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Importance of early years’ education for children

Published : Tuesday, 16 April, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 361

Importance of early years’ education for children

Importance of early years’ education for children

Childrens early years at school are very crucial for their learning and overall development, which serves as a solid foundation for their lifelong journey forward.  The skills needed to be successful problem-solvers, engineers, inventors, artists and change-makers are innately observed in our early childhood students.  From birth they are curious, imaginative and determined to do something for themselves.  This early childhood education encourages our young learners to discover the wonders of the world and enables them to contribute as positive, confident and caring people.  This early childhood education is usually called Early Years Education.  Although it is more commonly known as a specialized term in the IB curriculum, it is now well-respected in advanced curricula in the modern world.

In the Cambridge curriculum, this is the Cambridge Early Years Programme, abbreviated as Cambridge EYP.  It is the first stage of the Cambridge Pathway, which provides a clear direction to academic success for students aged 6 to 19.  In the Pearson Edexcel this is the Edexcel iPrimary Reception/Early Year, abbreviated as Edexcel iPR or Edexcel iPEY Curriculum.  It is a two-year program for children aged 3 to 5 years.  On the other hand, the IB (International Baccalaureate) curriculum has been running this program for a long time.  The Early Years Program (EYP) is considered part of the IB Primary Years Program (PYP), through which students aged 3 to 5, seek to find their appropriate environment and learn through play with classmates, teachers, family and community members.

This level of education has been mainstreamed into the curriculum to facilitate the upbringing of children by working or busy parents in modern civilization and to accommodate the progressive learning style of schools. Our national education program in Bangladesh also has a level of education called Pre-primary, which is basically organized with the approach of learning through play, similar to the Early Years Programme (EYP).

Early Years Education is a child-centered, play-based program that helps young learners develop at their own pace.  It encourages them to act independently, make their own choices and discover a sense of self-worth.  In essence, the Early Years curriculum includes everything that a child learner needs for a high-quality education.

Early Years education programs mainly consider four main goals in child development;  1.  Social Development 2.  Emotional and Mental Development 3.  Physical Development 4.  Intellectual and Academic Development

1.  Social Development: The social development of children is considered as The Cradle of Social Cohesion.  Early years education builds childrens ability to understand themselves by relating them to other people in society.  It teaches children to use respectful and greeting language like "thank you", "excuse me", "Im sorry" "AssalamuAlaikum" in addition to acquiring basic skills.  It teaches children to improve communication skills and speak with clear and pure pronunciation.  Early Years Education instills in children the values of social norms, empathy, equality, peace, cooperation and the belief that they can make a positive difference in the lives of others.

2.  Emotional and Mental Development: Through Early Years Education, children can develop essential emotional skills such as; self-confidence, emotional self-regulation, self-expression, self-esteem and positive self-confidence.  These skills are essential for later activities such as problem solving and healthy risk taking.  Small class sizes and teacher interaction help children learn these skills in an environment where they are encouraged to practice essential emotional skills including mutual familiarity and caring.  This education instills a strong emotional foundation in children, where they understand their worth as friends, learners and individuals.  This education gives them confidence in their ability to express their ideas, emotions as well as needs and prepares them for increasingly complex social-emotional and academic subjects.

3.  Physical Development: The Early Years level of education develops a childs gross and fine motor skills, physical coordination like; one to one cooperation, biking, running, etc., healthy skills such as;  hand washing, regular exercise and balanced diet.  In this educational program childrens physical skills are developed through engaging activities such as; easily designed play, sensory table setting, various puzzle games, painting, arranging various devices etc.  From improving fine motor control at this level of education, they are taught the skills to dress, put on shoes, transition from velcro straps to lace-up shoes, gain more independence in activities such as; packing, preparing school bags, lunch bags, backpacks etc.

4.  Intellectual and Academic Development: Although literacy and numeracy skills are carefully researched in early childhood education programs, the foundations for a childs intellectual development and academic success are laid at the Early Years Education level.  Here a child sees itself as a skilled learner and he is introduced to a new subject in such a way that he may find it difficult at first, but with the help of the teacher it becomes much easier for him when he practices it and then he gets into it and finds joy.  Thus, a childs intellectual development extends beyond the classroom; Students supported by Early Years education can see the whole world as an opportunity to learn from childhood.

Therefore, since the Early Years Curriculum promotes a strong intellectual curiosity in children and develops their ability to observe, wonder, question and discover, the childs parents and guardians should give importance to this educational activity. To provide a learning environment to a child, the Early Years Education program is very important.  This education provides children with numerous academic, socio-emotional, physical and intellectual benefits, which reverberate in the childs life for decades to come.  Therefore, every school must have such an Early Years Program for holistic development of children, be it Cambridge Early Years or Edexcel IPR/Early Years or IB Early Years Programme (EYP).  Let our children grow up through play based education, which can develop themselves in terms of intellectual and mental practice.

The writer is Principal, Daffodil International School and President, Bangladesh International Schools Association (BISA)

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