A branch of education that deals with teaching children at an early age to inculcate moral values, imbibe the right teachings also involves nurturing the child in a manner that prepares them for a productive growth phase, early childhood education is a topic which has been trending for the last few years. If the child is introduced to such programs at an early age, problems can be detected at an early age and he/she can enjoy better growth and development. Knowledge, skills, disposition and feelings are the main goals of imparting education at such an early age.
This system is changing the face of the conventional educational system wherein one begins school at the age of 5. This is not to be confused with pre-school or a play group. This system begins right from conception. The foetus is said to begin learning from the moment it starts growing in the womb. Whatever a child learns in the sensitive and critical stages of life will lead to certain outcomes later in life. The goal is to help first time learners. Since the first eight years in a child’s life are very crucial, early childhood education is vital to a child’s growth. It helps the child to learn and acquire motivation in his/her early years of life.
It has been proven that early childhood education builds the foundation of success. It fosters holistic development, through the education of young children from birth to age eight. The pace of development in these years is very rapid. Today, where education has a very important role to play in society, it would not be prudent to postpone investment in children’s education until they become adults, nor would it be wise to wait till they reached schooling age. In fact, early childhood is a vital phase of life in terms of intellectual, physical, emotional and social development. Motor, sensory and kinesthetic skills develop during these years: in short, a high amount of learning takes place during this period.
The first eight years of a child’s life are spent in self realization of his or her own identity. Physical, moral, social, emotional, cognitive, linguistic and creative developments are the typical aspects of early childhood education. Lack of socialization in early childhood can have a negative impact leading to the child’s development. It is equally the responsibility of the parent and teachers to ensure that the child gets a stimulative growth environment in these early years. Moreover, early childhood education helps ensure a smooth transition from home to school and also helps the child develop social competency with adults and peers. It promotes socialization and helps promote team work and cooperation. In a country like India, however, where even primary education is neglected, it is difficult to make people aware of the essence of early childhood education. That being said, the residents of the developed parts of metropolitan cities are welcoming this form of education – their children are enrolled in this and are reaping the gains of it.
On the topic of early childhood education, the Government of India approved the National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) policy in 2013. The policy caters to all those under six years of age and commits to universal access to quality early childhood education. There is a dire need for this system of learning and specially in the rural areas of India. Early childhood education and care seeks to ensure all-round development of the child at a very early age and awareness about this must be created because it is the youth who are going to run the future of the nation. It is proven that when the child is in the womb, all sorts of stimulative sounds and teaching actually helps the child. Hence, this system has flourished a lot due to successful results, especially in other countries. In India, however, early childhood education still has a long way to go. Mother toddler classes have been common but now there are classes for pregnant/expecting mothers which involve activities that actually help the child’s neural network grow better.
Every child has the right to education and a pleasant environment as well. Every child must be given free education of the highest possible quality. With education, one’s mindset and mentality changes and they can succeed in life. A child must therefore never be deprived of education, and the lack of early childhood education could hamper his or her growth and development emotionally, mentally and cognitively.
Contributed by Arshia Virjee
Picture Credits : post.edu