The Importance of Early Childhood Education

Children learn to get along with others in school. They also develop the ability to be independent. Eventually, kids will need to be able to live without their parents and must learn to manage their expectations when they go into new environments.

Although the principles that govern development and learning are generalizable across subject areas, there are important differences among subject-matter domains. These differences influence how the skills and content are taught and learned.

Social Development

Children need a supportive social environment to learn and grow. In the right setting, they can put their social skills to work in group activities and games, learning how to communicate with others and develop healthy associations with peers.

As they build relationships with other people, young kids are able to explore and experience their world. They can begin to understand their place in the universe, and they develop moral thinking.

During this time, they also learn how to solve problems and deal with conflict. It is important for these social abilities to be nurtured so that they can continue their education throughout their life.

Emotional Development

Children learn to recognize and manage their emotions as they grow. They learn what feelings are and how they occur, such as joy, anger, fear and sadness. They develop understanding of their own feelings and those of others, such as empathy and sympathy. They also learn social skills, such as taking turns and cooperating with other children in their play.

Early emotional development depends on the quality of parents’ relationships with their children. Parents who support the expression of positive emotions and use appropriate discipline methods promote effective emotion self-regulation in their children. In contrast, frequent outbursts of negative emotions and harsh disciplinary responses can interfere with a child’s developing sense of control and lead to poor emotional self-regulation.

Cognitive Development

Research on cognitive development has emphasized children’s abilities to learn through interactions with knowledgeable adults and peers. These experiences are inherently social, and young children rely so heavily on the social context of their learning that they become astute at distinguishing adult speakers who can provide them with reliable information from those who cannot.

As they engage in meaningful activities with responsive adults, early elementary school children use cognitive control processes to plan and execute goal-directed action. These processes include short-term and working memory, attention control and shifting, and the ability to inhibit unproductive behaviors. These skills also contribute to the growth of general knowledge and competencies, as well as subject-matter content knowledge and skills. These skills are sometimes referred to as noncognitive skills, although they play an important role in cognitive development and learning.

Language Development

During their early years, children learn to express themselves in the spoken word. They develop a wide vocabulary and become proficient at grammar and phonology. They are able to use their new skills to understand written language and express themselves in writing.

They begin to notice that words have different syllables and play rhyming games. They also start to add grammatical features such as ‘-ing’ to verbs and’s’ to forms of nouns that need to change to make them plural – for example, ‘feets’ rather than ‘feets’.

Their ability to use language is linked to their knowledge of the world around them. For this reason, reading books with your child is a great way to help them develop their vocabulary and understanding of the world.

Creative Expression

Children need lots of opportunities to explore, experiment and pursue their ideas through creative activities. They must also have time to discuss their thoughts, actions and materials with others, especially when working on extended projects like those inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach.

When children express themselves through artistic activities, they learn to communicate their feelings and ideas, practice visual representations of events and experiences, and refine fine motor skills. Artistic expression helps them explore their imagination, practice reasoning and logic, and understand cause and effect.

Children with learning differences can exercise their motor, logic and abstraction skills through creative activities. These skills can be transferred to other academic subjects to help them brainstorm, solve problems and overcome obstacles. New material innovation — such as the use of recycled plastic, hand-dyed paper and clay — offers even more possibilities for creative exploration.

The Importance of Early Childhood Education
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