Although children will reach the age of four or five years old before they enter formal education, those early years are absolutely vital for their physical, emotional, and educational development; indeed, experts agree that the period between birth and five years is absolutely critical when it comes to personal development. Children are like sponges, and begin to learn from the moment they are born. Whether focusing his or her energy on cognitive development, motor skills, language and communication skills, or emotional responses, your child has been learning about the world, and his or her place within it, from birth.
There can be no doubt that you’ve done an incredible job of educating your child up to this point, offering sensory stimulation, songs and stories, imaginative play and creative outlets to enrich your child’s experiences of the world. However, there must come a point when formal education steps in and hone’s your child’s perceptions, and skills with words, numbers, and worldly concepts. You see, children not only have a capacity for learning, but also a thirst for that knowledge; it could be time to start thinking about preschool and kindergarten as an avenue for your child.
How important is early childhood education?
It can feel, at times, as though too many pressures and expectations are placed upon our children when they’re barely old enough to converse or leave our sides. The idea of kindergarten and preschool is perhaps weighing heavily on your mind. Are there really any advantages to an early childhood education? As it turns out, there are. Indeed, research into the matter suggests that children not only learn better when surrounded by their peers, but also thrive in the informal education settings that many preschools now offer. Far from feeling pressured, those entering preschool education tend to adapt to more formal systems of learning later in life; their early forays into the classroom standing them in amazing stead for the future.
Other benefits of early childhood education include:
Improved concentration and ability to learn
Preschool and kindergarten environments introduce children to the kinds of expectations that will be placed upon them in later years, without the pressures associated with formal education. Children will learn about structured play and learning, quiet time, and scheduled lunch and playtime breaks without having to worry about taking tests and performance; well, not in the way that we understand these processes to be undertaken, anyway. Those embracing this system are likely to be better equipped to concentrate in the classroom later on, and will certainly have a deeper understanding of the learning environment.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of early childhood education in a preschool or kindergarten environment is the array of resources that children are likely to be exposed to; from libraries stocked with books and trolleys laden with scientific equipment, to the arts and crafts supplies that you’ve no room for, classrooms are furnished and accessorized with children in mind. Of course, we’ve no doubt you provide a wealth of materials for your child to use at home. However, there can be little denying the fun he or she is likely to have with those school supplies.
Increasing enthusiasm for education
Children are naturally curious; they want to explore the world, and to learn all of its hidden treasures and secrets. Those entering early childhood education are often found to be more confident and curious than their classroom peers, with an increasing awareness of the world around them. American international schools in Hong Kong take advantage of this natural curiosity with an early years’ curriculum, which introduces children to a new way of processing and interacting with information. Expatriate pupils generally settle at international schools quite readily, and enjoy a lifelong passion for the skills they’ll come to learn.
Better social and communication skills
A classroom setting will introduce your child to one thing you’ve perhaps been unable to provide; a room occupied by numerous other children your little one’s age. Preschools and kindergartens are fantastic places to nurture those first friendships, while improving your child’s communication and language skills via a series of activities, songs, and challenges. Language and communication will begin to develop from birth as you engage and interact with your baby; however, early childhood education can direct those skills, and enable your child to explore a wider range of emotions and expressions.
While it can be tempting to fear early childhood education, viewing it as an end to quality family time and an introduction to mounting pressures, numerous studies have demonstrated the advantages that such systems hold. Regardless of how confident you are as a parent there will be some resources, and processes you’re simply unable to provide for your child at this stage. If early childhood education can engage a child, and increase his or her potential within the classroom, it can only be viewed as a positive.