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Thursday, 8 December 2011

Early childhood education

Early childhood education | Childhood Education

 A child's needs during early childhood are different from those of older schoolchildren, because early childhood sees the greatest growth and development, when the brain develops most rapidly, almost at its fullest. It is a period when walking, talking, self-esteem, vision of the world and moral foundations are established.[citation needed] The early years of life are critical to the development of intelligence, personality and social behaviour. Research on brain development attests to the importance of key mental, physical and social capabilities. If these fundamental capabilities are not well established from the start, and especially if neurological damage occurs, a child's learning potential could be adversely be affected.[citation needed] As such, education in early childhood must have its own specific practices and issues.

For programming purposes, it has been decided to extend the concept of early childhood to about 8 years of age. This age range provides the opportunity to reinforce the view of the development as a continuum. It will facilitate the interaction between the pre and initial school years. The concept of basic education calls for the inclusion of early childhood and the key "survival" grades, that is, the first two or three grades of primary education.

Early childhood education often focuses on children learning through play, based on the research and beliefs of Jean Piaget. This belief is centered on the "power of play". It is thought that children learn more efficiently and more knowledge when given the opportunity for play based activities such as: dramatic play, art and social games. This theory plays off of children's natural curiosity and tendencies to "make believe", mixing in educational lessons

According to UNESCO ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Education) Unit, Early childhood is defined as the period from birth to 8 years old. A time of remarkable brain development, these years lay the foundation for subsequent learning.

The terms preschool education and kindergarten emphasize education around the ages of 3–6 years. The terms "early childhood learning," "early care," and "early education" are comparable with early childhood education. The terms day care and child care do not embrace the educational aspects. Many childcare centers are now using more educational approaches. They are creating curricula and incorporating it into their daily routines to foster greater educational learning.[citation needed] The distinction between childcare centers being for care and kindergartens being for education, for example, has all but disappeared in countries that require staff in different early childhood facilities to have a teaching qualification. The ChildForum early childhood education national organisation highlights that while this can uplift the overall quality of children's learning a primary purpose of all early childhood programmes is nevertheless to provide a high standard of care and nurturance due to the young age and emotional and physical needs of children. However, it is necessary to distinguish between nurturance and locomotive learning. One implies the development of vestigial implements of characterized babies, the other refers to hand-eye co-ordination.

Researchers in the field and early childhood educators both view the parents as an integral part of the early childhood education process.[3] Often educators refer to parents as the child's first and best teacher. Early childhood education takes many forms depending on the beliefs of the educator or parent.

Much of the first two years of life are spent in the creation of a child's first "sense of self" or the building of a first identity.[citation needed] This is a crucial part of children's makeup—how they first see themselves, how they think they should function, how they expect others to function in relation to them.[citation needed] For this reason, early care must ensure that in addition to employing carefully selected and trained caretakers, program policy must emphasize links with family, home culture, and home language, meaning caregivers must uniquely care for each child using Developmentally Appropriate Practice, Individually Appropriate Practice and Culturally Appropriate Practice. Care should support families rather than be a substitute for them (see a review of research on the role of parents and families in early education)

If a young child doesn't receive sufficient nurturing, nutrition, parental/caregiver interaction, and stimulus during this crucial period, the child may be left with a developmental deficit that hampers his or her success in preschool, kindergarten, and beyond.

Worst-case scenarios such as those found in Russian and Romanian orphanages demonstrate how the lack of proper social interaction and development of attachment affect the developing child.[4] Children must receive attention and affection to develop in a healthy manner. While in developed nations today such scenarios are fortunately rare there is a danger of a false belief that more hours of formal education for the very young child = greater benefits for the young child than a balance between formal education and time spent with family. A systematic review of the international evidence suggests that the benefits of early childhood education come from the experience itself of participation and that more than 2.5 hours a day does not greatly add to child development outcomes especially if this means the young child is missing out on other experiences and family contact


1 comment:

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