Are you expecting a new bundle of joy in your life? Perhaps you're already watching your child develop and discover the world! Whatever stage you're at, learning about the importance of early childhood education is always a good idea.
During these early years, a warm, supportive environment can help children develop social skills and character. And when you have teachers who understand children's development and behavior, you have all the right elements for a great education.
Here are a few of our favourite early childhood development facts, along with an explanation of what they mean for you:
1. Numbers Are Language, Too
Who can resist the charms of a small child attempting to recite the numbers from 1 to 10? You might be surprised to learn that numerical concepts are also a type of language if you're trying to teach your child the number system.
Reciting the numbers 1 to 10 is nice, but the real goal is for your child to be able to point to a collection of items and say how many are there, according to an experienced preschool teacher. This is a huge step toward matching a sound (like the word "seven") with an abstract concept (the "seven-ness" of a group of seven things).
2. Kids Feel Emotion Differently
If you've ever seen a toddler throw a tantrum, you know how upset they can get over the tiniest of things. But this isn't just for show; studies show that toddlers experience emotion in a more holistic way than adults.
Children aren't always aware that emotions are temporary. They may feel trapped in a particular emotion, despite the fact that emotions come and go. It may even be difficult for them to express how they feel about a situation, making it more of a struggle for them to do anything about it.
Children learn how to control their emotions in preschool. They'll have a lot more models of how to move and interact in the world once they're in an environment with other kids and a variety of adults.
3. Preschool Counts
Preschool can lead to a variety of positive outcomes later in life for different reasons. One of these is a head start on learning.
The other reasons are related to emotional coping, health, and social interaction. Soft skills such as relating to others and self-discipline are also incorporated at Posso. You might discover that these are the real keys to enjoying school and learning at a young age.
Your child, like any other child, will face numerous setbacks and obstacles as they grow older. Your child, on the other hand, can approach these setbacks with the grit they require if they have a determined mindset and a secure sense of self.
Also, don't underestimate the value of interpersonal learning and empathy. You may be concerned about how your child will handle everyday stressors that other children may cause, but learning how to deal with these issues early on will lay a solid foundation for the future.
4. Attachment Styles Form Early On
Did you know that attachment styles form when people are young—actually, very young?
During the first two to three years of life, children form attachments. Children require stimulating but not stressful environments, and those with secure attachment styles are more receptive to exploration and learning.
Although there are several types of attachment styles, most experts divide them into two categories: secure attachment and insecure attachment. If your child begins their journey with an insecure attachment style for whatever reason, it is not too late to act. They can rebuild a secure attachment style as long as they are in a well-informed, appropriately stimulating environment.
5. “Baby Talk” Is Actually Important
Some people think of baby talk as something silly or even harmful that parents have to do because they can't help themselves. We're here to tell you that speaking in an exaggerated, high-pitched, slow manner is actually a natural way for children to learn the fundamentals of language.
Linguists and psychologists refer to this as "parentese" or "motherese," though child-directed speech is a more official term. It's a big step for babies and toddlers to understand that the long streams of sound adults make are actually meaningful words. They can learn more quickly if the dips and rises are accentuated.
Child-directed speech isn’t something that teaches your kid language. As long as they get a nice amount of exposure, your child will acquire language whether or not you use baby talk with them.
However, it is something that can make the language learning process more enjoyable for them and save them some frustration.
6. Babies and Young Kids Understand Prosody
Prosody is one of the first things that newborns pick up on. This can be compared to the melody of human speech. Prosody is something that child-directed speech emphasises a lot, and it's great to see children pick up on the patterns.
Have you ever seen a baby "talk" with convincing nonsense rhythms and melodies? It's adorable and even hilarious to see. But something incredible is taking place. When babies do this, they are practicing prosody, which is an important aspect of human language. They are aware of the rhythms in which the people around them speak, and they recognise that these have a lot of meaning.
Think about how to differentiate a question from a statement, especially if you don’t understand any of the words. In English, a question gets a higher pitch at the end. This is just one of the pieces of information prosody can convey, and babies often pick up on that meaning even before understanding the meaning of words.
Prosody can also aid in the understanding of emotions and communication styles in children. It also serves as a stepping stone for learning more advanced aspects of speech.
7. Kids Don’t Come With a Theory of Mind
Are you familiar with the term "theory of mind"?
It's a psychological concept that experts use to make inferences about human intelligence, communication, and self-awareness. To put it simply, theory of mind refers to a person's ability to recognise that different people think in different ways. Babies do not have a pre-existing theory of mind. Rather, they learn it over time. A baby without a theory of mind may not realise that you don't have access to the same set of information as they do.
Let's say a toy is dropped by a baby while you're out of the room. When you return home, you might scratch your head, trying to figure out why they're crying. Meanwhile, the baby will be oblivious to the fact that you were not present when the incident occurred. They are aware of what occurred, but they are unable to recognise that your knowledge differs from theirs.
8. The Critical Period is Real
Even at a later age, you can learn a variety of things, including languages. The term "critical period for learning" simply refers to the period of rapid growth that occurs during the early years of life.
During this critical period, toddlers develop much more quickly and smoothly than they would later on. If you have a multilingual family and want your child to learn the languages spoken by the rest of the family, it's a good idea to keep using these languages around the baby. This can serve as an important cultural gateway later in life.
Don't worry if your baby is puzzled or has language delays in English because the critical period really makes them quick learners. Monolingual children are, in fact, in the minority on the planet. Even if you don't speak English at home, your child will be exposed to it a lot. Preschool is one way to ensure that your child is learning a variety of different ways to communicate at the same time. There are numerous variations and speech patterns to discover even within a single language (in this case, most likely English).
9. Play Is an Essential Part of Early Childhood Education
Yes, playtime is a good way for kids to unwind. But it's also a fantastic way for them to learn things that aren't covered in school. Play is even recognised by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right that every human child deserves. It's important for both mental and social development, and adults can't always create the "ideal" playtime scenario.
The beauty of play is its sense of freedom. When children are confident in their ability to have fun on their own, they are able to explore new aspects of themselves.
10. Kids Learn From Other Kids
There are different theories on how children learn social cues and interpersonal skills. However, almost all of them place heavy importance on interactions with other kids their age.
A well-designed preschool system is at the top of the list when it comes to providing children with an environment in which they can "learn how to learn." Whether in the classroom or at play, children will teach each other social skills and provide a variety of language input that will make a significant difference.
Early childhood education is full of unexpected twists and turns, but the right environment will provide your child with the support they need with whatever challenges they face. Posso Preschool is excited to be on this journey with you, and we hope you are too!