Recognizing the Contributions of Early Childhood Educators During the Week of the Young Child
by Director of Curriculum, Jessica Allison
As we celebrate the Week of the Young Child’s 50th anniversary, it is a great time to share with the world why early childhood education (ECE) is so important. As early childhood education providers, we see the impact we make on the young minds we educate every day, and Week of the Young Child allows us to celebrate that. As the ECE field continues to grow, it is becoming more apparent that what we do each day has lasting effects on the children we work with.
The Importance of a Strong Start
Peisner-Feinbr recently completed a study that shows that children introduced to an educational setting before starting grade school transitioned more easily into the school setting. The skills that children learn in early childhood centers “promote key school readiness skills known to predict later reading and academic success.” (Peisner-Feinbr: Kindergarten Impacts of the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program: A Statewide Evaluation). Early childhood education lays the foundational blocks for success in school later on. Through play and learning, we can introduce children to concepts they will need to be successful throughout their lives. The Week of the Young Child allows us a chance to reflect on the importance of the work that early childhood educators do and share it with others.
Kindergarten Readiness and Beyond
Simple things we do as early childhood educators help prepare children for school and beyond. From an outsider looking in, it may come across as play, which is why Week of the Young Child is an excellent opportunity to educate people about the importance of early childhood education. The Peisner-Feinbr study found that children who attended a Pre-K Count program showed “significantly higher levels of language and math skills in Kindergarten” (Peisner-Feinbr: Kindergarten Impacts of the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program: A Statewide Evaluation). We see this each day in our classrooms, where children constantly practice their math skills through activities like counting the number of plates needed to set the lunch table or identifying how many blocks are needed to build a tower. We encourage children to talk, voice their wants and needs and teach them new vocabulary. The everyday activities in early childhood begin to build on the skill sets children will need when they are in school.
Some people may still look at early childhood education centers as just “daycare,” but those in the field know the skills we are teaching have a significant impact on preparing children for Kindergarten and beyond. Every day, we get to see the “ah-ha” moments when a child learns to do something for the first time or after trying so many times to complete a task, they finally get it. The Week of the Young Child is a chance to step back and remember all of the amazing things early childhood educators do each day.