The Value of the Early Years
Around 90% of brain development occurs in the first 5 years. Let that sink in for a minute. The growth and development that occurs in the brain in its first 5 years will never be matched for the rest of its life.
The first 5 years are where the ‘wiring’ of the brain occurs. This is where the foundations are laid to dictate later life, not just in regards to academic intelligence, but also things like social understanding.
The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) stipulates that children have a right to play, and to an education. The UNCRC underpins the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) which is the overarching guide educators refer to for facilitating high quality early years education and care.
Early Childhood Education and Care
Providing children with access to high quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) is pivotal in setting children up for life.
ECEC settings foster a child’s sense of identity. Children are allowed and encouraged to be their true selves. Children bring with them their own preferences, dispositions, family settings and personalities. Encouraging this sense of belonging enables children to be themselves.
Exposing children to early education embeds a lifelong passion for learning. Children are encouraged to be curious, to tinker, to question, to build, to unmake, to observe and to create. These dispositions are carried on into later life.
Social skills are developed in children when they are exposed to social settings and social issues. Children gain so much confidence and understanding used throughout their whole lives to be able to establish and maintain positive interactions with others. Children are able to develop empathy and navigate conflict when exposed to social settings in a supportive environment. Children develop this armoury of skills throughout adult life.
Surrounding children in language rich environments is paramount in forming extensive vocabulary and strong receptive language skills. Supporting language development in the early years transcends into other areas of development allowing children to follow direction, assert needs, resolve conflict and declare preferences.
Supporting children in the early years to holistically develop in a supportive environment is vital. The first five years of your child’s life is where their brain will develop the most, how will you foster this?