I was honoured to be interviewed by The Star Education to talk about the importance of early childhood education. The article appeared in the papers today (click the link to read the online article).
Early Start Makes a Difference by Ooi May Sim
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you will know that we are big advocates for early childhood education and development. We’ve talked a lot about the importance of starting early in some of our earlier articles that I would like to highlight here:
A baby is born with 100 billion brain cells with little to no connections. Connections between the brain cells are rapidly forming based on your child’s experiences. Experiences that will help your child build these connections are a rich environment of stimuli – lots of face-to-face time with important people in your child’s life; the sound of your voice reading stories, singing, talking; a chance to move, wriggle, crawl, and explore everything around them; sensory stimulation like smells, textures, flavours, colours and sounds. Anything and everything you do with your baby in these first few years will be meaningful – but the opportunity must be provided…
Every child, by instinct, wants to learn and grow to the limit of his abilities. In the first six years of life he does this by imitating those around him. To support this need we must carefully prepare the physical and social environment, provide tools that enable the child to work to create himself, watch for those first tentative moments of concentration, and get out of the way, following the child as his path unfolds. – Maria Montessori
Children who learn to read from age 6 onwards are disadvantaged compared to children who learn to read earlier. Early readers end up being smarter later in life because “a fast start to reading unlocks an upward spiral of skills, achievement, positive attitudes, and willing practice. Conversely, a slow start tends to touch off difficulty, discouragement, dislike, and avoidance.”
In addition to starting early, we also believe in the importance of parent engagement. Even if your child is attending pre-school, parents who take an active interest in what their children are learning at school can improve their child’s overall performance.
When parents are engaged and involved in their children’s education, the net positive effect can be as much as adding another two to three years of schooling experience. That kind of impact can have a significant impact on a child’s overall achievement at school.