When you consider that 90% of the development of a child’s brain happens before they turn five, it’s clear that the period from the time they are born to when they go to school is the most critical time of their lives.
Simply put, this means that the importance of a quality early education is absolutely vital and can set the child up for later success. And as we know, success in later life isn’t measured purely in monetary or material terms, or in terms of occupation or perceived social status. It’s also about an individual’s ability to live a meaningful, fulfilled, happy and whole life and to contribute positively to society.
So let’s go back to early childhood education and see how it impacts on a child’s success at school.
By the time a child is five years old, the foundations for learning will have been laid. During these crucial formative years, children learn essential cognitive, emotional, physical and social skills which prepare them for a successful transition into school.
The recognition that early childhood education is such a critical foundation for learning led to the introduction of the National Quality Framework in 2012, which was widely acknowledged as a significant reform towards more positive outcomes for all children. A key component of this framework is the National Quality Standard (NQS) which provides a benchmark against which all early childhood care and education services in Australia are assessed and ranked.
As the national president of Early Childhood Australia (ECA), Christine Legg, said: ‘A good solid early education programme is an investment in social capital: in our future’.*
Early education prepares children for primary school and sets the foundation for a child’s development from a social, emotional, physical and cognitive perspective. However, it has longevity far beyond school, setting children up for a lifelong love of learning and discovery and establishing the foundation of their long-term holistic wellbeing and achievement as contributing members of society.
Here are some of the ways that quality early education benefits a child and impacts positively on their success at school:
Helps develop complex thinking skills
At face value, play-based activities may just seem like a bit of fun, but they’re absolutely crucial for the development of a child’s cognitive, language and problem-solving skills. A quality child care centre or early learning environment will have plenty of play-based activities which provide little ones with opportunities to explore the world around them and discover their interests, as well as help them learn to listen, participate in both individual activities and group settings and follow instructions. These are all key skills necessary for academic achievement at school.
Social skills are developed
Children learn to interact and socialise with others at childcare and early learning centres. They learn concepts like sharing, taking turns, resolving conflicts and how their behaviour impacts others plus they start to form relationships with their peers.
Creates awareness of the environment
A quality childcare centre is likely to encourage activities and behaviours that create awareness of the importance of preserving the natural environment. Topics like waste, recycling, the value of trees and green space, the value of growing your own vegetables etc are all key issues which can help young children start to develop a strong social conscience.
Children learn self-regulation
Activities that encourage children to practise self-regulation skills (in other words learn how to control their thoughts, feelings, reactions and behaviours) will set them up for more formal schooling where they are likely to face many situations where they will need to exercise restraint as well as plan ahead. Encouraging young children to stop and think before acting impulsively will help them be more successful at school.
But in the words of UNESCO, early education does more than just prepare a child for success at school. They say:
‘Early childhood care and education (ECCE) is more than preparation for primary school. It aims at the holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing. ECCE has the possibility to nurture caring, capable and responsible future citizens’.**
Check out “Why Schooling Doesn’t Start At School - The Importance Of Early Education” for more vital info on early education.
Here at Treasured Tots early education, our passion is providing a ‘home away from home’ for our children, families and team members where creativity and learning is visible. We truly believe that every child who comes to one of our child care centres in Mandurah, Bibra Lake or Fremantle gets an excellent springboard for entry into school as well as the best possible foundation for a life well-lived.
To find out more information contact us or book a tour of any of our wonderful centres in Mandurah, Piara Waters, Bibra Lake and Fremantle to ensure our management team are available to show you around and answer any questions.