Children’s Education Begins Before School
It is well-known that in the early years of a child’s life, development milestones are absolutely huge. It is in the first five years that children grow and develop at an exponential rate. This is in terms of their gross motor skills, such as progressing from crawling to standing and walking. It is also true for their fine motor skills as children can go from grabbing an object with two hands to pick it up to being able to hold something and lift it with just one hand.
Therefore, when it comes to mental development, there are so many cognitive processes occurring in a child’s brain that need to be taken into consideration. This is how education begins well before a child reaches their first year of school.
As the Singapore Ministry of Education implements a curriculum in schools that is very much child-focused and allows self-directed interest learning, it is important for children to have a pre-developed concept of what their interests are. All of this starts in the home. As parents, there is the chance to engage with your child’s interests and strengths before they attend a Primary School. In doing this, children have a head start in being able to identify their interests.
Basically, interests are explored through exposure to a wide range of activities. The only way that children can develop enthusiasm or passion for something is by trying new things on a regular basis. In the home, this can be done through a broad range of activities.
Some ideas to implement in the home for your child’s early learning develop include:
Arts and crafts
There is so much learning potential in arts and crafts. Children learn how to express themselves through colours and shapes. They learn how to refine their fine motor skills in holding a paint brush or pencil. They learn how to apply colour to paper and manipulate it to create something. In the early years, it isn’t important what the child is creating, but rather that they are having the chance to explore tactile learning.
Arts and crafts can range from painting to drawing and gluing and cutting things to build something in the home. It is most important that children are encouraged and praised for their engagement in anything artistic. Exposure to arts and crafts in the early years can lead to an interest in fine arts, sculpting, or even architectural drawing skills.
Numeracy building blocks
The foundation of numeracy interest can literally start with building blocks in the early years. Blocks with numbers are fantastic for children to start recognizing the numeracy pattern. This can start with basic blocks numbered from one to ten. Once a child can line them in the right order, which also progresses their motor skills in lifting blocks and moving them around, it is important as a parent to make sure the numbers have a meaning for the child. For instance, the number two needs to be associated with two items so that is has real life application.
Other ways to encourage counting and numbers association is through discussion. For example, asking your child at dinner time how many potatoes are on their plate. This engages the child with counting and applying a number to a real life scenario.
Reading and literacy development
A key fundamental in learning that takes place at home is reading. This can start from infancy when parents read to their children. It is a practice that should be done every night and started from a very young age. As children grow up in the early years, they will start engaging more with books and pictures and the words that you read to them.
Active reading is the most important thing to do with a child in the early years. As you read, associate the word with the picture. Read with tone and expression so that your child is more engaged. As the child nears school age, they should be able to say some words and understand the meaning. The more you read to your child before they go to school, the more vocabulary and confidence they will have. This can help guide them through their literary interests.
Building a strong foundation for your kids
At Eye Level, we believed in building a child’s foundation early. Therefore we have developed a Play Math program for kids starting from 3 years old. Play Math comprises a collection of large learning materials that are meant to help early preschoolers to develop mathematical concepts. A student who undergoes and completes the Play Math under the Kids Math Enrichment Program will have an essential foundation for success in mathematics taught in school.