WHY Early Childhood Education (ECE) IS A FOCUS AREA?
"The early years are recognized as a vital stage in children’s physical, linguistic, intellectual and emotional development. ECE refers not only to what is happening within the child, but also to the care that child requires in order to thrive."
Significance of “Early Childhood Education”
It is widely acknowledged that the effects of what happens during the pre-natal period & during the earliest months and years of a child’s life can last a life time. This is because the kind of early care a child receives from parents, pre-school teachers and caregivers determines how a child learns and relates to school and life in general. It is during early care that a child develops all the key elements of emotional intelligence, confidence, curiosity,
purposefulness, self control, connectedness, the capacity to communicate and co-cooperativeness.
Emotional intelligence is now considered crucial for educational success. Students who have higher level of emotional intelligence are more likely to remain and continue with education. It is truly a time for nurturing and enabling the child’s spirit.
The early years are also critical for the acquisition of the concepts, skills and attitudes that lay the foundation for lifelong learning. Theses include the acquisition of language, perception-motor skills required for learning to read and write & basic numeracy concepts and skills.
Intervening in the earliest years helps to reduce the social & economic disparities, race and gender inequalities that divide our society.
By the time children reach age two, their brains contain as many synapses and use up as much energy as the brain of the average adult. The complexity of this development is described by scientist as a magical “dance” which lies at the very heart of every human being and his/her learning process, beginning at birth, and even before. This new understanding of brain development has critical implications for society, and particularly for educators and the way children are taught. Ref: - National Curriculum for Early Childhood Education 2007: Ref: The National Education Policy 2009 gives a special place to ECE as a core EFA target