In Nigeria, the Importance of Early Childhood Education

Simply said, a child’s early years create the groundwork for all that follows. Researchers have recently discovered that the human brain produces the overwhelming majority of its neurons and is most responsive to learning between the ages of birth and three years. In reality, the acquisition of new information is essential for the development of active brain circuits (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000).

 

During this key developmental stage, early schooling might be quite beneficial. Since the early twentieth century, research correlating early intervention to both cognitive and socio-emotional benefits has spurred the expansion of early childhood programs.

 

Many new techniques and concepts for use in the classroom with young children have emerged in the past four decades, as have innumerable books, movies, and activities to improve the home environment. Several states have stated their intention to develop universal preschool programs. The federal government has produced several critically important books on early childhood education in the last five years (Bowman, Donovan, & Burns, 2001; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998) and has made significant contributions to the development and dissemination of effective practices.

 

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Early childhood is an important time in a child’s physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development. Mental and physical talents develop at an incredible pace, and a large part of learning occurs between the ages of birth and six. It is a period when youngsters want more attention and learning opportunities.

Early Childhood Education

Education begins when a kid is taken home from the hospital and continues when the youngster starts attending playgroups and kindergartens. Humans’ learning capacities throughout the remainder of their life, although not at the same intensity as during the preschool years. With this in mind, newborns and toddlers need excellent early learning experiences to aid their intellectual, social, and emotional development, laying the groundwork for subsequent school success.

Early childhood education is about developing and shaping the whole kid, which will ultimately serve as the foundation for their entire journey.

Children aged three, four, and five benefits from early childhood education. Preschool, pre-kindergarten, daycare, nursery school, and early education are other terms for it.

Every program, regardless of name, has the same purpose: to prepare young children for the transition to primary school. Sending your preschool-aged kid to one of these early childhood education programs may have a good influence on her and set her up for a great future.

Early childhood education (ECE; often known as nursery education) is a part of the education philosophy concerned with the formal and informal education of young children up to the age of eight. Infant/toddler education, a subset of early childhood education, refers to children’s education from birth to the age of two.

During the Enlightenment, it arose as an area of study, notably in European nations with high literacy rates. It grew during the nineteenth century as universal elementary education became the standard across the Western world. Early childhood education has been a prominent public policy topic in recent years, as local, state, and federal policymakers explore financing for preschool and pre-K. It is characterized as a critical stage in a child’s development. It refers to a child’s whole personality development.

 

ECE is also a post-secondary education program-acquired professional qualification. In Ontario, Canada, for example, the designations ECE (Early Childhood Educator) and RECE (Registered Early Childhood Educator) may only be used by registered members of the College of Early Childhood Educators, which is comprised of accredited childcare professionals who adhere to the College’s standards of practice.

 

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What is the significance of early childhood education?

Many individuals are skeptical about the value of pre-kindergarten education. This was shown in 2006 when the California legislature failed to approve legislation making preschool education obligatory for all children. Many Californians, especially parents who want to educate their children themselves, disagreed with the value of spending tax dollars to subsidize required preschool programs.

According to research, children participating in Head Start programs benefit from formal education before entering kindergarten. According to several research, children who participate in these programs are better behaved and have higher IQ scores when they enter kindergarten than their classmates who do not get formal schooling. Similarly, children engaged in Head Start programs learned faster than children who were not enrolled in similar programs.

According to opponents of pre-kindergarten education, the disparities between children participating in preschool programs and those who do not get formal education are only noticeable during kindergarten, first, and second grade. Children who have not had formal education before the kindergarten test at the same level behave similarly to their classmates who have undergone pre-kindergarten formal education in future years.

As a result, although Head Start students may have an edge for a few years, their peers perform at comparable levels after that. Another big issue with Head Start programs is that children who qualify for them often come from low-income households, therefore these programs are not widely accessible to children from all backgrounds. Children may, however, get a formal education in methods other than Head Start programs, such as childcare and parents educating their young children. Even while children in childcare programs may grow cognitively, children gain the most when their parents remain at home and teach them.

 

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Early Childhood Education Has Many Advantages

Children who are educated at a young age often benefit in the following ways: 1. enhanced social skills, 2. reduced or eliminated the requirement for special education instruction in following school years, 3. improved grades, and 4. increased attention spans

Similarly, other researchers have found that young children engaged in preschool programs are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, have fewer behavioral difficulties, and are less likely to get involved in crime throughout their adolescence and early adult years.

There is, however, no one-size-fits-all lesson that is best suited for all youngsters. While preschool may be very beneficial for some children, it may not be the greatest educational environment for others. In most circumstances, children gain the most from parental educational training. Before deciding which program is most suited for a kid, parents must consider the child’s particular personality, since not all programs help children in the same manner.

Early childhood education teaches children specific skills in group settings. Children in these situations learn how to collaborate effectively as a group or as a team. This is especially critical for youngsters who do not have siblings at home. Another aspect covered in these learning programs is goal planning. Children understand the value of working hard, concentrating, and paying attention. Each of these will become more important in future educational years.

Other Benefits of Early Childhood Education

People used to believe that since youngsters do not have the capacity to discriminate between good and evil, there is no need to teach them at a young age. However, although it is true that toddlers cannot distinguish between good and evil, it is also true that children absorb all they hear and see like a sponge, making early education crucial.

Early childhood education influences the basis of a child’s life and aids in his or her mental and intellectual growth. It is critical to appreciate the significance of early childhood education and how it affects a person’s life.

Early childhood education teaches children the fundamentals of life and helps them develop social, mental, and intellectual skills. Among the numerous advantages of early childhood education, the most important reason is that education offered between the ages of five and eight years has a significant impact on the kind of person a kid will become and is critical for an individual’s academic and mental development.

 

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Early childhood curriculum and education that is effective foster and improves language skills and the capacity to learn vocabulary. According to the journal of early childhood education study, the majority of language ability to acquire vocabulary, which is a basis for literacy, develops by the age of three (Bouchard & Gilles, 2011). Bouchard and Gilles investigated the significance of developing language skills in early infancy and stated that educators who are in childcare facilities before the age of five have many possibilities for exciting practice that helps children learn language abilities (Bouchard & Gilles, 2011).

Early childhood development includes not just intellectual and physical activities, but also relationships with others and emotional and cognitive growth. People often believe that children struggle to establish their ego throughout adolescence; nevertheless, children begin to grasp their identity in the first eight years, and their inner capacity for creativity and self-image of gender roles begin to form.

The First Three Years’ Implications

During the first three years of a child’s life, parents will have the most effect on his or her learning experience and education. What parents do and expose their children to has a significant influence on the child’s development. Parents often overlook the fact that an engaged parent may have a significant influence on a child’s education at any age. If the parents choose to participate in a Mothers and Toddlers group or child-care arrangements, such as family babysitting or center-based child care, all of these have the potential to provide high-quality, individualized, responsive, and stimulating experiences that will impact the child’s learning experience.

Keeping this in mind, a kid raised in a bad environment may likewise experience unfavorable consequences. This feature makes it critical that the child’s surroundings during these early years be as favorable and intellectually challenging as possible. Everyday routines provided by familiar caregivers include extremely close bonds. A youngster learns to trust and turns to the main caregiver for protection and care.

Speech development is one of the first skills that a youngster will display throughout his or her life. Infants and toddlers learn to identify familiar things and construct the principles that systematically control their qualities without using words at first. Toddlers quickly acquire words with assistance from books and conversation.

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A stable relationship with a caregiver allows a kid to explore comfortably.

Early childhood education often emphasizes learning via play, which is based on Jean Piaget’s study and theory, which states that play addresses children’s physical, intellectual, linguistic, emotional, and social needs (PILES).

When children’s curiosity and creativity are unrestricted, they naturally elicit learning. Learning via play allows a child’s cognitive development. Thus, via activities such as dramatic play, art, and social games, children learn more effectively and obtain more information.

Child development specialists believe that play is essential for all children’s cognitive and emotional development. The play has several facets. Although it should be a pleasurable experience for the youngster, many skills may frequently be learned via play. Play helps children develop values and ethics, as well as relational and social skills. Play should always be regarded as an integral aspect of a child’s early education.

Functional play aids in the development of motor and practice skills in youngsters. This kind of play is often done by stacking toys or devices that may be filled with water or sand or played outside. Water or sand play is a favorite of preschool children and an excellent educational tool. This form of play may account for almost half of what toddlers and preschoolers engage in.

Your kid has the most potential for learning new things at this time in her life. According to the Stanford University Rural Education Action Program, your kid will enhance her language and motor abilities while developing the learning and cognitive skills needed to transition to primary school.

Attending a high-quality early childhood education program may also help your child’s health. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 60 to 70 percent of preschool-age children attend an out-of-home early childhood program or childcare facility.

According to research, receiving great care in such programs may have a favorable impact on your child’s learning and development. Furthermore, your child’s socio-emotional development is less likely to be harmed, with a lower likelihood of requiring behavioral or mental health treatment once she starts primary school.

The ability to engage in early childhood screening is one of the numerous advantages of your kid obtaining an early childhood education. This screening is available for children aged three to five years old and assesses health, cognitive development, speech, vision, hearing, coordination, emotional abilities, and social skills. Screenings may reveal any developmental or health abnormalities that need to be addressed in order to avoid learning delays.