As a parent, you may be considering whether to send your young child to an early learning centre. There are certainly many benefits of an early childhood education – physical development progression, building connections with peers and improving communication, to name a few. However, the importance of an education at such a young age can be undervalued. But what is at stake if your child misses out on early learning?
1. Essential developmental milestones
The Australian Children’s Early Childhood Quality Authority (ACECQA) provide a checklist of developmental milestones for children in their early years. This encompasses five main areas: physical, social, emotional, cognitive and language development. Being in an early learning program is beneficial for a child because in these play-based learning environments, developmental milestones are achieved and strengthened.
Research indicates that a child’s brain develops more in their first five years than it will for the rest of their life. An early childhood program helps lay down these crucial foundations, equipping children to be confident learners capable of regulating emotions, building relationships and engaging in society. Simply put, quality early learning plays an essential role in facilitating a child’s development. Without the opportunity to develop these foundations, a child may struggle in their journey to ‘big school’ and beyond.
2. Confidence in learning
Confidence in learning refers to a child’s belief in their ability to learn, academic self-efficacy and motivation, as defined by researchers for The Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework. The transition from early learning to ‘big school’ is a significant milestone, and success in this transition can rely on a child’s confidence in learning. Children often develop much of their self-assurance in early childhood programs, boosting their education performance and preparing them for the future. Being part of early learning helps ensure that children begin school confidently at a comfortable competency in line with their peers.
The ability to read and comprehend stories in the early years ultimately supports a child’s ability to focus their attention, hold a crucial narrative in memory and recall important pieces of information – setting them up to succeed in learning throughout their teenage years and beyond.
3. Preparation for ‘big’ school
School readiness is defined as a measure of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that enable children to participate and succeed in school. Though it is often thought that this means being able to read, write and do basic math, school readiness actually refers to the development of the whole child, including social and emotional skills, physical skills, communication skills and cognitive skills. Children will not thrive in school if they haven’t developed skills such as cooperating with others and listening to instructions – skills which are facilitated in early learning programs.
According to the Australian Early Development Census, one in five children start school vulnerable in their social, emotional or cognitive development and will fail to catch up. In contrast, children who attend a high-quality early childhood program the year before school are up to 40% ahead of their peers by the time they reach Year 3. Further studies show that the impact of attending early childhood education can result in success in primary school academic assessments, healthier social and emotional wellbeing in adolescence, and higher high school graduation rates.
As the ACECQA states, “Children’s learning is ongoing, and each child will progress towards the outcomes in different and equally meaningful ways.” Early childhood education ensures that children are prepared to flourish in school and beyond — developing skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives.
The Early Learning Community (ELC) at Christ Church Grammar School is developmentally appropriate, child-centred and play-based. It is designed specifically to engage boys, build important learning dispositions and foster a natural curiosity of the world around them so they are prepared for the future. If you would like to learn more about our ELC, why not book a tour and see our early learning in action?