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Have you ever heard about Early Childhood Education(ECE)?
Early Childhood Care and Education, defined as the period from birth to eight years old, is a time of remarkable growth with brain development at its peak. This time period is widely considered the most vulnerable and crucial stage of a person's life. Early childhood education often focuses on guiding children to learn through play. During this stage, children are highly influenced by the environment and the people that surround them.
If you’ve ever spent time with young children, you already know they are amazing learners. Young children absorb information and learn in many different ways simultaneously. For example, while a toddler is learning important physical skills and coordination—they’re also developing speech, studying social cues and learning emotional expression. It’s remarkable how much those little minds can take in at once. This is one of the many reasons why early childhood education is so important.
The importance of early childhood development
You can probably guess why children need to develop and grow as they go along. They can’t stay infants forever, no matter how cute they are. But professionals who work with children are much better equipped to help them learn if they understand how they grow.
Fostering the right environment can help children develop self-esteem while also explaining some of their behaviors, Dr. Snipes explains. “Understanding early childhood development can help you more effectively support your young ones, but more importantly, it helps children develop a strong sense of confidence and determination.”
When you have a strong foundation for what is going on in those little minds—you’ll have a much better idea of what they need to flourish. There is also a benefit to catching any development trouble early on.
According to the CDC, certain therapies and interventions will be much more effective early in a child’s life, when their brain is most adaptable. This makes early childhood education an ideal stage for keeping an eye on what those little ones are learning.
Important areas of early childhood development
The CDC separates early learning abilities into four primary areas:
In healthy children, these areas are all important in growth and development. When you consider a learning environment, these growth areas intersect. For example, social and emotional awareness often increases through language and communication in the preschool years. Or toddlers might problem-solve and make cognitive discoveries through movement and physical growth.
While there are certain child development milestones to keep an eye out for (e.g., beginning to make sentences or learning to walk), experts in early childhood education experts warn against measuring all children against a checklist. But when you understand development as a whole, you see that educating children goes way beyond letters and numbers. “We often focus on creating a language-rich environment using colors, numbers and shapes, but leave out building a child’s emotional vocabulary,” Dr. Yares suggests
The CDC outlines common early childhood development milestones laid out by the age range when these changes typically occur. If you have a rough idea of what to expect from children as they reach these milestones, you will be better equipped to work with children and keep an eye out for healthy growth.