Early Scope

Early Childhood Education (Blog) (4)

This section invites the educators and practitioners in ECE. Early Childhood Education blog will feature articles revolving around issues significant to Early Childhood Education.


Evidence shows large-scale, public preschool programs lead to better education, health, economic and social outcomes for children, families and countries.

 

Universal, public education should begin with preschool at age 4. Five decades of high-quality research into early childhood education overwhelmingly support such a policy shift. Indeed, the arguments, based on large numbers of studies, are stronger even than those that propelled the US expansion and universalization of access to kindergarten at age 5, after the Second World War.

 

Evidence from neuroscience, medicine, developmental psychology and economics demonstrates that large-scale, public preschool programs lead to better education, health, economic and social outcomes for children, families and countries. This is particularly true for disadvantaged children. However, these programs are also cost-effective for middle-income groups – US evidence indicates that the economic benefits typically outweigh the costs of providing these educational opportunities, by between three and seven to one.

 

US experience shows that differences in academic performance, between those who received preschool education and those who did not, gradually fade out later in students’ school careers. However, major benefits from early education can survive long-term. Even after test-score differences decline to zero, people who received high-quality early education do better in terms of high-school graduation, years of education completed, earnings, reduced crime and teen pregnancy. “Fade-out” may also be diminished by improving the quality of elementary education, particularly in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

 

Universal provision of public education at 4 is a question not only of cost effectiveness, but also of equity: in many countries the well-off already enjoy access to such education, while it is denied to many of the less well-off. For example, in the United States, 90 percent of families in the top 20 percent of income distribution are already purchasing preschool education for their children. In contrast, among families in the lowest 40 percent of income distribution, fewer than 60 per cent of children are enrolled in preschool education. Some US states, such as Oklahoma and Georgia, have offered universal pre-kindergarten education for the last 15 years, whereas about 10 states still have no publicly funded preschool education. So access is determined not only by a family’s resources, but also by where children live. The US is in the bottom third of the OECD for preschool enrollment in education.

 

Too many children in the US and elsewhere start school inadequately prepared to succeed. Gaps in cognitive, linguistic, social, and emotional skills due to unequal opportunities become evident well before children enter kindergarten. The resulting achievement gap widens in the US as children progress through school, despite strong efforts at remediation. The long-term consequences include high rates of school failure, grade repetition, inappropriate special education placements, and dropout; involvement in risky behaviors and crime; and even a higher risk of adult chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. These problems are not limited to the poor: many children who fail a grade and drop out are from middle-income families. The costs of remediation, social dependency, poor health, and lost productivity are very high for individuals and for governments. 

 

The quality of teaching and support for teachers are vital for achieving the benefits of preschool education. In large-scale US studies, only a minority of preschool programs provided excellent quality, and levels of instructional support were especially low. The evidence continues to grow that interactions with teachers who combine stimulation and support are the foundation for positive effects on children. Such interactions build children’s higher-order thinking skills as well as their knowledge of specific content (such as early math and language skills), and at the same time are warm, responsive and elicit elaborated conversation. It’s important to focus on structural elements of quality, such as group size, teacher-student ratio, and teacher qualifications, because they help increase the likelihood of such interactions, but structural elements alone don’t ensure that these stimulating and supportive interactions will occur. 

 

Teaching can be an isolating activity. The science of adult learning shows us that we learn best through direct observation, support and feedback. Evidence suggests that coaching and mentoring on how to implement content-rich and engaging curricula, based on observation in the classroom, can yield important benefits for children by raising the quality of their interactions with teachers.

 

Beyond coaching and mentoring in support of instruction and curricula, what other factors can strengthen the boost that children get from preschool education? There is evidence that a second year of preschool shows additional benefits to children. However, we need more work to consider how a second year can build on children’s growth in a first year of preschool to boost learning and development even more. In addition, comprehensive support services for families can strengthen outcomes, but the most recent research indicates that such services should focus on evidence-based practices. For example, a recent US review of a large number of studies indicates that the positive effects of preschool education can be augmented when a parenting education component is added, but only when this component gives parents the opportunity to see modeling of positive interactions or to practice such interactions. Such effects do not occur when programs simply give parents information.

 

Individual children’s growth and development is the basis for a country’s development. I would contend, given the strong evidence, that supporting quality in universal preschool education is the key to sustainable and productive citizens and societies.

 

Disclaimer: The copyright of the content of the above blog belongs entirely to the author. The blog is published with due consent from the author. 

Language Intervention

Written by Published in: Early Childhood Education (Blog)

 

 

The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.
The way we talk about them becomes their life stories.


This beautiful quote, shared by a friend put me to thinking. Why is language so important? Why are parents restless to hear child’s first word, first sound, and first chuckle? What do we leave the child with when we reprimand them? What is it that we offer the child with our cooing and cajoling?


While looking for latest researches to answer to questions, I came across the TEDxLaunceston Talk by Derek Patton. Derek Patton is a child and family psychologist working in Melbourne. In his talk he shares an experiment using positive psychology and offers great tips for both parents and teachers to initiate a Language Intervention with the children.


Very simply, Language intervention refers to using our natural, everyday spoken language with a slight difference. That is we care to stress upon using more positive affirmations and virtues when we talk to our child. Practicing these speaking behaviors both at home and school enhances a child’s character strengths. For instance, when you see your child playing with other children collaboratively, use that as an opportunity for language intervention. Say to the child oh wow, that is very kind of you OR I am so proud of you for being so helpful OR oh! how gentle you are with the object etc.  Using these virtue words when the child is upset can be remarkable. On these moments, the child is reminded of his abundant potential and calms down. This is no way means that the child should un-acknowledge his emotion or disown their feelings but we are gradually teaching children to learn to gravitate towards virtues and savor its effect.


By doing this you have taught your child very important things. First, the child is now aware of their behavior and its impact on others. You have enabled an awareness of own Self and actions in them. The child knows the meaning and impact of being kind and gentle. If you keep using these words in various situations (at home or outside) the child develops an understanding of the concept of kindness. Instead of watching and imitating the other person, the child is creating and expanding his own definition of the virtue.


Second, the child understands that being gentle and kind (or any other virtue) is a capacity in him or her. For instance, if you wish to inculcate in your child the virtue of appreciating beauty and excellence in objects and people then a possible language intervention could be taking them out in the park/market or even your own house. Encourage them to hold leaves, touch flowers, watch birds, hold colored cloths and admire with them the beauty of those objects with words of appreciation such as wow, beautiful, so pretty, amazing etc. This simple act teaches the child to notice and appreciate beauty in all domains of life.


Third, if the parents and the teachers both use same words, the child learns that this behavior is valuable and hence would be intrinsically encouraged to be that person.


Thus, by using simple everyday words, you begin to create in your child a vocabulary of positive experiences and emotions.


References:

1.     The challenge of early conduct disorder: Derek Patton at TEDxLaunceston. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uptMwDiJn-I

2.    

      Character Strengths: www.viame.org


      Written by: Ms. Sugandh Gupta 

      I am a Delhi based Psychologist. I work independently with institutions to provide research based interventions and behavioral trainings in areas such as Self Development, Leadership Excellence, enhancing Mental Wellness etc.. I can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

            

Look at this photograph below…

 

Does this give you any sign that something is not appropriate? Three innocent faces of children about 6yrs of age, appearing happy, curious.

Now… picture this…

 

This is Reena (name changed). You may not have recognized her as any different from the other children in the picture, that she was married at such a tender age is an idea too far-fetched to believe. Shockingly, it is true. At the age of 6years, this young girl who lives in the rural districts of Rajasthan, India, was married when she was about 4yrs old, with a boy of the same age. She continues to live with her parents till her gauna, (a ritual that will take place once she attains her puberty and begins to live with her husband). 

 The Hundred Languages

Author:- Loris Malaguzzi, (Translated by Lella Gandini)

 

No way. The hundred is there.

The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.

A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.

The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.

They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.

They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.

And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:

No way. The hundred is there!