The last year has not been an easy one for anyone. The pandemic has created a sense of uncertainty in what can only be described as unprecedented times. Schools like other places of work have had to adapt to the new normal with specific protocols in place to keep everyone safe.
More than ever before parents across the world are anxious about handing their child over to an educational establishment especially when there is now an option to stay at home and learn on line. However, as an educationalist in my opinion it is essential that our youngest children attend school.
The first five years of life are crucial and an early year’s education provides the foundation for a child’s health and happiness throughout their life.
Sadly, with a pandemic this message is not reaching the wider public.
Last year, a survey conducted by the Royal Foundation (UK) highlighted what parents of 3-5 year olds think about the early years as well as exploring how COVID-19 has impacted the perceptions and experiences of parents and carers of the under-fives.
Babies’ brains double in size in the first year of life. Three-year-olds have brains that are twice as active as adults’. However, the survey found that many parents are unaware of this.
The significance of providing an early years education is fundamental to a child’s development but this message is not reaching far and wide.
Alvarado says it’s a common misperception that early childhood education is only about learning basic skills. “It’s so much more than that,” she says. “It’s a time when children learn critical social and emotional skills and a partnership is formed between the child, their parents and the teacher.
When this is done successfully, it lays the groundwork for it to continue throughout the child’s education.”
In a pandemic, the importance of providing young children with the opportunity to attend school to socialize, to play is crucial to their emotional health and well-being. Early childhood education focuses on the development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing.
The benefits of being in an educational setting far outweigh the reasons for a young child staying at home.
Head of Junior, NLCS Dubai
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