5 Ways Early Childhood Education Can Benefit Students
by Lama Chivi
Educators and parents alike understand that children can benefit from every encounter since these serve as an avenue for learning. Through their experiences, children — especially those in their first five years of life — can learn important life skills like socialization, cooperation, teamwork, and problem solving when taught at a very young age.
When their senses are triggered within this window, children can take information in and develop it into something to help them thrive into adulthood.
This is the very reason behind the establishment of early childhood education as an important first base in formal education. Read on to learn more about it and how it can benefit young students.
What Is Early Childhood Education?
Born from the launch of kindergarten education in 1837, most accounts of early childhood education history consider German pedagogue Friedrich Fröbel as its pioneer. According to him, children learn best through play. His principle in learning is also based on the holistic development of a child which assigns equal importance to every aspect of his being: physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual.
This idea was developed further in 1907 when Maria Montessori created the Montessori method, a child-focused approach stating that children should learn from their own initiative and through practical play.
Years later, early childhood learning centers are applying at least six kinds of teaching methods and have developed variations to cater to the different needs of their students.
5 Major Benefits of Early Childhood Education
No matter what principle is being applied, it is no secret that there are many benefits to early childhood learning. Aside from learning how to work with others and understanding that they live in a diverse world, children are also expected to get five other major benefits, as stated below:
1. Improved Socialization Skills
Socialization is an important life skill that can be learned in preschool as it is the first place where they encounter many different people — both children and adult — aside from the members of their family. It is also the perfect avenue for them to make friends, speak their mind, and be responsible for their actions.
2. Better Understanding of Cooperation
In a preschool set up, young children can learn about the concept of cooperation through sharing and taking turns. This also allows them to persevere through challenges with their friends and learn how to work with others, which is particularly beneficial for a first child or an only child.
3. Holistic Development
Both Fröbel and Montessori understand the importance of honing a child’s emotional, physical, and mental well-being in order to help him reach his full potential. Early learning educators also focus on touching every aspect of a child’s being in order to come up with ways to help him establish a solid foundation that will benefit him for a lifetime.
4. Learning Through Experience
Since children are like sponges during their first five years of life, they can absorb more information through early learning. Based on the British Early Years Foundation Stage, children aged zero to five can be honed in their physical, social, and emotional development. It is during this period that they also learn best about communication, language, expression and arts, and mathematics.
Preschools bring this concept into play by tailoring activity-based learning programs through exploration and experiments both inside and outside the classroom. Some institutions even make it a point to cater to every child’s specific needs by providing alternatives through subjective approaches to drive their curiosity. After all, curiosity is the first step to learning.
5. Cultivation of Core Values and Life Skills
Values that are taught at home can also be cultivated at school. In fact, it is better for children to learn patience, concentration, resilience, and confidence in both avenues in order to cultivate the idea better in their minds.
Patience is often tested even as people age. In the school set up, a child can learn about the value of patience through waiting to get his teacher’s attention, lining up for a turn in the playground, or waiting for his turn to play with a toy.
Concentration can also be honed by early learning institutions, especially during out-of-classroom explorations where a child is given the opportunity to juggle listening to instructions and attending to tasks while avoiding getting distracted by the new environment.
Predictable consequences set up within the early childhood learning institution also provide students with a chance to develop their resilience. By putting challenges and potential bumps along the way (safety first, of course), children can learn to overcome disappointment and cope with the greater “lemons” they will encounter later in life as an adult.
Moreover, they learn that they are capable of doing things on their own by exploring their skills through play. This can help them become confident, especially with positive interactions and encounters with their classmates, teachers, and parents.
Building the Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Early years childhood education is an important stage in formal learning that can help a child become the best person he can be. It can provide a child with life skills that won’t just help him get through school and college, but through life as an adult as well.