Early childhood education is the term commonly used to describe the formal teaching and care of young children by people other than their family or in settings outside of the home. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) the developmental definition of early childhood education, spans the human life from birth to age eight.
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However, typically early childhood education covers the period from birth to when a child starts school and this can be as early as five years of age. Early childhood development and education is the overall development of the child socially, physically and intellectually.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
The Early Childhood Education Curriculum prepares students for future success in the field of early childhood education by improving academic and technology skills, improving employability skills, and articulating courses to community colleges. The rigorous and relevant 2-year program is based on state and national standards, CDA (Child Development Associate) competency standards, NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) standards, and 21st century workforce skills. The course is a 2-year program offering 4 Carnegie units of credit. The industry of early childhood education is preparing for changes due to high rates of teacher retirement, national and state initiatives and requirements, and the new focus on the field of early childhood education. The course allows for core academic subjects to be integrated into the curriculum, which are vital to students’ success.
THE IMPORTANCE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
ECE is considered to be of utmost significance. This is realized by all the members of the community, irrespective of their backgrounds and occupations. The first three years of the life of the individual are considered to be crucial. At this stage, the child develops the connections to lead to advancement. Whether the parents are educated or not, it is vital for them to possess efficient knowledge, regarding how to implement the functions of growth and development and recognize the significance of education. When they will be aware of various strategies in terms of child development, they will be able to render an effectual contribution. Parents are the ones, who are dedicated and responsible to a major extent for the operative growth and development of their children. Until the age of three, children are close to their mothers and depend upon them for implementation of all activities and functions. When children reach the age of four, they begin to realise that outside their home also there is a world, which they have to get acquainted with. ECE helps the students to develop theirmental capacity and improve their skills and abilities. The social requirements of an individual begins to augment as he grows. ECE is significant as it makes provision of knowledge and information that aims at the overall development of the individual. This area has bought into existence the works of many theorists, researchers, educationists and economists. Individuals and organizations, who have developed keen interest and enthusiasm in this area, have worked towards advancement. The problemsrelating to economic growth and productivity have been a matter of concern and ECE is a direct concern, as it renders a significant contribution towards the development of future citizens
Academic instruction is arguably the primary business of education. To this end, schools are expected to influence students’ learning, socialisation, and even vocational preparedness. Despite the attention paid to a broad definition of educational outcomes, however, academic performance remains central. Students’ academic performance is a term that appears frequently married in higher education discourse. Academic performance is a multidimensional construct composed of the skills, attitudes, and behaviors of a learner that contribute to academic success in the classroom. It is a satisfactory and superior level of performance of students as they progress through and complete their school experience. The implication of this definition is underscored by research which repeatedly demonstrates that the vast majority of students who withdraw from school do so for no reason other than poor academic performance. Although the importance of academic achievement is rarely questioned, reaching unanimity regarding its measurement has been elusive. The measurement of students’ academic performance continues to be a controversial topic among policymakers, measurement experts, and educators. Researchers have used a variety of ways to measure academic achievement such as report card grades, grade point averages, standardized test scores, teacher ratings, other cognitive test scores, grade retention, and dropout rates. However, for the purposes of this study, student academic performance is defined by the degree to which a student is able to accomplish a given class work in the school setting.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE
Early childhood education is the term commonly used to describe the formal teaching and care of young children by people other than their family or in settings outside of the home. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) the developmental definition of early childhood education, spans the human life from birth to age eight. However, typically early childhood education covers the period from birth to when a child starts school and this can be as early as five years of age. Early childhood development and education is the overall development of the child socially, physically and intellectually. It encompasses the care, development and education of children below the age of six years. Pre-primary education is defined as the education meant for children between the ages of 3 to 6 years. Pre-primary education can be seen as the education given in an educational institution to children aged 3-5 years plus prior to their entering the primary school. That is to say that early education is a special kind of education provided in an institution for children, prior to their entering the primary school. Early childhood education, in the context of formal education can be said to be “a formalized educational process to which children between the ages 2½ through five plus are subjected to in designated pre-school institutions”.
A child who fails to acquire early education may suffer emotionally, socially, intellectually and even physically if he or she is trusted into the primary school without a sustainable early childhood education involvement that will give him a solid foundation in the primary school. Infact, for the effective and efficient unfolding and development of a child’s latent abilities, attitudes and other forms of behaviour of positive values in the society in which he lives, early childhood education becomes very imminent. This is of utmost importance because researches on early childhood education have shown that early childhood education involvement have great impact on every facet of a child’s development and academic performance and had suggested that the first teacher is an extremely important person in the child’s life, hence he becomes a role- model to the child. The formal school setting in early childhood education is a supplement to the home and a substitute. It promotes the complete development of the child that the house can easily provide. Most parents are limited in what they can give such as space, variety of equipment, educational materials and experiences of their children. Many parents are burdened with their own concerns that they are unable to provide the guidance that a child needs as he faces problems and frustrations especially where mothers are the sole support or the breadwinner of the family.
Children may be left in the care of untrained and unhealthy people in crowded apartment devoid of play materials and playmates that children need leading to neglect and deprivation which may result to lasting severe and negative effects in the life of the child. If however the formative years are characterized by exposure to a wide variety of learning activities and social contacts, skilled teaching, and intelligent guidance, then healthy growth and adjustment occurs. Early childhood education give children a group experience which extends values of family given then a total experience in democratic living in which cooperation is strengthened and competition minimized
In conclusion pupils who had early childhood education perform better in their cognitive skills, motor-skills, and affective skills than pupils who did not attend early childhood education in life