Early childhood stage is an important part of a child’s intellectual development. During this stage, the brain tends to absorb anything from the immediate environment. This initial stage of growth plays a significant role in motivating and preparing a child to embrace education. It is important to recognize the contribution that early childhood education plays in an individual’s life and how it affects personal growth process. Children often learn social and interaction skills through formal education and social activities.
Importance of Early Childhood Education
Traditionally, children were considered to be unable to distinguish between right and wrong. Therefore, people never saw the need to impart knowledge during their early stages. This outdated school of thought might hold some truth to some extent. However, it is vital to mention that children often accommodate everything in their immediate environment. The mind of a developing child operates like a sponge. Therefore, early childhood education is essential (McGowan, 2012).
The social capability of a child is critical in the overall social growth of a child. However, it is important to mention that children who are enrolled in early schooling programs can utilize their memories so well in the entire process of development. Moreover, the learning potential of children who have gone through early childhood education is greatly enhanced even when they reach higher levels of education. In other words, early childhood education sets the right foundation for acquiring education and the overall learning ability.
Early childhood stage refers to the first eight years of a child after birth. Research carried out on a child’s brain capacity indicates that eighty five percent of the brain develops at the age of five and that the brain of a child at the age of three functions two and a half times more effective than the brain of an adult (Whitfield, 2010). Brain cell connections are strengthened by continuous stimulation from the environment (Whitfield, 2010).
The first three years of a child are considered the prime time where the brain absorbs new information easily (Whitfield, 2010). The academic, mental and social growth of a child can be developed rapidly and effectively when a proper learning foundation is adopted. For instance, it is interesting to mention that children who are below ten years have the best opportunity to learn a lot due to their memory abilities. This stage is important in the academic and mental development of an individual.
Learning new vocabulary in language is possible with a child who is just three years old. However, if such a child has not been enrolled in an inclusive early childhood education, this reality cannot be achieved. This stage is considered to be the foundation of literacy (Whitfield, 2010). Whitfield carried out research studies to determine the importance of language skills development in early childhood.
Interesting findings were gathered from the study. From the study, it was found out that educators in daycare services have several opportunities of stimulating practical skills that help children acquire language skills at the age of five (Rigby, 2007).
Even though the early childhood stage does not require any professional training, it is interesting to mention that children usually undergo language training skills when they are enrolled in early childhood education programs. This may happen subconsciously. Educators can provide the most important guidance to young children when taking them through language classes. The ability to build strong and sensible vocabularies can be enhanced when a child goes through early childhood education.
In cases whereby the educator adjusted the child’s language registered few improvements as compared to when educators waited and listened (Ricker, 2011). This is also the same stage when children tend to learn the aspects of reading and writing. They particularly build a large volume of vocabulary with special preference to common words and daily experiences. However, this was a different case in groups where the educators made corrections when wrong grammar was used.
The children in this category failed to use any new vocabulary in constructing sentences and some were not showing any signs of starting to talk any time soon. In this research, it was clear that children tend to learn from their surrounding environment. Their language skills can be improved by simple structural changes and practice (Mayse, 2004).
The emotional development of a child, cordial relationship building, academic development and other superb attributes are enhanced when a child undergoes early childhood education. People tend to think that children develop their ego during their adolescent stage, which is not usually the case.
Before a child attains the age of ten years, early childhood education assists in the realization of personal identity as well as the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. The expected roles to be played by each gender is also learned effectively when a child is taken through a rigorous early childhood education. In addition, they keenly monitor the immediate environment and create a binding experience with other learners. Children also acquire their social skills through play and education.
A child’s academic and language skills are not merely education-oriented. These skills can be developed through directed play and proper interaction with children (Snapp, 2012). The latter author carried out an experiment to show the difference between child- directed play whereby children decide what they want to do and express them, and adult directed play whereby a parent or an educator dictates what the child should play.
In some of the research studies conducted on early childhood development, it is evident that children tend to socialize better with other children. Hence, early childhood education assists in rapid brain development of a child when it is appropriately directed by an instructor. In other, early childhood education plays a critical role in shaping certain desirable attributes in a child. In this experiment, the conclusion was that child directed plays establish egos and practice on how to express and control emotions (Hechinger, 1990).
They also tend to learn a lot when interacting with the environment. It is necessary for education stakeholders such as teachers and parents to acknowledge the fact that children have their unique thinking patterns that can be nurtured from the very early stage of development.
The society ought to contribute towards the proper development of a child by providing productive programs to both children and caregivers. This could go along way in promoting a child’s mental and intellectual development. Such an initiative is a crucial investment in any society.
Early childhood education is considered as the initial step towards formal education. Early childhood education is also integrated with primary, secondary, and tertiary education to form a complete spectrum of learning program. The period between birth and the eighth year of a child ought to be utilized properly to the benefit of a child.
The external environment should favor the positive growth of a child. In order to achieve this broad objective, a safe and accommodating environment with abundant sensory stimulation should be made available to the child during the early stages of development.
Children who experience extreme stress during their early childhood stages tend to develop cognitive and behavioral difficulties. These effects often extend into a child’s later development and performance at school.
Children raised in humble backgrounds often achieve lower level of education compared to their counterparts raised in middle-class families due to reduced ability to learn in school. Early childhood education should also be accompanied by effective healthcare delivery. Good nutrition, consistent care from family members and constant encouragement of a child may assist a child to perform quite well in school.
For any government, organization or community that aims at achieving high return on investments so that it can offer education, there is need to prioritize healthy social, cognitive, and emotional development of children. This can be attained by incorporating proper education with good health nutrition, water and sanitation in order to bring up children in a holistic manner. Governments should invest in ECD programs to provide the essential learning foundation for children during their first critical eight years (Blackburn, 2010).
In conclusion, the roles played by the early childhood education program are fundamental in setting the right pace in education. When children are enrolled in early childhood education program, they secure the best chance of performing well academically even when they reach higher learning levels.
The cognitive ability of a child is also enhanced significantly when early childhood education is implemented at the right time. The ability to think critically and make proper judgment is also possible among children who have been taken through a professional early childhood curriculum. Therefore, early childhood education has myriads of benefits that should not be ignored by stakeholders in education.
Blackburn, J. (2010). Summits focus on importance of early childhood programs. Web.
Hechinger, F. M. (1990). Cost, importance of early childhood education rising. Web
Mayse, J. (2004). Importance of early childhood education touted at owensboro. Web.
McGowan, M. (2012). Local advocates talk early childhood education in Raleigh. Web.
Ricker, N. (2011). Leaders stress importance of early education to business. Web.
Rigby, E. (2007). Same policy area, different politics: How characteristics of policy tools alter the determinants of early childhood education policy. Policy Studies Journal, 35(4), 653-669.
Snapp, B. (2012). OKCEO summit stressed the importance of early childhood education. Web.
Whitfield, J. (2010). Educator exemplifies the importance of education. Web.