The Early Childhood Education
Education is an asset for every person and probably the most important pert is when it starts, at early childhood. This decides the child’s attitude to education throughout life and its capacity to learn. Children start to learn early in life and though it may not be realized that even during the first few months of life the child begins experimenting with language. The attitudes towards literacy develop during this period and all important concepts of literacy expand during these years through the care of the adults and various forms of print that they chance to meet.
This important form of literacy is composed of several key components according to the experts on literacy and this first of these is phonetic awareness. This is an understanding that speech contains many units like spoken words, syllables and sounds. The children gradually become familiar with names of letters, their shapes and sounds. Over a period of time they also develop the capacity to take every spoken word apart in terms of sound and also combine sounds to form words. (Promoting Literacy Activities in Early Childhood Settings)
The children have to hear and say the parts of the word and then only they can learn to read it. They have to understand the importance of each sound in a word, as this is the only way they will learn to say the word properly and not develop too much of an accent or slang which will hurt the ability of individuals to understand it. For this purpose the children have to be provided with practice in matching sounds and letters. Even after they learn to say the words, they have to practice reading those words many times as it is only practice that makes a person perfect.
It is easy for children to understand that there are many words in material that is read for they will also have to learn it. (Beginning to Read – Preschool through Grade 2) The most important matter in all this is patience as no one is perfect when starting out and it is likely that the child will make mistakes, and it is certainly not a deliberate failure or an attempt to irritate the teacher. The most important part is patience. The next part is the understanding of alphabetic principles, and this consists of linking the letters of the alphabet with the corresponding sounds that they should produce.
The importance of this can be understood from the importance that is assigned to knowledge of the alphabet at school entry and this has also been found to be one of the best indicators of the capability of reading achievement for children. (Promoting Literacy Activities in Early Childhood Settings) For all this, it is important that the children are able to communicate easily with all toddlers, and an important part in this is to simplify the talk with them and not use “baby talk”.
The children have to understand the teacher but still realize that sounds are attached to alphabets which cannot be changed. The talk has to be simple enough for them to understand and it is better to say “Let’s get coats on” instead of saying “We are going to take a walk around the block, so you must put your coat on”. (Early Literacy and Beginning to Read) This may seem like a command, but when the child would rather not do it, then the child will protest, and then further talk can tell the child the purpose.
Sometimes, it can be even indicated by action as the children are equally capable of communication through action. The first method of crying is only to draw the attention of the mother. At the same time, it is important to use the children’s names for reacting with them so that the entire conversation is personalized and also make the child aware of its personal identity. This often leads to a use of its own name for referring to itself instead of saying “I”. This is a misuse that will get corrected in time when the child learns the difference between nouns and pronouns.
What is required is patience. There are a number of methods for encouraging the development of languages like reading stories, singing songs, listening to recorded songs and music, and giving them opportunities to react with other children and adults. (Promoting Literacy Activities in Early Childhood Settings) It is better to leave children in a creche where they can react with other children than leaving them alone in a house. There are differences between children; some talk more than others and this is a natural difference and should not get the teacher worried.
Trips are important and during them things should be explained to children, but explain only what needs explanation. Children are not idiots as human intelligence develops 90 percent of the full adult limit for the individual by the age of four. When unnecessary information is passed on to children they also protest, and often they are not aware of manners that are required in society. One should not get upset, but carry on normally. Talk with all past tenses and future tenses, but remember that for children up to a certain age, past tense is what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow is future.
For full understanding and gradation of past and future, they take time. Those are not the end of the initial education that is required by a child. Another aspect is of print awareness through which the child understands that print carries the meaning of the story and the process is through printed words which correspond to spoken words. In English the print moves from left to right and from top to bottom on a page, and it should be the job of education to teach the children about print, expose them to print and link up print to the sounds.
Another key component is the development of writing and this also starts off early in a child’s life. In many cases, even before the child is formally introduced to writing, they engage themselves in scribbling, producing different forms which can be said to be like letters and use their own spelling to express letters. These are certainly useful as they help the children to understand the relationship between words and sound. There are also oral language skills which are the child’s vocabulary and understanding of the uses and conventions of spoken language.
The general finding among experts is that children, who have larger vocabularies in early life, generally end up with greater linguistic abilities. (Promoting Literacy Activities in Early Childhood Settings) The biggest question in the entire process of education of children is that they our partners and their help are certainly required. It is a great pleasure to teach children as they are directly the sons and daughters of God and we remain in a purer environment when dealing with them.
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