Early Childhood Education: Everything You Need to Know
Early childhood education usually refers to education from preschool up to the third grade. The age range for students in early childhood education is typically between ages 1-6. Students in preschool may have been through preparatory or early intervention programs such as nursery, daycare, or head start programs.
Pre-kindergarten children who have a disability or are at risk of developing a disability are provided with early intervention services to help them overcome any challenges their disability might present them with so that their academic progress is not affected. The county health department ensures that students up to the age of three who have disabilities or are at risk of developing a disability receive the health services that they need to have a smooth academic experience.
From the age of three, all early intervention services are handled by the child’s school. Studies reveal that children who receive early intervention at the appropriate time have a high chance of future academic success. This has inspired the establishment of various forms of state-funded preschool programs that is focused on providing students who are in need of early intervention services with the needed services.
The main purpose of early childhood education is the preparation of children for the task, responsibility and journey of being a student. Students in early childhood education programs are taught to pay attention, listen, obey instructions, socialize, share, behave respectfully and kindly, take turns, etc. Another important feature of early childhood education is the emphasis that is placed on language development, an attribute that they need for success in their future learning endeavors.
The Kindergarten and Preschool years are the most important years for a child when it comes to the development of language skills. Children in these early years need the appropriate materials and tutoring to help them develop effectively during this period. Kindergarten students and children in grades one to three are better served with a more holistic approach to education compared to kids who are older. Preschool and kindergarten students, as well as students in grades one to three are in the early learning period; during this period, students are better able to assimilate information.
When creating a curriculum for early learners, there are several domains of learning to be put into consideration. The relevant domains include the aesthetic, cognitive, physical, affective, social and language domains. What this means is that the curriculum must be organized and structured in such a way that it covers all the relevant domains as is appropriate for the student’s age. During this period of learning, a lot of emphasis is placed on teaching children how to participate in group activities, how to start and complete tasks, how to work with others towards achieving a specific goal, and how to share with their peers.
The tasks given to these children often include the traditional subject matter such as history, science, language skills, mathematics, etc. A teacher in charge of a class of seven to eight-year-olds will set age-appropriate tasks. Students within this age range are expected to be competent enough to handle more focused and complicated tasks that would need them to complete assignments, perform research or some other task outside the classroom setting, bring the acquired knowledge back to the classroom, and share what they’ve learned with the rest of the class in a coherent and concise manner.
During this period, there is a greater need for teachers to pay attention and be considerate of the individual needs of their students. Certain factors, including cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic factors, can determine what activities are appropriate for students to participate in. Some cultures place more emphasis on a child’s ability to express themselves openly without being restricted, while others are more concerned with the child’s ability to solve complicated problems without needing any extra help.
The importance of paying attention to the individual needs of students, particularly at this level, cannot be overemphasized. Some students might be experiencing circumstances that make it difficult for them to cope and keep up with the academic progress of their peers. For example, students from homes that are financially challenged tend to have a harder time dealing with the increased difficulty of their school work than their peers whose families are financially stable. The role of a teacher in such a situation is to ensure that despite the setbacks and challenges such students may be facing, the student is able to keep achieving at the level that is expected and required.
This will mean being proactive and finding creative ways to help such students overcome any challenges presented by their home situation so that they can learn without becoming overwhelmed by the stress of dealing with challenges they are too young to help or understand. A good way to do this would be to set up activity stations for independent students that need less help and spending more time helping students who are struggling to grasp basic concepts and need to catch up.
The early period of childhood is arguably the most important in a child’s life. The early childhood years go a long way in determining the rest of the child’s life both within and outside academia. This makes the task of setting up early childhood education facilities a delicate one that must be carried out with all seriousness and treated with importance and care. Review the setup for your early childhood education facilities. Does it sufficiently prepare them for the long and grueling journey of being a student? Does it encourage their growth and development? If your goal is to help students thrive, it is important to ensure that your setup will not just accommodate but also nurture their growth and improvement.