We all know that early learning is a critical step towards a balanced education, as these early years form routines, habits and values that should stay with the learner for the rest of their life. In this short article, we take an in-depth look at what makes an early learning program successful.
- Child centered approach – Times are always changing and the traditional classroom learning model where the teacher instructs from the front of the class is no longer used in the majority of early learning The learner’s interests should be at the forefront of the program, which is globally accepted as the best learning system. Everything should be based around the child’s interests, at least for the first 7 years of their education.
- Role models – Young children pay more attention to what adults do rather than what they say; a good early learning program has teachers and carers who are perfect role models. This is how young children pick up social skills and politeness and these skills are essential in later life.
- Developing creativity & imagination – The first 7 years of a child’s life are critical when it comes to developing creativity and imagination, and a good early learning program is designed to bring out creativity in the children. Story-telling is one way to develop imagination, while art is a great medium that encourages creativity. There is no right or wrong with art, it is purely down to the individual and every opinion is as good as the next.
- Focus on art, dance and movement – Young children should be very active with dance and movement as a focus, the children get the much-needed exercise that they need. Art is a wonderful medium that young children should be around on a daily basis, as it develops creativity, imagination and self-confidence.
- Structured learning – Even an early learning program needs to be structured, which helps the young learners to build knowledge; kindergarten, for example, follows the guidelines of the Australian National Curriculum regarding how early learning should take place. This is something to bring up when you visit an early learning centre; take a look at the curriculum and you should see structure.
- Fun-based – Young children need fun in their lives, as they do not have the motivation that older children do regarding learning. Games, song and dance should all play a role in an early learning program, with short, 15–20-minute sessions, as young children have a very short attention span. If young kids are not having fun, learning will not be taking place, and this is not something that is up for argument.
When you are looking for an early learning program for your child, make sure that you find a school that features all of the above and your son or daughter will develop in every respect. Start with a Google search to find all the early learning programs near you, then create a shortlist and visit the schools that look promising.