The first years of a child greatly affect their future. This stage is where the brain needs to develop more in their cognitive, social, language, physical, and emotional aspects. Therefore, it is critical to make sure that this stage will be meaningful and productive.
Otherwise, it may result in a long-term social, mental, or emotional problems. And this is where the dilemma comes in. How can the parents make sure that their child develops at this early stage and not lose their way? Is it through formal education which is provided by organizations and government or is it through homeschooling?
This issue has been the topic of public debates for quite some time now. Before anyone makes a stand, it would be best if we first understood why early childhood education is very important. Why do parents and the government need to take this seriously? What is the more advantageous and preferable approach based on research and findings? Let’s tackle all these questions by starting at the bottom.
What Is Early Childhood?
It is a stage or phase in human development. It includes the years of being a toddler until they reach their adolescence. Many experts say that early childhood ends when the child turns eight. However, since everyone has a different pace of development, the span of time in this stage is still uncertain.
To make things easier, there are established intervals when it comes to the age-related development periods of early childhood. These are toddler (1-3 years old), preschooler (3-5 years old), and school-aged child (5-12 years old).
Significance of Early Childhood to Learning
Why is early childhood so important? Can the child learn and develop more in the succeeding years when they can already understand things? The answer to this question lies in the Psychology of a child. There are mainly three phases of development in the early childhood. These phases happens simultaneously as the child grows and develops.
Because of what’s going on in the brain of the child in these stages, the learning process is very critical. Between the ages of 2 to 6, the brain increases its weight by up to 90%. This growth is followed by the rapid surge of mental abilities. During this period, the child learns more quickly than any other period of their life.
By the time the children turn five years old, they will start speaking properly. They will also master their hand to eye coordination. In order to take advantage of the surge of cognitive development, the child must be subjected to an environment that encourages learning by experience.
The child must be able to explore, discover, and try out new things. The child will also start asking “why” at this stage because they still can’t perform abstract thinking.
They don’t yet know the concepts of contemplation, logic, betrayal, empathy, and much more. So, this is where adults can teach the child about many things while the child remembers what they were told.
On the other hand, this period is also full of wrong concepts that the adults have to correct. For example, in the aspect of comprehension, the child thinks literally of anything you say.
When you tell a child that their grandparents have already fallen into a deep sleep and will not wake up forever, they might ask how a person can sleep like that.
The child also sets a human attribute to things. One example is a child saying that the feather duster is “funny” because it looks like a clown and it is used to tackle them.
Benefits of Formal Early Childhood Education
Through the years, a lot of research and studies that support formal early childhood education have been conducted.
One significant finding of these researchers is the likelihood of getting academic achievements for the children who have undergone formal childhood education.
According to the president of National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators or NAECTE, Libby Ethridge, she firmly believes that children who have attended early childhood learning programs are more likely to be high-achievers as compared to those with informal preschool education.
Indeed, because of the environment and experience that the school provides, children are more likely to ready themselves in the latter years of schooling. The social aspect also facilitates the learning experience of the child. In school, they are being exposed to other kids. These interactions with other children will then facilitate learning.
Another key advantage of formal early childhood education goes far beyond the school premises. According to several studies, preschool and childhood care programs could be a solution to the rising number of delinquencies and crimes.
The study HighScope Perry Preschool Study is very notable in this matter for tracking the lives of 123 children who had an early childhood education for 40 years. It turned out that these people had committed fewer crimes and graduated from high school as compared to those children who didn’t attend preschool education.
With these remarkable benefits alone, you can see how formal high-quality early childhood education can impact the lives of the children and the society as a whole. If you want your child to grow and develop better in his/her early childhood period, you can visit Waldorf Academy in Toronto.