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Understanding Early Childhood Education

The meaning of early childhood education

The first 8 years of life are crucial to academic success.

That’s the reason why early education programs play a

very important role in many developed countries.

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Consider this: The future success of every child is in many ways

determined before he or she turns 8.

During those early years,

how that child learns and develops — mentally, emotionally and

socially — is critical.

This isn’t a theory. It’s a fact,

based on decades of research on the positive effects of quality

early-learning experiences on children’s lives.

It’s no wonder then that educators, politicians, researchers and

families have honed in on early childhood education as

a means to invest not only in the future of America,

but also to help deter and improve any number of complex social issues.

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1What is early childhood education, exactly?

Early childhood education (ECE)

is a branch of education theory which relates to the teaching of young children up until the age of about 8.

Infant/toddler education,

a subset of early childhood education,

denotes the education of children from birth to age 2.

In recent years,

early childhood education has become a prevalent public

policy issue, as municipal, state,

and federal lawmakers consider funding for preschool

and pre-k.

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2Why is early childhood education so important?

Research has shown that much of what you need to succeed in

life is established before you enter kindergarten.

During that time,

the human brain undergoes rapid development:it’s a

period when a child builds cognitive skills — the foundation

for reading, math, science and academics — as well as

character skills,

social-emotional growth, gross-motor skills and

executive functioning,

which includes everything from impulse control to

problem solving.

“There’s an explosion of activity in the first five years of

life, more profound than any future years,”

says Rhian Evans Allvin,

executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

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3Theories of child development

The Developmental Interaction Approach is based on the theories ofJohn Dewey,

Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson.

The approach focuses on learning through discovery.

According Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid,the 5 developmental domains of childhood development was created as below,

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The important thing to note when looking at the Child’s Hierarchy of Needs and comparing it to the general hierarchy of needs is that children are wholly dependent on others to provide their needs, at least initially. That certainly puts a great deal of pressure and responsibility on parents to understand and respond appropriately to those needs.

4What’s the meaning of Learning Through Play

Early childhood education often focuses on learning through play,

based on the research and philosophy of Jean Piaget,

which posits that play meets the physical, intellectual,

language, emotional and social needs (PILES) of children.

Children’s curiosity and imagination naturally evoke learning when unfettered.

Thus, children learn more efficiently and gain more knowledge through activities such as dramatic play, art, and social games.

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In general, research shows strong links between creative

play and language, physical, cognitive,

and social development. Play is a healthy,essential part

of childhood.

Infants explore their world through their senses while adults in their world foster their development and

learning through playing games with them.

Toddlers engage in pretend play when they imitate actions

and events they have experienced in their family life.

As they grow into 4 and 5 year olds,

young children engage more and more in play activities that expand their knowledge of the world around them,

develop their motor skills, and focus on their peers.

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