Importance of Early Childhood Education

Early childhood generally encompasses the first eight years in the life of an individual. The education given during these years of a child’s life plays a very important role and helps in proper development of children. Early childhood education can be fundamentally termed as “Learning through play”. Recent research have shown that early eight years in any children life are crucial time because during this phase their brain develops and much of its ‘wiring’ is laid down. The education experiences and relationships a child has along with nutrition can actually affect child mental growth enormously. While good early childhood education helps the brain to develop in healthy ways, improper education or study without play on other hand may affect brain development in different manner. So the experiences and the learning of a child in early years can support them in their entire life.

Recent studies of early childhood education have even shown some remarkable success. It resulting effects on child motivation and learning power last for a long time. Today where education has become very important role to play in a society, it is not right to postpone investing in children education until they become adults, nor wait till they reach school age. In fact early childhood is a vital phase of life in terms of a child’s intellectual, emotional and social development. Besides this, the most important point to know is that the growth of mental abilities is at an astounding rate and high proportion of learning takes place during this period.

It is very important for every parent to understand that a child spends first eight years in realization of his or her own identity. These are very crucial years when children gain a sense of self and learn to associate themselves with the people around them. They develop an understanding and behavior to a certain extent. For this reason it is suggested that early childhood education during these years should be more focused on teaching children about the world around them through play and establish the links. Moreover, many child development experts also agree that play is very important in the learning and emotional development of children. A play can be multi-facet and often helps in educating different skills in children. In addition to this, education through play also helps them learn social skills, and develop values and ethics.

Certainly, today it won’t be wrong to say that early childhood education is the key element that helps in building a god foundation for child’s educational success. Every child learns habit and form patterns that are not easily changed in later years. If parents and educators can develop productive early education patterns for the children in their charge, those children will be on their way to achieving great educational success. The lack of parental interaction during early childhood can negatively impact a child’s development. Ultimately it is the equal responsibility of the parents and tutors to assure the children have a good early childhood education that can further help them develop their personalities.

Technology in the Classroom – Ways to Integrate Educational Technology Into Your Teaching Practice

Here are some technology things that you could do with your students. Not everything may be feasible (i.e. cost factors) or appropriate (i.e. security or privacy issues):

  • some of the things we’re already doing,
  • some of the things we’re thinking of doing, and,
  • some of the things are simply wishful thinking, but great ideas have to start somewhere…

How do you integrate technology into the curriculum? Do you have any ideas to add to the list?

Class Set of Laptops

  • Get a company to donate a class set of laptops when they upgrade their equipment. (The company can receive a charitable donation tax-credit.)
  • Set up a wi-fi hotspot in your classroom so that students can blog online during independent reading and writing workshops.
  • Purchase digital copies of textbooks to have a paperless classroom. Use text-reading software (i.e. Kurzweil) to highlight and take notes in the textbook.

Non-Traditional Reading and Writing

  • Teach students the differences between formal, informal, and colloquial language and explore text messaging, chat rooms, and msn-speak as forms of colloquial language.
  • Evaluate the evolving nature of language and develop word-attack skills by examining how words get accepted into everyday language (or the dictionary). For example, Google is now a commonly used noun and verb.
  • Use text-reading software (i.e. Kurzweil) to allow students to access difficult texts.

Blogging

  • Have students set up personal blogs as a medium to publish their writing portfolios.
  • Explore how Google is a popularity contest. Publish work in an e-zine article directory to understand how to build inbound links. Post comments on other blogs to build inbound links.
  • Explore copyright issues. Publish work in a blog or an e-zine article directory will inevitably end up with your work scraped onto another blog without proper attribution. Explore how that feels and the ethics of using other people’s content without consent.

Computer Safety

  • Discuss cyber-bullying: ways to protect yourself, how to respond when it happens, and how to avoid accidentally cyber-bullying when blogging.
  • Explore computer safety: password strength, viruses, trojans, phishing, etc.
  • Learn about online dangers and ways to protect yourself.

Classroom Website

  • Make hand-outs and homework assignments accessible on a classroom website.
  • Use a secure website as a communication tool for marks for both parents and students.
  • Introduce your students to HTML and web design.

Making Money Online

  • Introduce students to the business of making money online.
  • Explore advertising online – how it works.
  • Fund raise by selling stuff on e-bay.

GPS and Mapping Technology

  • Geo-cache with your students.
  • Use GPS technology or mapping software (i.e. Google Earth) in math class to construct larger geometric shapes. (i.e. construct a circle that has a radius of 5 city blocks.)
  • Apply GPS technology or mapping software in Geography.

The Internet as a Global Village / Community

  • Find a class to pen-pal with and correspond using blogs, email, or IRC chat rooms.
  • Use a wiki for students to synthesize and evaluate knowledge gained in a content-subject like History or Geography. They can track how their understanding of concepts grow. Demonstrate how our understanding of a subject-specific topic evolves over time (i.e. a dynamic and digital KWL chart)
  • Publish student work in English and in their first language online so that relatives overseas can celebrate in their success.

Technology as a Teaching Tool

  • Use a data-projector in class to do modeled and shared readings.
  • Use a data-projector in class to do shared writing: the modern equivalent of flip-chart paper
  • Use dynamic geometry software (i.e. Geometer’s Sketchpad) to explore math concepts.

Music and Technology

  • Buy songs (i.e. itunes) and allow students to DJ their own school dances.
  • Critically examine popular music to determine whether mainstream music is appropriate at a school dance (i.e. Soulja Boy – Crank that)
  • Create your own pod-casts. Students can use free sound-editing software (i.e. audacity) to mix in free sound effects (i.e. ljudo.com) with their digital recordings of their voices.

Class Projects

  • Send an object around the world and invite people who find the object to leave a message online in the classroom blog.
  • Explore the video making process: scripts, recording, editing, post-production
  • Explore YouTube as a medium to publish content.

The Role of Early Childhood Education

Every child needs to experience early childhood education before they attend kindergarten. This experience offers support to prepare children for decision making later on in life. It also creates a foundation for the education they will receive as they grow older. Various support systems and services have been put in place by the federal government to provide high quality early childhood education.

Apart from passing on knowledge to children, early education for children teaches self worth and progress. The programs offer both emotional and social care for children to prepare them to face the world. Traditional forms of education do not include programs that encourage early childhood development.

During the first 8 years of a child’s life, they are able to perceive information and adapt to the surroundings. They perceive this information through education and social interaction. Teachers, parents, caretakers as well as friends play a significant part in a child’s life. In the first two years, a child will become aware of their identity and learn how to socialize with others. This kind of education can teach children how to identify their role in the society and take initiative. Once a child starts to make decisions, they can take on various tasks.

Early childhood education helps to enhance development for children. The education programs teach children how to communicate once they develop their senses. Communication is one of the most important aspects of growth and this is one of the areas that are highlighted during early childhood education. Once a child starts to perceive ideas and things, they can use the sensory organs and communicate and this is why you need to get early childhood education for children.

Childhood education allows a child to become aware of his or her motor abilities. Once they are aware of their motor abilities, their intelligence will be enhanced. The programs enable your child to start questioning his or her imagination and motives. A child is able to develop her interpersonal skills through their interactions and the environment they live in.

An individual’s sense of comfort and security is developed during childhood and if they lack parental care, it can damage his or her perception. Parents determine a child’s social and mental health and this will determine their ability to make decisions when they get to adulthood. Childhood education allows a child to nurture his or her natural talents when they are young. Guardians should help to nurture talents and make a child feel worthy during childhood development.

The programs of childhood education are designed to instill a sense of self-worth in children. This makes it easy for children to make sense of the things that happen in their lives later on. When a child’s self-esteem is developed, they are able to make a significant and progressive impact in their surroundings in future. Some of the most important areas of early childhood development that the early childhood education programs focus on include developing motor skills, socializing, communication and reading.

Early Childhood Education – Some Basic Facts

Since the last decade of the previous century, with the advent of Internet in a big way, societies all round the world have undergone a sea change. With the shifts in career preferences, education has largely become a life long process of learning. Even then the value of early childhood education remained unchanged; it is said, the things that a child learns in her first eight years of life have lifelong influence shaping up her personality and career.

Definition of early childhood education

In order to realize the significance of early childhood education, first we have to know its proper definition. Early childhood education refers to the combination of physical, intelligence/cognitive, emotional, and social learning of a child during the fist six to eight years of her life. While parents and primary care givers play an important role in the child’s acquisition of such knowledge, in a more specialized sense, a professional early childhood educator offers early childhood education to the child. However, a good educator will always involve the parents in his/her early childhood programs to get the maximum benefits from the program.

The basic premise of early childhood education

Advanced psychological researches have concluded that children learn at the fastest pace when they are between 0-6 years of age. Based on this notion, the early child educators design their program that helps boost up the child’s natural learning process. Now, a scientific child development program is not all; it must be accompanied by proper nutrition, parental/caregiver interaction, and stimulus and in the absence of any of these factors, the child is bound to lag behind miserably in the latter course of his or her life. Thus, side-by-side of a well chalked out early childhood curse, it is equally important that the children must receive due attention, a respectful treatment and lots of affection from parents or caregivers in the absence of parents.

The designing of the curriculum

There are a number of early childhood education programs that are based on different theories ranging from maturationist theory propounded by Jacques Rousseau and Maria Montessori to behaviorist theory developed by John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner and Edward Thorndike. The current pre school educational scenario is dominated by the ideas and curriculum that incorporate the features of all the leading theories. However the entire current pre-school education curriculum has one common characteristic: all of them are designed to cater to the individual needs of a child and all of them aim at developing the self-esteem of the child.

To summarize it all, a good pre-school program will

  • Involve the parents or the caregiver in the learning process.
  • It should place an emphasis on learning through play.
  • The program must place equal importance on the physical, cognitive, emotional and social development of the child.
  • In general, the entire learning process must mean fun for the child and not something forceful.