Early Childhood and Education 

Abha Meghe

Director, Meghe Group of Schools, Nagpur, Maharashtra

The child’s earliest years of life, especially from womb to the age of three years are for brain development. In this brain building process, the child neural connections are shaped by genes and life experiences –namely good nutrition, protection and stimulation from talk, play and responsive attention from the family, home culture and the caregivers. This combination of nature and nurture establishes the foundation of a child’s future.

Early childhood education should strive to transform education into an art that educates –The heart, the hands as well as head. A child, with curiosity bubbling in it, is the face of future that could be molded to near perfection by giving them adequate environment where they can be taught to think, not what to think. From birth to the age of 3 years child is at home and they are acquainted with family and relatives only. From home they step out into the society when they come to school and for that, selection of right school is very important. Parents need to select the school on the basis of not only the infrastructure but the policies of the school as well as their execution and fundamental values.

The first six years of life are very critical since the rate of development in these years is more rapid than at any other stage of development. To build a strong foundation and to meet the specific milestone pre primary education plays a vital role in child’s life. Where school and parents role is very important parental participation and involvement gives confidence and support to develop self-esteem among the children.

The chief Objectives of these years of education are :

  • Ensure each child is valued, feels safe, secure, respected and develops positive self concept.
  • Provide the strong foundation for physical and motor development.
  • Enable effective communication and foster both receptive and expressive language.
  • Imbibe good nutrition routines, health habits, hygienic practices and self help skills.
  • Enable a smooth transition from home to Early Child Care Education to a Primary School environment.
  • Enable scope for overall personality development.

With these objectives and ensure development for all children there is need of designing pre primary curriculum which develops all the skills such as Physical, Cognitive & Linguistic, Aesthetic and Creative skills as well as Socio-Emotional Skills. This creates healthy and skill based growth which creates healthy and happy learning atmosphere for the children .It also makes them aware about their social responsibilities which later helps them to become a good citizen. 

Theme based approach of teaching promotes integrated concept and helps in developing skills as well as understanding culture and values. As the children learns best through play and learning by doing. Children of this age group are naturally curious to explore their immediate world using their senses they want to touch everything they see. So teacher should use integrated approach while making a lesson plan which largely based on creating a stimulating learning environment for the child through planed activities which are joyful, and involves active thinking. Children must be engage in various kinds of play such as physical, language, object, dramatic, constructive and games with rules .This helps later to develop positive approach to learning and life as a whole.

It views children as happy , healthy and confident each child with unique identity , grounded in their individual strengths and capacities ; and with respect for their unique social, linguistic ,and cultural heritage and diversity. Circle time is a place to regroup and reconnect to develop their listening skills, learn new vocabulary, practice language skills, following directions, build self confidence, and learn about being a member of a community. As children grow and learn, they explore ,enquire, make discoveries and apply their understanding to become self regulated lifelong learners.The important learning corners that need to be set up in preschool classroom are dramatic play corner, reading corner, puzzle corner, and drawing painting corner The other corner such as the creative art, writing, science and music could be included and set up. Various co curricular activities develop active listening, verbal and non verbal communication skills. To develop the creativity, varieties of drawing, coloring, collage making and paper folding must be there in daily lesson a plan which not only develop the creative and aesthetic appreciation but also helps to refine their motor skills.

Development and learning of children happen hand in hand and largely depends on the influence of the child’s family , immediate environment community and at broader level the society . Every culture has its own norms, structure and behavior and more so each culture has its own way of interpreting children’s behaviour and development. Educator must be sensitive how their own culture has shaped their thinking and also consider the multiple environment in which different children live and how they need to be considered while making decision for children’s development and learning . A good learning programme at early childhood stage helps to ensure appropriate opportunities for holistic learning and development particularly in these sensitive periods.

Abha Meghe

Director, Meghe Group of Schools, Nagpur, Maharashtra