Thursday, October 28, 2010

Guest Post: Early Childhood Education – More Than Daycare

 Now a day's being a single parent or a working parent is harder than ever, providing for your family and children can be a job in itself. So it goes without saying that when you can't be there to take care of your children, quality daycare is a necessity. But is it enough?

Even if you are fortunate enough to have someone who is willing to look after your very young child while you are on the job your child is probably missing some important opportunities for intellectual growth. Yes, his/her physical needs for nourishment and protection are certainly being met, and there may be some socialization that occurs in a typical child care center, but many of them neglect learning activities that can stimulate cognitive function and give the child a firm foundation for furthering his/her education later in life.

It Starts On Day One

Educators have long realized that what happens to a child between birth and age five has a tremendous impact on how well they will do in school later on.

In fact, research suggests that a child may start learning before she/he is even born; during the last trimester, the child may benefit from exposure to certain types of music as well as speech. During the preschool years, the human brain undergoes rapid growth and development; it is safe to say that what happens to a child during the first five years of life largely shapes the adult they will become.

At this stage of a child's life, the development of basic language skills, self sense and sense of their place in a group and the role of culture are crucial. These basic tools help them to understand function in a given society.

In short, the preschool years are those in which an elastic, malleable brain is "hardwired."

The Benefits

Even just one year of attendance at a certified preschool gives a child a tremendous advantage when they enter kindergarten. The opportunities they have there for cognitive development through age-appropriate learning activities (such as educational games and other forms of constructive play) can't be matched. Such children have superior skills in reading, writing and speaking and mathematics – which are the foundation of every other subject.

Additionally, children with a year or more of academic preschool have better social skills and are able to function better in a group setting. The effects of a quality preschool education will last a lifetime.

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Austin child care facilities belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose educational child care schools. Primrose Schools are located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this. Thanks for posting. I teach preschool (3 year olds). It's never a daycare, it's learning and FUN and GO GO GO from 8-12 Tuesday and Thursday.