindergarten System”
The term kindergarten means “children’s garden” or “garden of children” it was first coined by Fredrich Froebel in the 18th century, in which he compares children to flowers that needed constant nurture and care. The kindergarten centres were designed to be safe places for children to keep when both parents had to work and make the transition from home to school easier. It is mainly for these reasons that these centres became so popular and laid the foundation for the early childhood education centres that we know today.
These early education centres still perform the same function of providing a safe place for parents to leave their children as they go to work and ease the transition from home to school. However, with an increased understanding of this field and technological advancement, these centres have become more structured and have better-trained professionals and age-appropriate toys and equipment.
Adding Fun to Learning
It is a known fact that children love to play and are happiest when doing so. However, the opposite is true when children have to learn. How can we make learning fun? Or learn how we can learn something while having fun? The successful amalgamation of the ‘fun element’ and the ‘learning element’ makes early childhood education very popular.
By consciously trying to add a fun element into learning or a learning element while having fun, the children’s minds are stimulated and then engage in the activity for longer. Adding colour, textures, and even music goes a long way in sustaining the child’s interest and concentration while making learning fun.
As parents, we always strive to give our children the best, but we can’t know the best way to give it to them. More than buying the most expensive equipment or toy is required. It is not even possible for parents to be around their children all the time, have all the knowledge required for child development or even have enough safe space required for the child to roam freely and explore by themselves.
All this and more is readily available at early childhood education centres like Euro kids, where the importance of child education is taken seriously. The equipment and materials are specifically chosen depending on the developmental needs of various age groups. There are trained professionals around to teach and guide your child into successfully achieving their milestones. There are other children of a similar age to interact and play with. The activities are well throughout and designed to develop specific skills in a child. These centres aim for the holistic growth of the child.
Learning and Evolving
As years go by, we have seen a tremendous change in the approach to education, particularly early childhood education. The cramped benches in small classrooms have given way to larger spacious classrooms with minimal furniture and ample space for the children to move about freely as they do their activities. The children can do their activities standing, sitting at a table, or on a carpet.
The focus of teaching, too, has evolved from the 3 r’s – reading, (w) writing and (a) arithmetic to holistic development, teaching the child life skills, to be self-reliant and independent, giving children opportunities to interact, speak out, think, solve problems and develop their thoughts.
The needs of the children too have changed, being exposed to so much technology- they need time to process what they are seeing, need someone to answer their questions all the time – they do have a lot of questions, but parents may not have the time to answer them with other things taking precedence. Families are smaller these days with just 1 child, so there is no other child to play with or interact with. With nuclear families, there are no grandparents around to tell them stories or explain things to them patiently. It is mostly for these reasons that schools have evolved to include children’s emotional and social development.
A day or week in any early childhood education centre like EuroKids is well planned and structured. The daily schedules include activities that give the children opportunities to learn, explore and even move about and have fun. Along with age-appropriate materials and equipment, the teaching aids include puppets, flashcards, 3D models, hands-on experiments, real-life experiences, field trips, music, singing, art, crafts, outdoor play, water play, sand play, and so much more. They are also taught concepts and given numerous opportunities to practice what they have learnt, all within safe and comfortable environment, with adults around to cater to their needs.
The importance of early childhood education lies not in churning out individuals all good in Math or English or other particular skill sets but in understanding that each child is unique, they come from different backgrounds and different experiences, each has their likes and dislikes, and each of them learns at a different pace. Early childhood education recognizes that each child is full of potential, is willing to learn, and has no fixed way of teaching them. Education and teaching is a continuously evolving system that embraces the changes in our daily lives.
Early childhood education teaches us the importance of recognizing each child as an individual, an integral part of a whole. As an individual who will one day grow up to be a productive member of society.
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