Children who have access to quality education are more likely to graduate from high school, get a job, break the cycle of poverty and lead a healthy lifestyle. Education transforms lives and breaks down barriers that hold back many children.
Teaching young children to read means teaching them to decipher written language and understand its structure. It involves learning how to match sounds with letters (phonics) and building strong math skills.
Social development focuses on children’s relationships with adults and other children. Healthy social development enables them to build positive relationships that promote learning and improve their health and well-being 1.
For example, when a child learns to play cooperatively with their peers and respect the feelings of others, it helps them to develop good interpersonal skills, which may lead to better academic performance. This type of learning is called social-emotional development.
High-quality education transforms lives and breaks the cycle of poverty, but for many OOSC in the developing world, access to quality schools remains out of reach. Educate A Child supports education projects that adapt to local needs, reaching and engaging the most hard-to-reach OOSC despite barriers like poverty, discrimination, conflict, challenging geographies and climate change.
Children grow quickly and record many milestones in motor, speech-language, cognitive, and social and emotional development. It is often social and emotional development that is the most visible to parents, teachers, and caregivers because it includes the building of healthy relationships with others.
These relationships help children to explore the world, experience new things, and feel supported as they learn. Having good emotional skills helps to promote positive attitudes toward learning and enables children to be self-motivated and self-disciplined in their work. This also allows them to develop and use coping strategies in stressful situations. Children who have good social and emotional competence can make healthy decisions about their lives and are able to take other people’s emotions, cultures, and perspectives into consideration.1
The development of children’s physical health, movement, and strength is central to their learning in all areas. An infant rolling over and crawling increases their access to the world around them; a preschooler jumping in puddles expands their exploration of physics; and a school-age child playing a team sport expands social connections.
Perceptual, motor, and physical development consists of four elements: perception; gross motor; fine motor; and health, safety, and nutrition.
Infants build small-muscle (fine) skills when they grasp toys with their fingers and hands. This enables them to point at objects and gesture as they learn to communicate with others. As they become toddlers, their fine motor skills enable them to scribble with crayon and develop hand-eye coordination. As they grow, they use their fine motor skills to cut with safety scissors and put together puzzles.
Language and Literacy Development
Children’s language development is crucial for learning, socialising and thinking. Developing early literacy skills is also vital and prepares children for future academic success.
Several studies have demonstrated that young DLL catch up to monolingual peers in the phonetic inventories of their two languages over time, and that DLL preschoolers have two separate grammatical systems as indicated by their ability to distinguish subject realization when one of their languages does not require an explicit subject, while their other language does (e.g., Spanish and Italian; Catalan).
Literacy studies have examined phonological awareness, emergent literacy, and reading in DLL children as well as the influence of home and family on these outcomes. Studies have also investigated differences between sequential and simultaneous learners, and between younger and older children.
Thinking (Cognitive) Development
The development of children’s thinking is an essential part of education. The way kids think can influence the decisions they make and their ability to interpret life situations.
According to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, intelligence grows through four stages. Piaget was the first to recognise that intellectual development is not just a quantitative process; it also involves qualitative changes in the way children think.
Children in the sensorimotor stage learn through simple observations and hands-on activities. They can distinguish between objects of the same size and use basic logic, but struggle with abstract concepts and egocentrism. Kids in the preoperational stage learn to represent objects symbolically and engage in simple pretend play. They can also engage in basic perspective-taking and relate a representation of someone else’s perceptual viewpoint to their own.