So many articles and studies have shown that early childhood education is vital for kids age 2-4. I would go a step further and argue that learning begins from birth. Parents should cultivate an atmosphere of learning early on in a child’s life. From my personal experience, incorporating an atmosphere of education creates a family culture that promotes a life-long love of learning.
seIf I was to define my family’s culture, it would be faith, family, open communication, and education. When parents create a family culture rooted in their core values, then children easily adapt to tho values. In our home, learning is a daily activity. In the same way, that prayer, communication, playing, and eating are all part of our daily living.
Through my research and experience, I found the following benefits to early childhood education. These benefits helped us establish an early childhood education strategy.
Enthusiasm for Lifetime Learning
Enthusiasm for learning is either a natural behavior or learned behavior. Making learning a fun experience from an early age removes the idea of “work” from the child’s perspective and replaces it with fun activities.
We should inspire enthusiasm for learning by encouraging the playful and fun characteristics of our kids. For example, to help my daughter begin learning her colors, I used the following process.
- I purchased construction paper, safety scissors, and glue dots
- I took five primary colors out of the pack of construction papers
- Sat down with my daughter and we traced her hands on each of the construction paper.
- We created a handprint for blue, yellow, red, white and black
- We then used the safety scissors to cut out the hands
- Placed glue dots on the back of each hand
- Put the cutouts on our refrigerator
Every time she did something awesome, my husband and I would yell, “give Bre’s blue hand a high five” or “give Bre 2 high fives.” We also made shapes from construction paper and used glue dots to paste shapes on the refrigerator and used it as fun exercises.
Early structure for learning helps children to improve their concentration skills. While learning should be fun, as the kids get older, introduce structure. The slow introduction of structure helps kids to recognize the difference in learning for fun and learning for substance.
Starting at age two, we introduced “homework time” to our kids. We start with 10-15 minutes of seating down and learning. Work on coloring, tracing, cutting, puzzles, to get the kids comfortable with sitting down and learning.
We have had great success with this; as our kids get older and schoolwork becomes more intense, homework time is easy. They follow their schedule, sit through homework time without complaints, and it has helped a busy working family to balance life and work.
Love of Reading
I read to my kids when they are in the womb. Then from birth, we read to them every night at bedtime. From an early age, our kids enjoy reading, and it has become a natural routine for them.
My four- year old reads so well now, reading above the kindergarten level and enjoys it, because it is a family norm that he has adopted.
Confidence and Self-esteem
When an expert is asked to speak on their knowledge and expertise, they speak confidently and with boldness because they are confident in their understanding of the information they are presenting.
The same applies to a child with information and knowledge. When a child is exposed to information and an ability to acquire knowledge, it creates optimism and a boost in self-esteem. Over time, this behavior will encourage the child to explore their talents, skills, and interests more confidently.
A strong sense of self builds character for a child and helps the adults in their lives be more attentive and more open to the child’s natural abilities. Positive self-esteem gives a child the confidence to speak up for themselves and promote healthy interaction with others.
Support for Parents
When it was announced that we had to adapt a distance learning model, the thought of “teaching” our kids was somewhat unsettling. But as we began the virtual learning process, it wasn’t as daunting as we anticipated. The first two weeks were challenging and overwhelming, but once the school determined a clear process, we then used our “homeschool process” and it was easy.
We realized that our years of disciplined home learning practices had prepared us for the distance learning process. A benefit of early childhood education is that it provides support for parents as the kids get older.
My husband and I realized that all of the hours we spent instilling discipline and the importance of learning was a tremendous help for distance learning. Our kids were disciplined, attentive, and completed their work as instructed without my husband or me having to remind, or force them to be focused.
I can list so many benefits to early childhood education, most important in my mind is instilling the love of learning and generating information.
Thanks for exploring this topic with me.