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Early childhood education sets the foundation for the formation of core values, advance in cognitive development and socio-emotional awareness going ahead. Experiences at a young age have a profound impact on a child’s thoughts and behavioural patterns. This has a direct impact on the kind of adult and learner they will become.
A nurturing environment during their childhood coupled with stimulating experiences will allow their neurons to form additional connections, and thus lead your child to acquire new skills. The two key factors are interest and curiosity. This in turn, prepares them to be resilient and helps them overcome the challenges that school and life will place their way.
For babies, learning about the world around them (and the acknowledgement that there is a world beyond them – moving away from egocentrism to sociocentrism) occurs during prenatal stages (before they are born – while they are inside their mother’s womb). This continues into the perinatal (right before and after birth) and postnatal stages.
During these early stages, children learn how to navigate an array of relationships – ranging from a partnership with their parents to friendships with their peers to mentorship by their teachers. This helps them become lifelong learners and develop healthy habits for their well-being.
The Unicef website makes a strong case for the importance of early childhood development, citing on this page that ‘A good foundation in the early years makes a difference throughout adulthood and even gives the next generation a better start.’ Unicef research has confirmed the following:
Parents can foster a more nurturing environment for their child by looking out for development milestones based on age group. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has a comprehensive list of developmental milestones which you can access here and this is another good resource which lists a more succinct list of basic developmental milestones.
Once your children are ready to attend nursery school, one could invest in the early childhood education/development program that best suits the needs of your child. Reading through the mission statements/ethos of the school and visiting in person (thus talking to teachers and fellow parents) will give you a better sense of the organisation.
Here are a few factors to consider: