The value of early learning

The mission of the preschool years is to help children grow, gain autonomy and acquire values and skills that will allow them to learn in the future when they will go to school.

Thanks to children’s imitation capacity, curiosity, and their enjoyment of movement and play, there are many opportunities to stimulate them and offer them a multitude of experiences that will enrich their understanding. It is during this time that they also forge work habits and the satisfaction that comes from doing an effort, and the reward of doing things right, which they will need throughout their lives.

All children, at their own pace, should be stimulated to expand their knowledge and mature. For this reason, great care is taken in developing a curriculum that will stimulate all areas of their development. Through a close and caring relationship with the children under their care, the teachers  encourage each child in a unique way, so that each one will develop their full potential.

It is true that reading and writing are the school foundation. But let’s take it one step at a time. There is nothing more exciting than hearing a child’s first word and then, first sentences. There should be no rush to start reading and writing. They must first understand space and time, physically and through language, to develop manual dexterity. It is not easy to handle verbal tenses, spatial references or to evoke past actions. It is also a long task to coordinate arm movements, acquire hand strength and develop fine motor skills. Teachers create situations where children discover the pleasure of counting and listening and eventually the benefits of written language. When we read them a story they get excited about it. Then, they will memorize it and notice the written word. They will want us to read another one and will try to guess the text. And without realizing it, they will want to learn to read and write.

At this young age, children learn through the world around them. Their ears are ready to perceive other sounds. Early childhood is an ideal time to become familiar with a second language. Songs, stories, dance will put them in contact with new experiences and the musicality of another language. This will open their spirit to cultural diversity.

By going to preschool, the child discovers collective life and its complexities. They learn to find their place, they are confronted with rules that must be respected, they learn to share, empathy and they realize that it is possible to work as a team to achieve a common goal. These situations allow them to grow and build their personality. They learn to communicate and the importance of  the respect for others and for the environment.

During early years it is necessary to discover and experiment with the body too. Teachers encourage the essential motor actions: moving, achieving balance and manipulating objects. With games and other activities, the teachers help the children to gain more control over their bodies and reach organized, increasingly more complex actions. Encouraged by the adult, they explore increasingly unfamiliar or less accessible environments that will help them learn to measure dangers and seek solutions. They imitate, invent, explain or draw what they do. In doing so, they discover their body in action and understand that they must take care of it in order to stay healthy. Early learning allow children to discover the world through what is happening around them. They learn also through the manipulation of objects and toys. They  become aware that they can transform them, compare them, order them, classify them, and therefore distinguish their qualities. And by experimenting, they observe, describe, try to explain with their own words and eventually drawings. And with the help of their teachers, they develop new knowledge and acquire a first scientific and technical experience.

Books, photographs, music, fieldtrips,  open the doors of an ever wider universe. In this way, their vision of the world is transformed.

Learning to count, to solve problems, to reason with numbers, to understand science, is absolutely essential. But also have the resources to express themselves through art, music, dance and theater. This will allow them to develop sensitivity and learn to contemplate and to enjoy beauty. Preschool helps each child enrich their sensitive experience and its creative power by giving them the plenty of opportunities to explore with different materials and techniques so that he can better express what they perceive and what they feel.

Understanding, expressing, living, moving, discovering, experimenting, feeling, creating, and playing are essential for learning and finding a balance between body, mind and spirit. A child who develops all his faculties will feel better with himself and with others. This is the great value of early learning.

This article was written by Paola, Big Ben Kids Care Coordinator

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