A child forms the strongest memories during the first five years – eating, walking, talking and sitting. These years form the foundation of a child’s growth and development and their learning depends on their day-to-day experiences. As caregivers, this is our window of opportunity – to expose a child to a nurturing, stimulating and exciting learning environment. Early experiences shape a child’s brain and research confirms that the first three years are fundamental in shaping a child’s brain architecture. These experiences have a direct significant impact on how children develop social, intellectual and learning skills.
A child’s brain is the most impressionable during these first five years. The brain develops by forming a complex network of nerve connections or pathways and the intake of new information is significant to the formation of these neural pathways in the brain. These connections are what allow babies and children to form memories, learn through experience, recognize sounds and languages, move their body parts, start talking, eating, walking and sitting and determine cognitive and physical abilities.
People confuse early learning with daycare or babysitting. Early learning is so much more than that. Early learning or early education- these are terms that are used to describe programs that provide education for children outside their own home before kindergarten. We know that children are actively learning wherever they are–at home, in early learning programs, and communities. Parents are undeniably children’s first and most important teachers, but young children need meaningful learning opportunities to develop skills, sense of self and a foundation for learning throughout life. Children who participate in early learning programs develop a love for learning, and families benefit too!
Why Early Learning ?
Children who attend high quality early learning programs develop competencies in:
- Healthy eating and wellness habits
- Fine and gross motor development
- Creative expression through the arts
- Planning and reflection
- Eagerness/curiosity for learning
- Social skills with peers and adults
- Greater identity of who they are
They also gain other essential skills such as:
- Listening and understanding
- Increased vocabulary
- Speaking in sentences/conversation
- Emergent writing
- Mathematical thinking, counting and measuring
- Scientific thinking and inquiry
- Understanding of people, places and environments
- Early literacy
- Problem solving
When to start Early Learning ?
Learning begins literally from the time babies are born and there’s even some evidence there’s learning inside of the womb. So when babies are born, for instance, they discriminate between the sounds of the language that they’ve heard and sounds of another language. So they’re already seeing, hearing, making sense of what’s going on around them.