What is early childhood education? It’s a pretty simple question, but can have a somewhat complex answer. Early childhood education refers to the education and care of young children that haven’t yet reached kindergarten and it can come in many forms.
Early childhood education can go by many names. Child care, daycare, and nursery school are all forms of early childhood education that usually pertains to children as young as a couple months old. With this type of childhood education, the days are a bit relaxed because of how young the children are, but they still follow a strict daycare schedule and daycare curriculum.
The typical day for a young child in child care, daycare or nursery school involves things like circle time, outside play, story time, little art projects, nap time, and play time with different play stations. The activities will differ depending on the age of the child, but the general schedule will remain the same.
The curriculum for children in this type of care will focus on four main aspects of learning. Those include hands on experiences, group activities, focused learning and play time. All of these are extremely important for the development of a young child, so it’s important that the center you choose for your child incorporates these four aspects of learning into their schedule.
Once children reach the age of about 3 or 4, they will start another type of early childhood education known as preschool or pre-kindergarten. Preschool and pre-kindergarten take on the same type of schedule as children in childcare or daycare, but it’s more focused on a strict education and preparing the children for kindergarten. They are to the age now where this is appropriate.
The curriculum at preschool or pre-kindergarten are more advanced than that of a childcare center or daycare. At this level, kids begin to learn the alphabet, basic mathematics, language, the 5 senses and they start to discuss things like the weather. All of this is to prepare them for their next level of education.
Early childhood education can refer to more than one thing, but all are equally important. It’s really valuable for children to have a quality early childhood education at all levels. A quality early childhood education has a direct impact on a positive child development. It affects language, math skills and social and behavioral skills.
There are specific things that distinguish a quality early childhood education learning setting. Those things are well-educated teachers, program quality standards and a valuable curriculum and activities. In order to spot a quality early childhood education setting, do your research, interview teachers, and go on tours of the school. Doing these things will help you make the right decision about an early childhood education center. Happy searching!
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