Why is Early Childhood Education so important?

on February 22, 2021

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 playDuring 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:

  • Social and emotional
  • Language/communication
  • Movement/physical development
  • Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

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

Early childhood development milestones 

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.

Milestones at 2 – 4 months old

  • Try to look at parents; begin to smile
  • Copy some movements and facial expressions
  • Turns head toward sounds
  • Tracks movement with their eyes
  • Starts to babble
  • Holds head up, can push up while lying on tummy

Milestones at 6–9 months old

  • Recognize faces
  • Sit without support
  • Have favorite toys
  • Can pick up objects between thumb and index finger
  • Pull themselves to stand while holding on to objects

Milestones at one year old

  • Are often shy or nervous with strangers
  • Use simple gestures
  • Say “mama” and/or “dada”
  • Follow simple directions like, “Pick up that toy.”
  • Find hidden items easily
  • May stand or take a few steps without support

Milestones at 18-months old

  • Initiate play by handing things to others
  • Point at what they want
  • Say several single words
  • Know how ordinary objects (telephone, spoon) are used
  • Eat with spoons and drink with cups

Milestones at two years old

  • Show excitement around other kids
  • Repeat words or sentences often overheard
  • Begin to sort shapes and colors
  • Begin to run, climb, throw and stand on tiptoe

Milestones at three years old

  • Exhibit a wide range of emotions
  • Show concern for others
  • Follow instructions with two or three steps
  • Play make-believe
  • Dress and undress themselves

Milestones at four years old

  • Enjoy trying new things and talking about interests
  • Know some basic grammar rules
  • Start to understand time and the idea of counting
  • Pour, cut and mash their food with supervision

Milestones at five years old

  • Like to sing, dance and playact
  • Speak clearly in full sentences
  • Can print some letters or numbers
  • Can use the toilet on their own