Pre-Primary Education are key to bridge infant learning gap during the pandemic
Sat, 11 Sep 2021 1631342224331
Numerous scientific studies over the years have concluded that a child's first five years are most important for the development of the child's brain, and experiences during these early years directly impact how they develop learning, social and emotional skills.
According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, the emotional and physical health, social skills, and cognitive-linguistic capacities that emerge in the early years are all important prerequisites for success in school and later in the workplace and community.
Early Childhood Care and Education is really the greatest and most powerful equaliser, and according to the UNICEF, investing in the foundations of learning, in quality early childhood education for all, is a proven solution to closing learning gaps, strengthening education systems, providing a solid foundation for human capital development and supporting a country's goals for economic growth and development. Some research studies also reveal that children who have completed pre-school learning have fewer behavioural problems and are not involved with crime in their adolescent and adult years.
The Covid-19 pandemic caused the closure of pre-schools and anganwadis schools in March 2020 and these are still shut. Toddlers from two-and-a- half years of age have had their learning halted for over a year now and it appears that this closure will continue for another year. As the early years are crucial for the start of the learning and developmental journey, pre-school parents have expressed their worries about their children having lost out on learning as a result, and believe that it is very important to keep a child's education going during this pandemic.
According to a survey by EuroKids International, 95 per cent of the parents polled have enrolled their child in some form of learning - online or home schooling, to ensure continuity in their learning.
Parents have found that online learning has been a viable substitute for their toddlers to avoid a near zero-learning year for their children. In keeping with social distancing regulations and the need to stay indoors, an online pre-school offers children a structured learning program whilst in the safety of their own homes.
"The closure of early childhood education centres all throughout this pandemic has resulted in a widening gap in learning for most children. We understand the importance of uninterrupted learning and we want to encourage parents to consider remote learning for their children, so they can continue to achieve their developmental milestones. Children should stay indoors for the present, but restart their learning with experienced educators.
Educators in pre-schools teach young children not just basic skills, but also critical social and emotional skills, motor skills, languages, numbers, cognitive and analytical skills through scientific methods that are joyous for children.
When asked about the achievement of learning outcomes of their children, parents surveyed stated that their children were able to grasp pre-academic skills such as recognized colours, printed names, letters of the alphabet, numbers, etc. more than any other skills through their online pre-school. Additionally, the survey also reveals that many parents believe that while academic learning is being somewhat managed and learning outcomes therein are being addressed, parents are also worried about their child's social and physical development.
Over 70 per cent of the parents surveyed stated that they would continue or choose online learning (led by the teacher and supplemented by the parent), in case schools do not reopen in the next six months, while 22 per cent would seek a home schooling option, by the parent, perhaps with teacher support.
As nuclear families tackle work from home with household chores, parents may not be able to spend enough time engaging with their child as would be needed to develop social, emotional skills. Hence more and more parents are looking at enrolling their child into a pre-school to be able to offer their children a curious, learning and fun environment where he or she can imbibe skills for the long term.
As the development of a young child's brain affects his or her physical and mental health, the capacity to learn and impact his or her behaviour throughout childhood and adult life, the impetus for laying the groundwork for tomorrow's citizens lies with the early childhood education sector—The Hawk Features