• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Why early childhood education pivotal to raising successful youngsters

It was Eleanor Roosevelt, a one time United States first lady who queried the purpose of education.

Eleanor however provided an answer to her question when she said that purpose must be at the heart of education and education systems.

“That is the only way education can go beyond literacy, important as that is; to develop and transform societies,” she said.

It is a universal truism that individual and societal development is the foundation on which education is built. And as we know, a quality foundation is the backbone of every structure, for without foundation, the building can easily collapse.

Early child education is the foundation on which holistic and success-minded youngsters are built.

Experts believe that the benefits of early childhood education extend beyond academic and professional achievement.

They say that high-quality early childhood education has been linked to lower rates of criminal conduct, substance misuse, and even improved health outcomes in adulthood.

Ifebube Benson, the best female candidate in 2023 NECO June/July examination shared how her early education experience at Crawford Lonehill in South Africa inspired her love for Mathematics and quest for excellence.

“All my life, I have lived in South Africa where my parents enrolled me in Crawford Lonehill School. It was a wonderful experience which prepared me for the world of success.

I had a mathematics teacher who made all the difference and inculcated in me the excellence drive, especially in Mathematics. I had A1 in all the nine subjects I sat in NECO as a result of my robust learning system in my crèche and primary school,” she said.

Roseline Abiodun, an educationist and a proprietress buttressing the benefits of early child education disclosed that during a child’s first eight years of life, his or her mind develops important cognitive and social-emotional skills that lay the foundation for everlasting learning and achievement.

Similarly, research conducted by James Heckman, a Nobel Laureate who emphasised that investments in early childhood development (ECD) for children aged 0-3 yield greater returns compared to older children aged 4-5 to support Abiodun’s postulation.

Findings have shown that instilling a passion for learning in children at a young age lays the groundwork for future success and personal development.

This proactive thinking when adopted by parents leads to early childhood education that benefits not just children but also the entire well-being and profitability of the community.

It is worthy mentioning that Ejigbo Local Council Development Area of Lagos State took the right step by building a nursery and primary school at Oke Afa to bridge the gap of learning at an early age of a child.

This is lacking in many local councils areas of Nigeria where the education authorities concentrate on primary school.

Kingsley Moghalu, a former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, buttressing the fact that quality early education drives development, pointed out that education does not only develop people intellectually; but it also plays a vital role in the development of the social dimensions of the person and the citizenry.

“Well-educated individuals are not only confident to lead fulfilling personal lives but also actively engage in problem-solving within their societal contexts, thereby elevating overall societal welfare and fostering social cohesion.

“They are not equipped only with intellectual capacity for thinking and knowing, but also with a deepening sense of character, community and citizenry,” he said.

In a similar vein, Ajay Gupta, the founder and chief executive officer at Bachpan Play School gives more insights on the influence of early childhood education on success in the future.

Early childhood education (ECE) which according to Gupta comprises fun learning is a study that focuses on both informal and formal education for children from birth to the age of eight.

“It is one of the important elements of learning for young children and ECE programmes include play-based activities that promote exploration, imaginative thinking, and hands-on learning,” he said.

The educationist highlighted the need for teachers and children care-givers who are skilled in early childhood development and sensitive to each child’s unique needs and interests play an important role in developing interesting learning settings.

Besides, he maintained that well-structured curriculum, and community engagement, provide a strong foundation for the early childhood education system, which has a significant influence on children’s growth and learning.

Other benefits of ideal early child education is that it stimulates an atmosphere that promotes exploration, curiosity, and problem-solving abilities among children.

This being the case, it becomes imperative that governments at especially the local level should adopt a robust early childhood education policy by building conducive structures and equipping teachers to drive the vision.

It is unfortunate that in Nigeria early childhood education is basically left in the hands of private education entrepreneurs which has made it a little bit expensive for many parents.

Besides, as a means of supporting parents to give their children quality early child education, it is ideal if multinational firms can adopt creche and day care centres for their staff.

Children who attend exposed to early childhood education programmes are more likely to excel in their kindergarten classes. They are more equipped to engage in classroom activities, collaborate on group projects, and strengthen their cognitive and social foundations. This early school preparation lays the groundwork for future academic success of a child.

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