There is an increasing amount of research highlighting the significant role early years education plays in the success of children. However, it can be difficult to know what quality early years education looks like, especially for first time parents. Early childhood education expert, Deborah Stipek, believes effective early education programs share common elements that should be easily identifiable when visiting an early education centre, even on a brief visit.
Here’s what to look for when visiting an early education centre.
1. The quality of teaching
At first glance, it’s easy to see early years education merely as a group of children playing around. However, a good early education centre understands the key role of play-based learning, ensures that play is intentional, and that children learn most effectively through play. There is always a purpose behind the play. If you ask the teacher, good teachers can easily explain to parents why they are doing this activity and what the learning goal is.
When visiting an early education centre, ask about the curriculum that’s implemented, and ensure that it includes play-based learning to help children achieve essential developmental milestones.
2. The classroom environment
A good early education centre has a lively and happy atmosphere with children playing together and walls covered with student artwork. The classroom environment should also have a good ratio of teachers to students — allowing teachers to give students the attention and care that’s required.
The buildings and facilities should be clean, well-maintained, and safe. When you visit an early education centre, consider the classrooms and how safe it is if children aren’t being watched at every second.
3. Student and staff interaction
A study from the Society for Research in Child Development found that the most important aspects of quality in early years education are stimulating and supportive interactions between teachers and children, and the effective use of curriculum. Young children benefit the most when teachers engage in interactions that facilitate learning and are emotionally supportive.
Teachers at a good early education centre will interact with students on their level. When teachers go down on their knees and make eye contact with students, it shows that they are approachable and supportive. This encourages children to develop their communication skills, while becoming more comfortable with their teachers.
Ultimately, the best early education centre is the one that suits your son’s needs most effectively. Be sure to consider his needs when you visit an early education centre.
A quality early childhood education can provide your son with best start to his learning journey and provide lifelong benefits. Discover how Christ Church Grammar School’s Early Learning Community (ELC) truly caters for the unique educational needs of boys — register for an upcoming tour.