With the world changing at breakneck speed and blinding innovation becoming the order of the day, having the new generation prepared for this reality is something that is staring us all in the face. With driverless cars and smart home assistants ruling the roost and more and more jobs becoming automated, to say that the careers of the future are slated to change, will be an understatement. What will remain in vogue however is intelligence and creativity, both of which can be developed in the early childhood years.
Research has it that early childhood education goes a long way in shaping one’s future. In fact it is interesting to know that as per a research, children at 2 years of age who have high vocabulary are known to have better academic as well as behavioral performance once they enter kindergarten. Going forward, kindergarten skills are known to impact earnings, savings and more as an adult.
Given the importance of early childhood education, parents are often left wondering what they can do to enhance it. A lot actually! For starters the thing to do is to start communicating with the child early. While it may seem like a fruitless exercise to talk to a child who cannot yet respond, the fact is that the child is absorbing every bit of what you are saying and it is this continuous interaction with him or her that will go a long way in helping the child develop a strong vocabulary. Reading to a child who seemingly may not understand what is being read to him is also a great enabler. Another aspect that helps, although at the first instance it sounds antithetical to the advice that one receives ever so often about not exposing the child to any screen time, is to expose them to touchscreens that act as learning resources and provide feedback based on the action that the child makes. It is important however to reiterate at this point, that this is not the same as exposing them to passive screen time and hence this shouldn’t be confused with exposing them to TV or videos that do not do anything on this count.
What is imperative to keep in mind is that the brain is developing quickly in the first three years of the child’s life. The brain’s emotional center needs continuous nurturing and nourishment. Any undue stress or fear can actually come in the way of the child’s learning. Nurturing experiences on the other hand are known to thicken the cortex of the brain and help create sophisticated neuron structures. No marks for guessing then, that children who grow up in nurturing environments have an advantage over those who grow up in stressful environs.
The key, besides being conscious of these aspects as a parent, also lies in choosing the preschool with care. Simply put, the preschool teachers should be aware of how children acquire language and other skills, and must use it effectively in their pedagogy.