From the moment a child is born he or she is absorbing the world around them. They are inquisitive, curious and able to soak up and retain immense volumes of new information that will eventually shape them into the adult they will become. What they learn and are exposed to when they’re young has a direct effect on their future prospects, and therefore how their development and growth – physically and mentally – is nurtured in early childhood education is fundamental.
Young children have at least 12 years of education in front of them, and the process of an infant entering into formal education for the first time is a daunting one. In order to make the transition from early years into a schooling environment as smooth and as positive as possible for infants, it is recommended that they are given access to early education prep at a day care centre that has a high-quality development program for children.
A childhood development program can benefit a child’s language skills, speech, cognitive development and motor skills, social and emotional intelligence and self-expression. It can also equip them with practical skills and tools they need to start school, and ensure that they have the best headstart in not only literacy and mathematics, but in all subject areas. To find out just how important school readiness is for infants, keep reading.
Language acquisition and literacy skills
The earlier a child’s language and literacy abilities are flexed, the better they will perform at school and the more confident they will feel. A quality early education will kickstart a child’s familiarity and understanding with the alphabet, words and phonics. With this exposure early on a child will have a better grasp on the English language and the logic behind words, and how they are formed to make sentences that communicate thoughts, actions and ideas.
With this basic understanding of language and literacy under their belt, a young child will become a better communicator and will enhance their vocabulary at a much faster rate than those whose language skills are not developed in the right environment. Having an early aptitude to language will make a child’s transition to formal schooling a smooth one.
A child’s cognitive development is essential and is something that should be encouraged as early on in their life as possible. An infant’s cognitive ability will grow naturally through sheer curiosity, but the sooner that can understand about numbers, colours, counting, comparison, and cause and effect, the better.
Through an early childhood education, an infant’s cognitive development will be quicker. Through the right encouragement, resources and teaching they will be able to identify patterns, shapes, colours, numbers and understand the basic logic. These are essential skills which set the foundation for almost all learning they will experience in schooling.
Social and emotional skills
Equally important to improving a child’s cognitive skills and enhancing their language acquisition is developing their social and emotional intelligence. With better communicative ability, a child will find it easier to settle into school.
A childhood development program will teach and encourage young children to engage in conversation with others – both adults and children their own age – and engage with collaborative activities like play. By doing so, a child will develop empathy, self-awareness and an understanding of how their behaviour can affect those around them. By observing and partaking in interaction with others, a child will also understand how to express themselves and how they feel, which is a vital tool in life. This is also a time when young children will start to make friends and consider others in a caring and thoughtful way.
The more a child is encouraged to communicate with others and be accountable for their actions, the easier they will find the transition into schooling and meeting new people.
Physical ability and practical skills
Early childhood development also concerns a child’s fine motor skills. By participating in activities such as play and art a child will become more balanced and stable on their feet. They will also become more dexterous, learning how to hold a pen in their hands, for example. When these skills are honed a child will be able to perform self-help actions such as tying their shoelaces and doing up their coat zipper. These practical skills are fundamental for both day-to-day lives and for when they start school, and will greatly improve their confidence.
Self-expression and creativity
Self-expression and creativity is another thing that children can develop in early education which will improve how they settle into school. With better self-expression and creative thinking, a child is able to think more logically and be a problem solver. They will also be more emotionally intelligent and able to make more meaningful and trusting social relationships with adults, children and teachers.
Creativity can be fostered through a number of outlets in early education, including art, play, music and reading. The more a child is encouraged to freely experiment and indulge their curiosity at a young age, the more in touch with themselves they will be as they grow up.
Introduction to the world they live in
One of the most obvious reasons why it is recommended that children are placed in a learning environment before they begin formal education is because it will give them an insight into the world around them and how it works. They will be introduced to new environments, new people, new scenarios and much more, and all of this information will make a positive impact on their ability to adapt to new situations. This is fundamental for when they start school, as it will be the biggest change they will have experienced to date, and the smoother it goes the better their chances of achieving highly will be.
There is no denying the immense strength and power of an infant’s brain; its ability to soak up and retain new information is remarkable. It is therefore crucial that during this period their cognitive, social and emotional development is properly nurtured. It will mean they will be more likely to succeed throughout their future educational endeavours.