Importance of early learning

2019-06-06 06:01

EVIDENCE is mounting that early childhood education can have a lasting impact on your child’s long-term success at school.

Recent studies show that early learning builds the foundation for later learning all the way through to the end of secondary schooling, and it’s been reported that students in tertiary education who are the most successful attended preschool.

Choosing the right preschool just got a lot more important than parents might have previously thought.

Playgroup, playschool, preschool, nursery school – it’s all pretty much the same, isn’t it?

The terms might often get used interchangeably, but the environments of a preschool or nursery school and that of a playgroup or playschool have crucial differences that are worth paying attention to.

It’s the goals of the environment that matter here. A playschool or playgroup provides childcare facilities for children from the ages of several months old up to five or six years of age and offers a chance for children to mix with children of a similar age, but learning is not the primary function of this environment.

A preschool or nursery school, is a place where play is directed to provide learning opportunities.

“There’s a developmental structure directing the play, and a curriculum that underpins it,” explains experienced preschool educator, educational author and preschool principal Denise Schimper.

Underpinning a preschool’s curriculum has to be perceptual development, because that is the key.

“Perceptual development gives children everything that is necessary for reading and writing and then they learn quickly,” she says.

“That’s what most of your good preschools will have, as opposed to a playschool. If it’s all free play – you can play inside, you can play outside, you can do activities or what- ever – some children will still go to Grade 1 never having cut, because they never chose to,” comments Denise.

  • Lauren Salmon is an educational psychologist and said, “The choice of preschool is becoming more and more important. What we’ve found with some of the Grade 1 pupils is not that they have a learning difficulty, it’s that they don’t have the building blocks in place to be able to cope with the curriculum.”

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