Free Essay on The Importance of Early Childhood Education
Many scholars have focused on the importance of Early Childhood Education (ECE) on children from birth to eight years. Various benefits such as development of social skills, communication skills, cognitive skills and creativity have been pointed out as some of the benefits of ECE (Feeney & Freeman, 2007). However, the teachers or tutors who are given the role of teaching these children also undertake an ECE course in institutions of higher learning. The aim of such a course is to equip them with skills and knowledge that will be used to teach the children effectively. The significance of Early Childhood Education (ECE) degree or similar academic qualification will be explored further in this paper.
Gaining deeper understanding about child development
One of the most important components of an ECE course is to understand the process of child development. Understanding child development involves gaining insight about the various stages that a child undergoes during the eight years of childhood. At each stage, learning takes place differently. Therefore, an ECE student is taught about the various developmental stages and the teaching techniques that accompany each stage. This puts him/her at a better position to teach the students effectively (Five reasons to study early childhood education, 2017).
Understanding a child’s development process involves adjusting ones temperaments to suit the needs of the children. Normally, children are very difficult during childhood. However, this is the most critical phase in their life that determines their social skills, self-esteem, morality and other aspects of their lives. Therefore, an ECE professional has to have appropriate qualities to facilitate the development of these children. He/she has to be patient, sensitive and posses effective communications skills. Furthermore, teachers should be in a position to relate effectively with these children. Some of these qualities such as sensitivity and patience might be natural. However, there is need to enhance them further in a class setting. ECE course enhances these skills by emphasizing on their importance while handling children. There are other activities that take part in ECE course such as internship that help an individual’s to improve their skills (Five reasons to study early childhood education, 2017).
Creativity and dedication are vital elements that are emphasized in ECE courses especially in childhood development. Every child brings a different personality in class. Their needs and learning patterns are also different. These needs and differences become more complex due to the rapid phases of growth that the children undergo during as they grow. It takes creativity to package the teaching content in a way that suits each child’s needs. Activities such as exercises, educational games, storytelling and use of toys might impact each learner differently. An ECE course equips a student with appropriate knowledge that enables them to blend creativity with learning materials to enhance learning (Five reasons to study early childhood education, 2017).
Acquiring Professional Competencies
There are many skills that students in ECE are taught in order to gain competence. Firstly, there are taught interpersonal and communication skills that enable them form meaningful relationships with children, parents, colleagues and other educational professionals. Effective relationships have a huge impact on the success or failure of Early Childhood Education. Teaching a child requires a collective contribution between all the people in the child’s life. These include parents, teachers, school management, government and other stake holders. The educational professional is the mediator between all these parties because he/she spends most of the time with the child. Therefore, he/she ought to have good interpersonal and communication skills to communicate, persuade and inform all the other parties for the wellbeing of the child (What is the importance of early childhood education, 2017).
Thirdly, teachers are taught about creative ways of teaching their students. Unlike adults, children are unable to learn through theory based classes. They require illustrated examples that are fun and appropriate for their age. Therefore, a teacher is taught how to formulate various learning materials in a way that accommodates the needs of his/her students. These include colorful drawings, use of toys and delivering information in a fun way.
Lastly, teachers are taught to look after the wellbeing of their students. Generally, children have various needs that range from psychological to physical. An ECE course emphasizes on the need to identify the problems that are facing each child in their classes. They then have a responsibility to develop strategies that will help to resolve the problem. These include working closely with the parents of the children. There are other general problems that affect all the children in a class such as lack of resources. In such an instance, the educational professional has a responsibility of seeking help from the school management and other sources. Kathy Dardas says that some of the challenges in her career include not knowing what the children are experiencing at home and parents involving children in their personal problems. Her responsibility in such a scenario is to look for an avenue that would shield children from these problems such as working closely with the parents (Dardas, n.d).
Numerous Benefits in Early Childhood Education
A course in ECE presents numerous benefits. For instance, an educational practitioner has a variety of career opportunities to choose from. They can fit in various sectors such as education, health, entrepreneur and nonprofit organizations. In the educational sector, there are various opportunities that one might choose from. Firstly, the teacher might choose to teach in pre-schools. At this level, his/her main role is to develop the cognitive and social aspects of the students through stimulation of a child’s curiosity and imagination. Charts, toys and games are the main materials that are used in pre-school. Secondly, the teacher may choose to work in Montessori Schools which seeks to develop independence, creativity and self-motivation in a child. Thirdly, a teacher can teach in kindergarten which acts as a transition to elementary school. There are other opportunities such as being an advocate for children, tutor in early childhood courses, program administrator for early childhood or working in non-profit organizations that deal with children welfare (What is the importance of early childhood education?, 2017).
There is a huge flexibility that comes with working in ECE field. Unlike other careers, an ECE professional is able to work and participate in other social and personal development activities. Kathy Dardas says that she is happy with her career because she has an opportunity to have summer holidays with her family and take part in training. This is an indication that a career in ECE allows an individual to have a balanced lifestyle. Training on the other hand helps a person to enhance their skills hence remaining relevant and productive in their field (Dardas, n.d)
A career in ECE brings fulfillment. According to Kathy Dardas, she is contented with her Early Childhood Education career. She says that she would choose the same job if she was to choose afresh. This is a sign of contentment. It means that her career is fulfilling her needs as an individual. For instance, people want to feel that they are contributing to the society positively, being appreciated and their salary is meeting their basic needs. Furthermore, she says that her job is free of boredom because every day brings exciting activities (Dardas, n.d). This is in contrast with many other careers that are filled with boredom due to work pressure and boring activities.
In conclusion, a course in Early Childhood Education is important for every educational professional. It equips an individual with appropriate skills that enables them to be effective in their careers. For instance, students are taught about communication skills that they use in class and in other interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, ECE courses emphasizes on appropriate skills such as patience and sensitivity that are required when dealing with children. These skills are accompanied by an in depth understanding of a child’s development. Each developmental stage presents unique challenges and needs. A teacher has to be creative and flexible to teach in a way that suits each child at every stage. Additionally, there are numerous benefits that come with an ECE course. A person is not limited to a specific career since there are various career opportunities that one can choose from. Furthermore, these careers are flexible in a way that a person can work and carry out other activities such as taking holidays with his/her family. There is also a chance for self improvement by undertaking training and other activities.
Dardas, K. (n.d.). Personal interview.
Five reasons to study early childhood education. (2017, December). Retrieved March 3, 2018, from Concordia University-Portland: https://www.education.cu-portland.edu
What is the importance of early childhood eduction? .(2016, May 9). Retrieved March 3, 2018, from Walden University: https://www.waldenu.edu
Feeney, S.,& Freeman N. (2007). Early childhood education: Using the NAEYC code. Washington ,D.C: National Association for the Education of Young Children.