Does early childhood education make a difference?

High-quality pre–K programs for three- and four-year-olds can have a significant impact on all children.

For starters, you are increasing the activities, content and people that your child would be interacting with and learning about. This will, in itself, increase the exposure of the child much more than when you do not pre-school the child, unless, of course, you are homeschooling the child as a very conscious parent. Research shows that quality early education programs have positive impacts on all children’s cognitive and language development, regardless of income level or program settings.

The Helen O’Grady International Preschool is one of the best preschools in India today. It focuses on graded, age appropriate curriculum across the age groups of 2 years to 6 years. Emphasis is given to developing independence, independent thought and creative expression. Because the preschool is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, the school provides the opportunity for each child to express in one of the hundred languages that children use. Parents are a part of the teaching learning process and play a very positive and important role through the academic year.

Coffee Mornings, Helping Hands, Storytelling Sessions, Celebrations of festivals all encourage parent participation in the planning and execution.

A beautiful library is part of the Helen O’Grady International preschool and every child visits, uses the library at least twice in a week.

Yet, one of my favourite places in a Helen O’Grady International Preschool is the Friendship Garden. This is a place where children and teacher or parent or friend spend time to help soothe ruffled feathers, share emotions and solve problems.

The teachers appointed at all Helen O’Grady schools are well trained to observe the development of each child in all the domains. They guide and ensure that no child is left out, nor judged in the process of learning which largely remains joyful. This ensures healthy self esteem is built in each child.

When children are exposed to preschool education conducted by trained early educators, the results that you may see will exceed expectations and ensure that each child is nurtured to bring out his/her best, true to their potential. Further, in today’s day and age, pre schooling a child is much safer that having children stay alone at home or with a hired help. Grandparents, who may not be too well themselves, may also find it difficult to keep up with the high energies of the children. In many cases, the elderly prefer to provide sedentary play opportunities to children rather than facilitate the active play or Early childhood care and education (ECCE), as defined by UNESCO, is the “holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing.”

We know these experiences shape young learners minds, attitudes and often behaviors.

1. ECCE promotes brain development. When looking at brain development, Linda Bakken and her colleagues found that “the years from birth to age 5 are viewed as a critical period for developing the foundations for thinking, behaving, and emotional well-being. Child development experts indicate it is during these years that children develop linguistic, cognitive, social, emotional, and regulatory skills that predict their later functioning in many domains”..

2. Developing 21st Century Skills in early learners helps prepare them for success in school and life. David Ross, CEO of the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21) makes the point that the development of 21st-century skills starts as early as 18 months old. It is for this reason that P21 advocates for the development of 21st-century skills in early learning contexts and has developed an Early Learning Framework and guide which provide guidance on how to integrate these principles into learning experiences.

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