Early education provides a multitude of skills that will help children to succeed throughout their lives. The sooner these lessons are learnt, the more prepared infants are to interact with the world around them. There are numerous advantages that come with being exposed to early education from both teachers and parents – both forms are important. Indeed, studies have shown that those who have experienced education as infants go on to perform better once formal schooling begins. Additionally, they have a higher chance of attending university and of being able to hold down a long-term job. This article explores some of the many advantages of early education.
Patience is a key skill that is required from infancy all the way through adulthood. The ability for children to learn patience early on will mean that is highly developed by the time they are teenagers and adults. Indeed, patience can only be fostered through experiencing enough social interaction. Early education is one of the only ways in which children engage with the social world – this is where they first communicate with peers and learn what it is to be social. Likewise, it is here that patience is learnt.
In addition, infants look to the examples set by parents and early education teachers, and then mirror what they see. If they witness caregivers, educators and other peers waiting until it is their turn to do something, then they will begin to do tis too. Patience can be viewed and internalised when, for example, children are required to wait for an object, toy or resource, or attention from a particular person.
- Confidence and self-worth
Children can only develop a strong sense of self, a healthy self-esteem and an optimistic worldview if their psychological wellbeing is nurtured and protected. This will then lead infants to seek out and value hobbies, passions and talents.
One of the ways in which psychological wellbeing is nurtured is through the social interactions that emerge in early education environments. Both peers and teachers validate the feelings, experiences and understandings of the infant – this encourages healthy self-esteem, which will translate into confidence and self-love both now and later on in life. Indeed, this is arguably one of the most essential advantages of early education, as self-worth lies at the very heart of how a person develops and how able he or she is to reach his or her potential.
- Familiarity with diversity
Children need to learn to appreciate and to value difference as opposed to learning to fear it. If difference is internalised as a fact of life, instead of as something negative, then future prejudice and discrimination can be militated against. Early educations exposes children to peers who belong to different backgrounds to themselves – this introduces and reinforces the idea that each individual is valuable, unique and has something different to offer the world. In the same vein, different constructs such as race, gender, culture, religion and ethnicity should be celebrated as opposed to alienated or ‘othered’. Thus, early education is instrumental in promoting diversity recognition and appreciation from the start.