Importance of Early Childhood Development and Education

I chose the topic on the importance of Early Childhood Development. In the book, Teaching Today, the authors state, "There is evidence that children who are not prepared for school and who do not attend quality preschools have a more difficult time in school." Preschool and early childhood development have significant effects on the educational learning abilities of students. Of the research that I have done, I have been able to identify what effects early childhood has on individuals and what those establishments require to be successful.

Top Five Things I Learned:1) Play is important to the all around development of children in their bodies and minds.
  • Play builds active, healthy bodies and brains
  • allows children to discover their own areas of interest
  • when playing together, children learn how to work in groups, how to share and negotiate, and how to resolve conflicts
  • The most informative video I found for this was The Importance of Play on YouTube

2) The majority of cognitive and emotional development occurs in the first five years of life.
  • See the first video in the resource section

3) Early experiences shape the ability of a child to learn, behaviors, and physical and mental health.

4) Stable, nurturing relationships are key to fostering the development of healthy brain circuitry.

5) Five factors figure into the effectiveness of a preschool program. These are: small group sizes and high adult-child ratios, qualified and well-compensated personnel, warm and responsive adult-child interactions, language-rich environment (reading with the children), and a safe physical setting.

My resources came from YouTube. There were many videos pertaining to Early Childhood Development but I selected a choice few that I felt succinctly provided sound information. Two of these videos came from studies conducted at universities and are backed by scientific research. If you only have time to look at one resource here, I would recommend the YouTube video called Early Childhood Program Effectiveness. It was very informative not only on the importance of early childhood development, but also what children require to develop successfully and what types of programs offer that.

Early Childhood Development Advocate Resource

The video states the development of a child during this phase can permanently impact a his or her ability to learn and process the world around them. Relationships and environment play the biggest role in the development of young children. Rating: 5 out of 5

This next two videos were both studies conducted through Harvard University, the first by Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., and the second by Professor Hiro Yoshikawa.

The Science of Early Childhood Development
This video emphasizes the brain development of children at very young ages. Dr. Shonkoff explains that early experiences shape learning abilities, behaviors, and physical and mental health. The brain is prepared from birth to be shaped and influenced by experiences that a child encounters in life. After the first five years, the brain's circuitry loses some of its flexibility which is why introducing a child to education early is so important. Early Childhood programs provide opportunities for those experiences to develop. Rating: 5 out of 5

Early Childhood Program Effectiveness

This video was the most applicable to my questions on what qualities made a successful preschool. Not only were educational benefits made known by this study but the benefits of early childhood education that the community experiences were identified as well. A study was done of children who attended high quality preschools through their adult lives and shoed a benefit not only in educational achievement but also in a reduced crime rate. Rating: 5 out of 5

Early Brain Development and Lifelong Outcomes

Children need warm, stable, nurturing relationships with a a small number of adults and a variety of enriching learning opportunities. These learning opportunities allow children to explore and make sense of the world around them. This video emphasizes that the first five years of life are extremely important because they lay the foundation for which all other knowledge, behavior and wellness are built on. Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Importance of Play

Children discover the world around them through play. Children also discover themselves through play by discovering what their own unique interests are. Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Other places that I found useful information were:
This website shows that some learning skills can be acquired through environments that support the gain of this type of knowledge. Also, research shows that children who start school with a strong set of learning skills will be better able to take advantage of learning opportunities. Rating: 3 out of 5
This website shows how early learning is productive for later learning in life. Early failure will breed later failure. It is therefore better to start early than trying to go back later in life and fix what hasn't been learned or retained. Rating: 3 out of 5
"Children learn more quickly during their early years than at any other time in life." This website describes how early learning is important in children and how it is the duty of the parents and community members to make sure each child is receiving early childhood learning opportunities. Rating: 3 out of 5