No! Yes! Early Childhood Education!

Aaah, yes, the never ending debate of people about whether to send their children to school young or not.

“Nah, he’s too young!” “Kids love school!” “Won’t he get sick?” “Well, then have him vaccinated!”

The truth is, children learn the they will ever learn in their entire lives in the FIRST THREE YEARS of their lives. Their brains are so absorbent, that the neurons in their brains keep forming connections non-stop. They learn something with every single interaction they have with their parents, siblings, and their environment.

That’s a fact. Backed up by research.

What age is early childhood anyway?

Early childhood, defined as the period from birth to eight years old, is a time of remarkable growth with brain development at its peak. During this stage, children are highly influenced by the environment and the people that surround them. (UNESCO, 2017)

Educational careers are strongly influenced by early childhood experiences. The PISA studies demonstrated the close connection between social status and school success (OECD, 2010).

Supporting these children at school entrance may not compensate for these disadvantages. Therefore, early childhood (0 to 3 years) is seen as an ideal age for intervention in order to alter long-term educational opportunities.

Internationally, a growing body of programs focuses on the early support of children living in environments that may jeopardize their development (for reviews see Bull, McCormick, Swann & Mulvihill, 2004; Heckman & Masterov, 2006).

Early intervention programs aim at increasing educational opportunities by providing children with early support from birth onwards. Other than in formal education, the child is not the primary addressee of the support.

THIS IS WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING!

The goal is to improve parenting behavior by increasing the awareness of child development, and one’s own attitudes and feelings towards the child.

In the UK, a program called “PAT – Learning with Parents” a family support system, was studied.

First results show that the intervention at age 1 and 2 has a positive impact on child development and parental competencies. OECD (2010).

So regardless of social class, the first three years are extremely important and sets the tone for the rest of their lives. It is important, isn’t it?

References:

(Volume II). http://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/48852584.pdf

Heckman, J. J., & Masterov, D. V. (2007). The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children. Bonn: Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit, IZA DP No. 2725.

Neuhauser, A. (2014). A closer look at the effectiveness of early childhood education in at-risk families. Mental Health and Prevention, 2(3-4), 43-57. doi: 10.1016/j.mhp.2014.09.002

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