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Early Childhood Education: Getting off to a Good Start!

Deborah Sharp Libby
During the first eight years of life, children learn at a remarkable rate. It is a time when critical cognitive, social/emotional and motor skills develop laying the foundation for future learning success in school.

Making sure that your child receives a meaningful early childhood education is important. A solid early childhood program prepares children for school and it familiarizes your child with the school setting, rules and daily routines. It immerses children in a social setting where they have many opportunities to play and interact with peers and learn about sharing, taking turns, controlling feelings, following directions and listening. It is an inviting child centered environment that is filled with developmentally appropriate materials like children’s books, blocks, crayons, paints and toys. It is a developmentally appropriate learning environment where the curriculum addresses important milestones children should be working towards and mastering. Literacy skills, language acquisition, knowledge of colors, shapes, numbers, letters and much more is focused on throughout the school year providing children with an important skill set that prepares them to succeed.

Identifying a strong early childhood program for your child is essential. Quality early childhood programs can be found in childcare, day care, pre-school, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten settings and include the following components:

- Small class sizes with strong teacher to student ratios
- Highly qualified trained teaching staff possessing all educational clearances
- Developmentally appropriate curriculum that includes:
   • Play-based, hands on, concrete learning experiences
   • A focus on important early childhood concepts such as sharing,
     taking turns, colors, shapes, numbers, letters, developing large
     motors skills as well as fine motor skills and much more.
- Developmentally appropriate toys and materials such as books, blocks,    paints, crayons and markers etcetera
- Strong communication, connections and involvement with parents

Ultimately, a strong early childhood program is an inviting organized place where children are happy, engaged and busy. It employs teachers who are well-trained professionals and welcomes parent involvement.
Meet our Expert Advisory Panel
Deborah Sharp Libby
Early Childhood Language and Reading Expert
Lise Eliot
Early Childhood Mental Development Expert
Helen Boehm
Psychologist, Author, and Parenting Resource Expert
Carla C. Johnson
Science and STEM Expert
Susan Bartell
Child Psychology Expert
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