• Saturday, December 09, 2023
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Organization gives children a head start with play-based learning

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To help support early childhood schooling in Nigeria, Cambridge, the world’s largest provider of international education programmes, has launched its first early years’ education scheme.

The new play-based programme developed following a successful rollout in India, has been expertly designed to give children aged three to six the best start in life, helping them meet key early milestones and thrive in and out of school.

Regarding the new early childhood education programme, Rod Smith, group managing director for International Education at Cambridge, said the programme was designed considering how important a child’s early education is to his or her success in life.

“We all know that the early years of a child’s life are crucial to their development. Research shows that the better we support children at this stage, the more positive impact we can have on their future.

Our new Cambridge early years programme draws on Cambridge’s unrivalled expertise in high-quality education to help schools in Nigeria give children as many exciting learning experiences as possible, making the most of this key phase of brain development and getting children off to a good start in life.”

Juan Visser, regional director of Sub-Saharan Africa for International Education at Cambridge, added: “We know that good early years education can benefit a child’s whole academic career, and so I’m thrilled that we are adding this new stage to the Cambridge Pathway – it’s what schools have been asking for.

Our Cambridge Early Years programme combines the best approaches worldwide with extensive teacher support. We want to help schools in Nigeria support children’s long-term development and help them be ready for the world.”

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The play-based learning programme that supports the transition to primary school draws on Cambridge’s worldwide research on curriculum principles from high-performing education systems, as well as analysis of best practices in early years education and the characteristics that have the most impact.

The research resulted in 12 key principles that underpin the programme. The principles were developed in collaboration with world-class scholars, researchers and practitioners in the early years of education.

According to the research, the importance of play-based learning, and the need to move children gradually towards more formal teaching in readiness for primary education are two of the principles that guided the development of every element of the programme.

The principles ensure that children not only acquire knowledge from a young age but also the essential skills to navigate and adapt to a rapidly changing world.

The programme will form the first stage in the ‘Cambridge Pathway’, a high-quality and joined-up path for educational success for children aged three to 19. Multiple studies confirm that education during the early years is crucial.

Research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) International Early Learning and Child Well-being study shows that, among other benefits, a high-quality early childhood education and care, compared to an average one, can double the growth in children’s verbal comprehension.

Hence, the decision to expand its education pathway will see Cambridge help schools in Nigeria and worldwide strengthen their early years education provision, something it believes will reap dividends for parents and teachers as children progress through their school careers.

The programme provides a flexible structure to support each child’s progress and can be adapted to the needs of different schools in Nigeria, providing a bespoke teaching package.

The Cambridge boss explained that the programme’s specially created classroom resources and assessments will help teachers understand each child’s progress while fostering their all-around development beyond the classroom.

Besides, Cambridge’s research with schools worldwide found that early years provision can be fragmented, drawn from a mix of different resources, curricula, assessment and training.

This can make it hard to understand how children are progressing or to determine what approaches impact their development best.

“By ensuring all the elements work well together, Cambridge helps schools give their learners a comprehensive and high-quality early years’ education,” he explained.