When a child is conceived, it is important to recognize that their external environment has a life-changing influence on the way that a child will develop in later years. Though the child will be impacted by genetics, a huge component of young individuals’ development rests on the environment in which they are raised.
Experts are now drawing more attention to early childhood development or ECD. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that “addressing ECD means creating the conditions for children – from gestation to 8 years of age – to thrive in their physical, socio-emotional, and language/cognitive development.”
The early learning of a child lays the foundation for their development, taking into consideration their social, physical, mental, and emotional growth. And one way of improving healthy development outcomes for later in life is for the child to learn skills and receive the tools to operate in the world more effectively.
As there is tremendous learning in these earlier years of life, it is best to take advantage of the natural development kids are experiencing at this time.
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In this piece, we aim to share some interesting benefits of investing in early childhood development. We hope you know these all already, but if you don’t, we hope you share them with another parent, a caregiver, or anybody else you think should know!
Plus, there is a broad range of programs offered to young children and their parents which enrich the learning during this time. Whether these are through creative play sessions, story-telling, a music program, or the more traditional educational workshops or programs, ECD encompasses all types of special intervention.
Early Behavioural Intervention
A crucial advantage of a child being seen through some sort of ECD program is that the children will be overseen by an adult who can detect early signals or warning signs that a child may need specialized attention.
For parents who may not be trained to look out for these signs, the preschool teacher, ECD practitioner, or even the occupational therapist, they will easily identify potential barriers to the child’s learning, socialization, or development.
If there is any concern for your child’s development – in any way – an ECD practitioner can guide you and your child towards feeling supported in their learning outcomes. Moreover, click here to see how a trained professional can give you some tools to utilize at home or their main preschool if they are a little older.
Even if it works out that there is no real cause for concern, it can be a great relief to know that their development needs have been assessed.
Upskilling Through ECD
A little mentioned subject is the immense transfer of knowledge that occurs within the transaction between an ECD-trained professional and a parent, caregiver, or teacher.
If your child is being developmentally supported, the ECD practitioner is also likely to educate the adult around the best approaches or techniques to deal with certain weaknesses they can pick up.
This can be incredibly empowering for you, as the parent or caregiver, and in turn, will boost the learning outcomes of the young child. A win-win for all!
Improve Critical Thinking
When children enter an ECD program, they are intentionally exposed to new objects, activities, ideas, and skills to learn. By being challenged in just the right way – according to their age and developmental milestones – their reasoning and thinking patterns will sharpen.
Critical thinking is a greatly undervalued skill, but one that impacts our daily life. Some of the wider applications of critical thinking relate to improved problem-solving, self-awareness in relationships, conflict management, and being able to build rapport with strangers.
By focusing energy into these earlier, and perhaps more vulnerable years, your child will have the best chance of achievement in school, increased work opportunities, better overall health, more active participation in society, and a reduced risk of violence and criminal activity.
One of the many reasons early education is crucial for children and society overall is that ECD encompasses the extensive learning of soft skills that become invaluable to the child as they develop through their teenhood and transition into adult life.
Some of the concepts which a young child will learn about and integrate into their mental well-being are improved discipline, patience, increased empathy for others, and boosted confidence.
Young kids have self-esteems that are sensitive to feedback, but positive reinforcement through a learning program and healthy socialization will assist the child with moral direction and stronger values.
Learning through stories, lessons in the classroom and friendships can help the child with early education cope with difficult transitions and soar through their development – an important goal of any parent or caregiver.