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Need for preschool

There is no doubt about the fact that children are reflections of their early environments. There has, therefore, increasingly been a whole lot of research around the effects of early childhood education on children’s development.

One of the most influential researches to do with early childhood education includes what is known as the Perry Preschool study conducted in the mid-1960s. The study, which followed a sample of children well into their adult years, found that the children who received preschool education overall fared far better in life across multiple parameters compared to those who did not attend preschool. The children who went to preschool were seen to be more likely to graduate from high school, get good well paying jobs, were healthier and involved in fewer crimes.

This and many other such studies certainly stand to reason. It is a given that the brain is developing rapidly in the first few years of the child’s life. It is a period when a child builds cognitive skills — the foundation for academics as well as character skills and even problem solving skills is laid at this time. What is important to note is that the brain’s emotional center at this time is in the need of continuous nurturing and nourishment. Nurturing experiences are known to thicken the cortex of the brain and help create sophisticated neuron structures. Any undue stress or fear on the other hand can come in the way of this development and impair the child’s learning.

Simply put, the preschool curriculum therefore needs be designed in a manner that it aids the child’s learning. Teachers need to be aware of how children acquire skills, and must use it effectively in their pedagogy. What also works particularly well as far as the teaching practice goes is the teacher’s ability to model learning activities for children, making the activity fun and thereby engaging the child in the learning process. Early childhood education, when done right can go a long way in helping the child develop a love for education and therefore form a strong foundation for the child’s future.

Here are only few of the key benefits that accrue from quality early childhood education:

Holistic Development

Early education helps in the child’s social, emotional, mental and physical development by building well thought activities around each of these aspects as a part of the curriculum. A key benefit that is also seen is the development of the child’s vocabulary as also the critical thinking faculties.

Self-Esteem

Positive interaction with teachers and peers go a long way in equipping the child with confidence and self-esteem. In turn, this helps the child explore his/her different talents and develop them to its fullest potential. What it also brings along is the ability to handle situations confidently and take the many challenges of life, head on.

Exposure to Diversity

With the child exposed to diversity early, acceptance becomes a way of life for the child. In turn this leads to a sense of healthy co-existence as the child grows up to become a positive contributor to society.

Love for Learning

Above everything else, when done right pre school lessons help the child equate learning with fun and excitement. What this means is that it instils in the child a hunger for learning that stands him/her in good stead.

Of course, if we want the positive effects of preschool to persist, we also need to look at whether instruction in the elementary grades is aligned to the child’s overall wellbeing. But well begun as they say, is half done!

Raj Singhal

IIT Alumni

Founder and CEO Foortprints Education

(Play school and Daycare chain )

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