Early Childhood Education

Let's first take a look at the fundamentals of early childhood education ie preschool.

"Pre" means before. "School" means a place for formal learning.

Therefore, preschool is a place, setting, or an environment for early childhood education before being sent off to formal education.

Today, it is currently recognized in most countries as a center / school / organization specially and strategically set up with the intention and goals to teach and educate children from 3 - 6 years old. Around the world, early childhood education is also referred to as Nursery, Day Care, Preschool or Kindergarten. Have a look at different early childhood education and Preschool Around the World.

Looking at the fundamentals of early childhood education, we need to note that a preschool kid learns and absorbs knowledge and is well educated in a conducive environment where there is much creativity and interactions - not with a rigid structure, not necessary a center, an organization, or paid staff. Though when the child is sent off to school, it is an avenue for mothers to have a couple of hours off while their at childcare or kindergarten.

Preschool learning may also begin at home with loving parents or caregivers who intentionally create an environment for learning.

In fact Preschool Homeschool is a natural and fun learning time for kids where they are motivated and "lured" into the joy of learning. No doubt, there are hidden lesson plans a home school mum would have considered, though unknown to others. There are many reasons for homeschooling, many pros and cons of homeschooling coupled with some negative effects of homeschooling too.

A preschooler would spend most of his time playing and creating through various activities while learning precious lessons. A center or parent with Preschool lesson plans that expects children between 3 to 6 years old to sit still and listen for 45 minutes is NOT education. Such early childhood education does not enhance the child's learning, nor cultivate the love of learning.

I would call that a Kill-Joy School

Children at that young age, no doubt like to be in a small group, yet would prefer to work alone at their own pace and space. Rigidity are not friends of young children. Play is the central learning focus of a preschooler. So a good Preschool should incorporate lots of children games and craft activities in the learning process.

Well, of course little children don't only play. Are you aware that preschool kids have a natural & intuitive interest in books and delight in reading children's stories? Right from the age of 2s and 3s, a toddler would reach his hands out to grasp anything to read - perhaps beginning with a picture book. Look closely, and you'll find that he or she would be engrossed in turning the pages - no doubt it would be only for a few minutes. But in that few minutes, the little tot is like a sponge that soaks in much information. In the adult world, we call it reading.

Therefore from toddler-hood to childhood, a child learns and expands his brain in a non-structured and natural environment. This does not mean that we can do away with well thought-through Preschool Lesson Plans.

In short, early childhood education can be summarized as intentionally enhancing a child's growth in his total and wholesome development through social interaction and preschool activities. This includes:

Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Social, and very often neglected in the curriculum is the Spiritual. We can term it - P I E S

Mum and Dad at home - Fully devoted, fully committed 24/7 - who else can take their place? environment

Times have change! It is increasingly difficult for moms to stay home , let alone "teach"? Well, there are those who can't stay home for some reasons - but thanks to them, we have now a demand for Kindergarten teachers and therefore job opportunities for many. After all, Preschool teachers have spent substantial amount of time specializing in learning and training for a professional position to care for the little children. Works out well. So....

See Also:

Child Development

Montessori Method

A Good Preschool

Kindergarten Reading Program 

What's your view of childhood development?

There are many views of childhood development propounded by different child psychology and philosophy. What's yours? In a practical, non-professional approach, share your own story here.

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