New parents always want to know – when is the best time for my child to start school?
Well, if you step away from any emotional response and ignore the opinions of those around you (which can often be strong and conflicting) and simply look at the issue of early childhood education from a realistic perspective, you’ll find your answer.
And that’s because the undisputed fact is that quality early learning and childcare has significant benefits for children. It improves their success at formal school as well as sets them up for success in later life too. The question of when to start a child at school is inextricably linked to the enormous benefits of quality early education.
When you consider that 90% of a child’s brain development happens by the age of five, it’s easy to see what a huge window of opportunity (and an absolutely necessary one) there is for quality early learning and why the advantages are so significant.
Let’s take a look at seven benefits of early childhood education:
It fosters a lifelong love of learning
As parents, we are always trying to teach our children new things. Bedtime stories, playing games, communicating, playtime with other children – these are all important things that we do to encourage our children to learn, but most of us aren’t experts. Quality early education with skilled and experienced teachers will give a child a real head start and pave the way for a lifelong enthusiasm and love for learning.
Exploring, discovering, being surprised, being inspired and excited by knowledge and being motivated to learn – these are all things that take root in the early years.
It improves a child’s cognitive abilities
Quality early childhood education builds a strong foundation for a child’s development in all areas, including their physical and emotional abilities – but crucially, it promotes their cognitive abilities. Children are naturally curious and environments that encourage and inspire them to explore, discover and experiment will help enormously with their vocabulary development, numeracy, literacy and problem-solving skills.
It inspires a child to be creative
Being creative doesn’t only mean being ‘arty’.
Every child has a creative side, whether it’s creating a structure out of building blocks, producing a masterpiece with finger paints, making a garden, squelching in the mud, role-playing, telling a story or interacting with other children, creativity is found everywhere – and in a quality early learning environment, a child will have access to a huge diversity of resources to inspire them to explore and develop their creative sides.
It helps children learn to socialise and build important social skills
Socialisation isn’t an innate skill, it’s a learnt one and while some children are better at it than others, it’s vital that children learn the fundamentals of how to interact with new people.
Learning to socialise at a young age in a childcare environment helps them with relationship-building and will help them settle into a formal schooling environment where they’ll encounter many new faces.
Children learn to socialise with others when they’re in an early learning environment, but they also learn many crucial social skills. Sharing, taking turns, negotiating with others, listening, co-operating, working as a team, working through disagreements and disappointments, dealing with feelings appropriately, being patient, regulating emotions, being accountable for one’s own actions – these are all important life skills that are fostered during early childhood education.
It fosters resilience
Having the ability to cope when things go wrong or don’t go the way you expect, bouncing back after difficult times, managing challenges are all different ways of describing ‘resilience’. For very young children, the challenge may be something as seemingly trivial as having the toy they were playing with taken away by another child or having to share resources or spaces with others, but learning to handle situations like these fosters resilience, a key asset as they go through life facing unexpected and often unwanted consequences and outcomes.
It builds self-esteem and confidence
Is there a more important thing in life than having good self-esteem and self-belief? A strong sense of self gives a person the courage and conviction to pursue their interests, act on their dreams and explore their talents. Self-belief is everything and is so crucial to a person’s emotional wellbeing. And that’s one of the most important benefits of quality early education – it helps promote a child’s view of themselves that is healthy, positive and secure.
It builds a better future for Australia
Investing in quality early learning is an investment in a child’s future. It’s also an investment in the country’s future.
Bright, educated and enquiring minds and a skilled workforce are powerful assets in building a strong future for Australia which has benefits for everyone. It may seem like a giant leap from your local early learning centre to a nation’s future, but that’s the power of quality early childhood education.
Giving children the opportunity to attend a quality early learning centre will benefit them in so many ways, cognitively, emotionally, socially, intellectually and physically – and knowing all of this may encourage you to consider sending your child to a caring and professional childcare service provider for at least a couple of days a week – from an early age.
Finding a quality early education centre that ticks all the boxes may take a little research, but it’s truly worth investigating until you find the right one.
Article provided by Simone O’Brien from Treasured Tots Early Education. They provide high-quality child care and kindergarten programs for children aged 0-5 years and their ‘home away from home’ philosophy puts children on a path to lifelong learning within a loving, nurturing environment staffed by skilled and experienced educators. For more information on child care in Mandurah, Bibra Lake or Fremantle, get in touch with Treasured Tots through their website, www.treasuredtots.com.au.