Early learning, giving your child a head start

05May 2016
The Guardian
Early learning, giving your child a head start

Early engagement in science, technology, engineering and math is critical for our children because opportunity gaps can begin prior to preschool and they can continue as students progress through school.

There is a pressing need to initiate discussion with the early learning stakeholders and technology developers on how best to engage and support parents, caregivers, educators, researchers and developers to eliminate opportunity gaps in early childhood education, especially by leveraging education technologies.

In many developed countries, they have what is called the Department of Early Learning (DEL) at the national, regional, district and even ward levels but of course they are named after their own political demarcations.

These strive Departments of Early Learning help create safe, healthy, nurturing learning experiences for all children. They focus on the earliest years in children’s homes, child care, school programmes and the various clubs and communities that we send our children to.

They offer information and resources for children's first and most important care takers, parents and teacher as well as other guardians who care for and teach children.

They work to ensure that children are provided with a structured educational programme at least a year before they are to attend primary school. It is these departments that oversee pre-school s and ensure that they support 'school readiness' through a wide variety of quality resources and equipment.

The learning environments are complimented by highly skilled teachers who are specifically trained to work with children at these early years. The Departments of Early Learning also develop (with other stakeholders) what is referred to as 'Early Years Outcomes' curriculum which the early years teachers follow to the letter.

The teachers work in a structured manner guided by the curriculum. They encourage and help your child reach their full potential. Children are engaged within group activities and are set detailed individual learning targets.

They also adopt what is called ‘purposeful play’ which is simply having fun through games and other activities but which are specifically designed to teach the children or develop their interest in math, science and literature. Each child's development and achievements are tracked and reports are made available for parents to read at anytime.

In fact, most pre-schools even create blogs for the classes which they update on a daily basis showing you what your child learnt that day and the activities they had complete with photos. Children are also engaged in extra curricula activities like soccer, music, dance Sessions, drama etc all of which help to promote your child's development.

Few of us know the value of sending your child to pre-school or in other words to enroll them into an early learning programme. We think three year olds are too young to learn or to be the care of someone else away from home. This is wrong, and in fact the opposite is the truth, engaging your child in early learning better prepares them for school and helps you identify their talents much earlier on which in turn helps you to develop them.

So make it a point to find a pre-school near you and enroll your little ones if they are to excel later on when they start school.

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