Educational development varies from child to child. Every one of them is unique both in terms of their strengths and talents as well as their learning pace. For this very reason, parents entrust their children to early learning institutions that provide various learning programs to help them be the best they can be.
While it still isn’t considered status quo, receiving formal education at a young age has proven to be beneficial for a child’s development. In fact, there have been studies published in recent years that link optimized learning experiences from infancy to early childhood to the chance of a child’s success in the academic setting and real-world scenarios.
Birth to Three Matters: The Most Critical Period of Learning
In the past years, studies on childhood learning have revealed the correlation between how a child’s early years are spent and how well he or she will do in higher levels of formal education.
Neuroscience experts have discovered that the human brain is at a rapid period of development and that the number of neurons in a child’s brain increases from 35 percent to 85 percent between zero to five years of age. This means that children are most receptive to new information from infancy to early childhood.
In fact, even before birth, infants already receive signals from their surroundings. This is why sound, especially music which has rhythm and harmony, incites reactions from babies even as they continue to grow inside their mother’s womb.
After birth, a child’s first contact with his parents is also considered very important in solidifying the bond between them. From that moment on, the little one will cling to his or her parents and learn from them. Genetics aside, this may explain why children resemble their mothers or fathers not just in appearance but in their attitude and mannerisms as well.
Because of this, educational institutions and governments have started to realize that a child’s first five years of life are crucial to learning and developed curricula, like play-based learning, Montessori teaching, and the Early Years Foundation Stage, that can hone a child’s smarts while maintaining a safe environment for them to grow in.
Is Nursery Really Necessary?
Pre-kindergarten education remains a voluntary choice for parents because there are still some people who don’t see its long-term benefits. In fact, some people still believe that the advantage children who underwent early learning can only be discerned up until they are in second grade.
However, those given a head-start at formal education exhibit faster learning and better behavior both inside and outside the classroom. They also show better performance, have far less chances of repeating a grade and boosted chances of high school graduation.
Excellence aside, children who undergo early learning are also given a better, more positive outlook in life. Thanks to a warm and attentive nursery environment, they become more confident, expressive, and more in sync with their unique capabilities. This helps them realize that their uniqueness from others is also what makes them special.
This is because early learning isn’t as “formal” as most people believe. Most nurseries and early education facilities offer play-based curricula that develop children’s cognitive skills without removing the fun of play.
But herein lies a dilemma for some parents: “Won’t this make nursery just an overpriced daycare?” The answer is a resounding “no.”
For those who argue that family care is still the best choice, nurseries provide an avenue for a collaborative effortbetween teachers and parents to help children have meaningful early learning experiences. They will also get to develop their self-esteem and confidence, hone their social skills, and feel like they’re a significant member of the world in an engaging and supportive environment.
As the guardian of young minds, teachers and parents should work hand-in-hand to develop the youth of today to become tomorrow’s best leaders and productive citizens. That said, the decision whether or not to engage a child in early learning should be based on how he or she would benefit from it in the long term.