Why is Early Childhood Education Important to me?
I went to college for Early Childhood Education. I spent years of my life studying the value of early learning experiences. I took classes to learn how to stimulate small brains and help mold creative imaginative free thinking productive intelligent members of society. I know the importance of early childhood education. I know how important play is to a small child. I understand the value of dramatic pretend play in a child’s development. But apparently to some people it was a waste of my time.
There are still people who just don’t get it. Why do I craft with my children? Why do I let them tell me stories based on pictures in a book before they can read? Why do I eat plastic food with tiny blue plastic spoons served on tiny pink plastic plates and proclaim the intense deliciousness of it? Why do I let my kids set up pretend lemonade stands in the hallway or playroom to “sell” me 15 cups of air? The list goes on as they question the use of finger paint, crayons, and school glue. They will learn to read in school so why do I waste my time trying to teach a toddler to recognize and write her name? Sometimes I want to scream in frustration of the whys and whats of the perfect people of the world.
I’m not perfect and although I don’t do everything as I should. My kids eat sugar on occasion, their clothes are not organic, and I haven’t seen the inside of a gym since well ever. I will never compare to the mother who wears a size 2, has a house that is spotless, and those perfect little kids who are never dirty. There isn’t anything wrong with that, we just have different lives and point of views. My kids laugh, alot. My kids are sometimes dirty, because they actually play outside. My kids sometimes look like the hamper exploded on them because I give them a choice in what they wear. My kids know the joys of crafting a successful project, learning to read and write before going to school, and spending time not cleaning with mom. They are happy smart wonderful kids of who I am deeply proud of.
Why do I think Early Childhood Education is important? Does it matter why I think it’s important? I mean I’m no one but a mom who likes to melt crayons on the stove to create tyedyed crayons. All the experts in the field of early childhood say Early Childhood Education is the basis of a intellectually stimulating childhood. What I think is that early education is so much more than just reading early or learning to count to 20. I think early education is the child’s foundation building blocks that they will build on as they further their education and the stronger the foundation the bigger the building. I think Early Education encompasses everything from a child’s social emotional growth, to their physical growth, to their intellectual growth.
Early Childhood Education is simple and doesn’t take much to really make a difference in a child’s life. In fact most parents who love and spend time with their kids are contributing to their growth without even thinking about it. Early childhood education isn’t about spending time forcing the child to learn the alphabet while sitting at the kitchen table but more about a child pretending to act out something they have seen like a fast food worker or someone at the grocery store. Although learning the alphabet and number are an important skill too. Pretending to be someone they know or saw helps them to learn about social and emotional roles. This simple game is helping them learn language skills, thinking skills will they use their imagination. They may want to pretend to be a nurse, police person, or race car driver or even a person that is all three. This is their way of exploring and understanding roles people have in life. It may look like play but it’s a learning experience.
Art is a huge part of early learning. Crafts, creative art, sensory art… anything that allows the child to explore their creative side. Finger paint, glue, paint, markers, crayons, scissors, construction paper, cotton balls, and any other different material you can get a hold of can be used. Crafts are important to early learning because they teach following directions, a sense of accomplishment, fine motor skills and a sense of how things are put together. Creative art is important because it encourages imagination, creativity, fine motor skills, and thinking skills. Sensory activities such as shaving cream play, finger paints, painting with pudding, sensory bins or anything that uses their senses. The more you use something the better it becomes.
There is also science, math, and so much more they can learn. Simple science experiments can help encourage a child curiosity in the world around them. It can help them to see cause and effect and understand that everything has a reaction.
Creating Early Childhood learning experiences for my kids are not a waste of time, they are time well spent. Early learning activities are one of those important things we can give our children as they grow, right after love, sustenance, attention, and shelter. It helps the child to have that foundation for learning they can build on to. I may not know everything and be perfect but I would rather have messy, loved, playful, happy kids than a spot less house, so even though two of them have surpassed into the world of elementary education, I will continue to craft, create, play, learn, explore early childhood educational opportunities and entertain my children the way I always have. We may even bake a sugar cookie or two