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5 Reasons why Infant-toddler Education is so Important

         I have been in the field of quality early education for a long time and have seen a lack in understanding of the importance of infant-toddler education from parents and even teachers. It has become such an issue because in the last few years the dynamics of care has changed, the demand in higher quality but no increase in pay for the educators have caused caring and loving professionals to leave the field and take other positions so that they can make ends meet. Centers are closing left and right because the pay isn’t there to cover the bills and facilities can’t find quality staff. The headache of the business outweighs the benefits. The lack of quality centers in our nation has made me think about what do we need to do as professionals to remind not only parents but teachers and professionals the importance of quality and the importance of infant-toddler early education.

          Education for all starts at infancy, and if provided the appropriate engagement from the professionals and parents then children will succeed and grow to be ready for not only kindergarten but for life. It is critical for each child to develop socially, mentally, and emotionally during the first eight years of life and according to Zero to Three a child’s brain undergoes excellent change before they even enter kindergarten. 700 new connections are formed every second, and that’s before a child turns three!

 

         What are we doing as professionals to keep the new connections going and being formed when the least amount of attention is given to those that are under the age of three? We as educators and advocates are starting too late. We have to stress the importance of early education soo much earlier. We need to begin before the child is born and enhance prenatal care and awareness to the parent and then from birth the importance of early education and how to do so.

          Research shows where children that were enrolled in early learning child care programs demonstrated increasing levels of school achievement and an ability to adjust well to different social environments better than those that do not get quality early care and education. They also show better behavior, Higher IQ’s, faster learning, and improved attention spans.

        I thought that since I was going to get on my soapbox of the importance of early education and starting at infancy, then it would probably be best to explain six ways that infant-toddler early education benefits children the most and the importance of it.

 

1. Promotes emotional and social development

          Before a child can function in school or life, they have to be socially and emotionally developed at a level where they can interact with other children and adults appropriately. When children are not in an early care setting issues arise of children being unable to emotionally understand the differences of others, being around others, and functioning in a setting with others. It becomes a very emotional and stressful situation for the child and can sometimes be very traumatic for a child. This can cause the child to shut down, cry, or even can even cause major behavioral issues because of not being prepared for the situations at hand. Early education prepares them for being around others, working with others, understanding schedules and transitions and has a lot easier time when moving into a more structured classroom.

2. Children learn self-help skills and empathy

          When children are in an early learning facility with other children, they are given the opportunity to master self-help skills appropriately with the guidance and facilitation of an adult. They are given the ability to do what is developmentally appropriate and helps build the child up to be confident in whatever they do. This also helps them to problem solve and work out the issue in a proper manner. Children learn the importance of helping others and empathy towards friends and others in their small community.

3. Structure and Fun

          Children learn the importance of schedules and structure within a classroom but then also have fun exploring the environment and many different materials that are at their fingertips. Their curiosity can be indulged and allow them opportunities to problem solve with others and collaborate at an early age.

4. Promotes cognitive and Language skills

           In Infant toddler educational classrooms children are always being talked to and engaged which increases language skills and allows the child to utilize enhanced cognitive abilities. They are given opportunities to learn math language and skills at a young age and are always being read to which emerges children into the love of reading.

5. Prepares for future schooling

         Giving children the ability to master the skills needed to learn as they get older and are in preschool and kindergarten prepares them for the quick and enhanced years ahead of them. Education has changed so much since we were in school that everything is starting earlier and earlier and if our children are not given the critical skills necessary for them to master the information that is coming to them, then they are already behind before they reach preschool.