Early childhood education (ECE) has long been recognized as a critical investment in a child’s future. Research has shown that high-quality ECE can have a significant impact on a child’s development and success later in life, from academic achievement to social-emotional skills. However, the benefits of ECE extend far beyond the individual child. By investing in early childhood education, society as a whole can reap long-term benefits, including increased productivity and economic growth, reduced crime rates, and improved public health outcomes. Through small steps, we can achieve big results in shaping a better future for our children and society as a whole.
Ajay Gupta, founder, Bachpan Play Schools and Academic Heights Public Schools, says, “We believe in the philosophy of ‘Small Steps, Big Results,’ which means that every little effort we put in during a child’s early years will have a major impact on their future. Early education is not just about academic learning, but it is also about developing a child’s social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and language skills. Children who receive quality early education are more likely to succeed in school, have a diverse range of skills, and also have higher earning potential. Most importantly, this impact is not just limited to a child. The ripple effect from this can create changes and transformation in entire communities.”
Early education has a strong impact on a child’s brain development. Children learn best when they are not forced or put under pressure and are allowed the freedom to be imaginative and explore their surroundings. Regrettably, due to a lack of early childhood education, many young children under the age of five fail to develop to their full potential in underdeveloped countries. This has encouraged parents to appreciate and value the value of early childhood education and pre-schools.
“Young minds which are in the developing phase, have a very high capacity to grasp and learn. Therefore, it is very crucial to keep a check on the kind of information they are exposed to, so they know how to differentiate between the right and wrong,” says Preeti Bandary, Parenting Expert and the co-founder, Little Elly
Bandary highlights some ways on how early childhood education is essential for the social and intellectual development of a child:
It is crucial for humans to have a solid foundation in all of their personality’s facets, including their emotional, social, mental, and physical ones. Early childhood educators are skilled in spotting a child’s areas of weakness and motivating them to grow via peer interactions and hands-on activities. Being the first teachers and care providers outside the child’s house, they become a key source for imparting a high emotional quotient.
Implementing game-based learning:
Playing a game to exhibit creativity sets up an environment in the classroom that creates an opportunity for students to play, explore and express themselves in the process of learning and building a strong bond between the kids and their teachers. Color blocks, hand-eye coordination games, memory skills , indoor and outdoor group activities, etc are a few ideas that pre-schools promote. For example, combining activities of counting numbers, factoring with simple games like ludo will not only help children develop conceptual knowledge but also make sure that they enjoy learning.
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Building Resilience in Children:
Resilience is the capacity to “bounce back” from challenges and setbacks. Children may encounter difficulties and obstacles when they first go to school, move into a new home, or welcome a sibling into the family. Addressing these issues is the key responsibility of parents as well as teachers. These issues can be tackled by teaching them to socialize with people around and keeping them engrossed in activities that interest them. Teachers and mentors should focus on creating a habit of participation among the children, and should make them understand that sometimes it is okay to fail.
Knowledge of Diversity
Children need to be taught to respect and accept the differences in the diverse society that we live in. Young children shape themselves with each new word, experience, and person. Diversity activities teach young children to respect and celebrate the differences in all people. Learning about different cultural aspects offers new experiences for children. It also helps them realize that we’re all humans, despite differences in how we look or dress, or what we eat or celebrate. Developing sensitivity towards differences is what is also focused in early childhood care.
Encourage kids to work in groups:
Teamwork is a skill that is necessary at every stage of life. A person’s ability to work in a team is determined by their respect for other people’s opinions, good listening skills, and being a good communicator. Creating a participating environment, engaging in cooperative play, small group exercises etc are a few strategies that will encourage friendship skills and social play. During these activities, children have the opportunity to communicate with one another and collaborate to work towards a common goal. The skills learned above are an important part of children’s personal and social development. Learning how to work with others are important byproducts of collective and collaborative learning.
In conclusion, early childhood education plays a crucial role in a child’s overall development, including their emotional, social, mental, and physical growth. It provides children with a strong foundation for higher education and helps them develop essential skills such as teamwork, resilience, and diversity. Through game-based learning, group activities, and other strategies, children can explore their surroundings, be imaginative, and learn at their own pace without pressure.