Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Importance of Early Childhood Education

Preschool girl. Image by Anissa Thompson at Stock.xchng
Classes will be opening again soon. I could still remember last year when we enrolled Janel in a preschool/nursery. I used to homeschool her 3 older siblings since I'm a stay at home mom and could still manage to teach all of them. But last year we decided to enroll them all in a DepEd accredited school.

I'm glad about the outcome of Janel's early childhood education. Though she and her older siblings are academically at par at the same age level, I like the fact that Janel can express herself better and she's more confident and sociable.

I know many parents who have 3 to 5-year old kids are seriously thinking whether to put their children in preschool or daycare. In a daycare, one can leave the child there the whole day. While in the preschool, the child only stays there for a couple of hours at almost the same price or more compared with the daycare fee. So, is there an advantage to enrolling a child in preschool? Read further from the posted article below by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas.

Early Childhood Education – More Than Daycare

There is no shortage of single parents who must hold down a job, or two, or three in order to provide for a family, it goes without saying that when it comes to toddlers and preschoolers especially, quality daycare is a necessity. But is it enough?

If you are fortunate enough to have a friend or family member willing to look after your very young child while you are on the job – or are able to hire a babysitter – you may be saving money, but your child is probably missing some important opportunities for intellectual growth. Yes, his/her physical needs for nourishment and protection are certainly being met, and there may be some socialization that occurs in a typical day care center, but many of them neglect learning activities that can stimulate cognitive function and give the child a firm foundation for furthering his/her education later in life.

It is Never too Early to Start

The growth that occurs in a child between birth and age five has a tremendous impact on their performance in school later on, this is a well known fact that Educators have long realized (even if policymakers refuse to acknowledge it). Sadly, although a recent policy decreed that "every child will enter school ready to learn," lawmakers on Capitol Hill were as usual very vague on how this is supposed to happen.

Research has supports that children may start learning even before birth; during the last trimester, the child may benefit from exposure to certain types of music as well as speech. So while you may joke about singing and talking to your baby pre-birth it is actually quite beneficial. The human brain undergoes rapid growth throughout the preschool years; it is safe to say that what happens to a child during the first five years of life largely shapes the adult s/he will become. At this stage of a child's life, s/he develops his/her basic language skills, a sense of self, his/her place in the group and the role of culture – all the basic tools required to function in a given society.

In short, the preschool years are those in which an elastic, malleable brain is "hardwired."

The Benefits

It has been clearly demonstrated that even one year of attendance at a certified preschool in which young children have opportunities for cognitive development through age-appropriate learning activities (such as educational games and other forms of constructive play) gives a child a tremendous advantage when they enter kindergarten. Such children have superior skills in reading, writing and speaking and mathematics – which are the foundation of every other subject. Additionally, children with a year or more of academic preschool have better social skills and are able to function better in a group setting. The effects of a quality preschool education will last a lifetime – and make it far more likely that the child will succeed as an adult in a Darwinian economic and social system in which every person is for him or herself and the only rule is "survival of the fittest."


Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the Austin day care facility, a member of the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose Schools (located in 16 states throughout the U.S.) and part of the network of day care preschools delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum.

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