The time during which a child has rapid growth is usually between the age of 1 year and 8 years, and this is often termed as Early Childhood. A child’s growth involves all the development that takes place in their mental, physical, and emotional states during the age of 1 and 8. It involves all the motor skills, fine and gross motor development when we talk about physical development. Meanwhile, in mental development, we witness the development in their way of thinking and evaluating things. Emotional development involves emotional well-being, understanding their own emotions and those of others, along with the ability to express themself.
What is Early Childhood Development?
According to Harvard University, all the development that takes place in the lives of children during their early years is collectively termed as Early Childhood Development. It includes mental, emotional, physical, and social development. As we know, most development in a child’s life takes place in these few early years, so it is considered the most crucial part of a child’s life. During these years, children’s learning capabilities are at their peak (UNICEF). This is when the parents should start working on their children and molding their interests. The results of Early Childhood Education are never the same. The results are affected by the environment, the interaction of the parents and educators, and most importantly, the teaching method of the educators.
Importance of Effective Early Childhood Development
Surely, the significance of Effective Early Childhood Education cannot be neglected as it assures a bright future for the child. After obtaining proper early childhood education, children perform better in school than those who missed this opportunity. In the words of UNESCO
“The period from birth to eight years old is one of remarkable brain development for children and represents a crucial opportunity for education. UNESCO believes early childhood care and education (ECCE) that is truly inclusive is much more than just preparation for primary school. It can be the foundation for emotional wellbeing and learning throughout life. It is one of the best investments a country can make as it promotes holistic development, gender equality, and social cohesion.”
Here’s how the students get benefited from this early childhood education:
● Cognitive Development:
The basic and foremost advantage of early childhood education is that the children get the opportunity to develop his/her mental health at an earlier stage. The environment provided to the children helps them enhance their mental skills, including creative thinking, problem-solving, and thinking out of the box.
● Academic Development:
Early Childhood Education gives children an idea of what they will do in school. So, with this knowledge, the kids perform way too much better than those who have no early childhood education. Moreover, language development in early childhood mainly depends upon how a child is being mentored, taught, and caressed during these crucial years.
Early childhood development has resulted in children with greater socializing skills. These kids can make friends quickly and stand tall among the rest. In this way, they can express themselves and share their ideas.
● Emotional Development:
The kids, through this education, learn a lot about themselves. They understand their own emotions and learn to control them. In this way, they can control their emotions and act accordingly.
● Long Period Advantages:
Surely, this education has some long-lasting effects. Its effects last longer than any other education that he might get in the near future. That is why this education is highly important in a child’s life.
During the early childhood education program, the students are taught valuable lessons which result in the development of positive habits among the children. In this way, these positive activities and habits leave a good impact on the overall health of the child.
5 Stages of Early Childhood Development
Early Childhood Development is not an overnight development. It takes a long time to occur. In order to explain it in a better way, we have decided to break down the period of early childhood development into 5 different stages. The five stages involved in early childhood development are as follows:
During the early phase of life, the children have the most growth. This is the same period during which the children’s Gross Motor skills are developed. Gross motor skills are the skills during the performance in which large muscle groups are involved, while fine motor skills involve the movement of smaller muscle groups.
The minds of the kids are developed during this time. They learn basic mental skills during the early period of their life. They understand the basic concepts of cause and effect, get involved in imagination, and get an understanding of shapes, numbers, and colors. Their spoken skills are also developed during this period. They begin to speak proper words.
The basics of socializing with others and understanding one’s emotions are also taught at this stage. The educators try their best to understand what socializing means and how it’s done. They’re given a general concept of emotions as well. They are also taught how to express their emotions. The most important thing is to understand what you’re going through.
You cannot express your emotions and ideas without speaking; to speak, you need to learn how to speak. In order to make children able to express their ideas, the first step is to teach them how to speak, which is done in the third stage, i.e., Toddlers. So, in this early phase of life, educators teach the children to talk appropriately.
● School Age:
The sensory organ system is the basic system through which a person perceives what is happening in their environment. The children are taught how to assess their sensory information and how to act according to it in School Age. For this purpose, educators rely upon exploration and interaction with the environment. They try to foster their basic senses of vision, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. It’s the responsibility of parents to provide their children with some age-appropriate early childhood education books for their better learning and understanding.
Role of Parents and Early Childhood Educators in Early Childhood Development
The closest people to a toddler are his/her parents. These are people who know everything about the child and undoubtedly are the ones who care the most for the kid. Most importantly, these are the ones responsible for not all the decisions being made for the child. Educators cannot do much to teach anything to children without the parents’ consent. Here are the roles that the parents play in Early Childhood Education of their children.
The basic and the most important component in the development of a child is the environment in which the child is being held. The parents and the educators try their best to ensure that the child is kept in a highly positive environment where he receives love and affection. This is because, in a positive environment, the children learn rapidly.
● Academic Development:
The parents play a basic role in developing a child’s academic life. They try to attract the child towards education by giving them toys and books that are also educational but have a little bit of entertainment. It also makes them ready for the world by playing such games where other kids are involved, and they have to cooperate to win.
● Communication Development:
As we know, toddlers don’t have friends other than their parents and the ones teaching them. So, a kid’s communicational development depends entirely on the communication skills of the parents and educators. The teachers enhance their skills by making them ask for everything verbally rather than by merely nodding their heads.
In order to teach the children what’s right and what’s not? The parents and the teachers set clear age-based boundaries, which assists them in teaching the children what is moral and what is immoral. They teach them basic skills of respect and empathy by showing them practical examples. This is aimed at developing the moral values in the mind of the child.
● Professionals Assistance:
While educating the children, the parents and educators also go for professional assistance in matters where they think they lack knowledge. For this, they often talk to senior educators, psychologists, and pediatricians to get guidance on their concerns regarding the child’s growth.
What Measures can be taken to Improve Early Childhood Development?
Making the standards of Early Childhood Education and Development better than what they used to be might seem like a hard task, but it is not as hard as you might think of it. So, if you’re thinking about boosting the effectiveness of early childhood education and development, we have prepared a list of measures that you need to take to achieve what you’re thinking:
● High-Quality Education:
The basic and the most obvious point is that in order to enhance early childhood development, you will have to start with enhancing your educational curriculum first. You need to work on the education you provide to the students, and then you can expect better results. For this purpose, you will have to hire qualified staff, introduce better techniques to teach the students, and create an environment where the children can learn the most.
● Educating Parents:
The children spend the majority of their time with their parents in a day. So the best way to utilize this opportunity is by teaching the parents of the children the techniques to teach their children basic skills that they need to know, like respecting others, speaking appropriately, etc. The parents can also make them become disciplined by imposing some limits on their activities.
A healthy body and a healthy mind show a good diet’s significance. So, parents should think thoroughly when giving something to their children. They should try to give them a high ratio of minerals to boost their body performance rather than food with high sugar and fat content.
The socializing activities of the children should be increased. They should be allowed to interact with each other and other individuals. In this way, they will learn how to interact with a person, how to communicate with a person, and, importantly, how to express their ideas to other individuals.
These are the basic measures that are required to be taken by the higher officials to ensure that the development among the children has been upgraded. Each of the measures mentioned above is to be taken seriously and worked upon efficiently by the staff to ensure positive results.
This article deals only with the development in children that take place at their ages or the time during which they’re receiving early childhood education. In this article, we have tried to answer all the questions that you might have regarding early childhood development. Whether it’s the role of the parents, the steps to improve it, or the steps involved in it, everything has been discussed here. So, in the end, we have also given some recommendations for improving the standard of early childhood development.