It used to be straightforward for parents decades ago; children could attend kindergarten at the age of four and start primary education at five. It was like a ritual; shopping for school bags, uniforms were the norm. A few tears for parents and kids, now things have since changed, and choices for parents have widened. A child begins from childcare as early as a few months old, kindy is still there, but ELC and Montessori are always options to explore. Parents have a difficult time deciding which way to go and what is the best choice for their children. There are several options for early childhood development parents must choose for their kids, and each has its own merits and demerits.
It can be tempting for parents and educators to focus on the next stage of learning and hurry the child along the ladder without meeting the right expectations. It is not essential for a 3-4-year-old child to know how to read and write but to be safe, happy, and curious. Children at this age must learn how to interact with others through play and communication, which is a critical part of the educational foundation.
Set the right foundation
Children are free to attend ELC as early as two, but the model is to build the natural brain of a child through science. ELC mainly focuses on setting the right foundation in a social and emotional capacity. Some models of ELCs are structured while others loosely structured, but the bottom line is to make the child happy, curious, and playful.
The fundamental principle of ELC is that children learn through play. Research shows that children learn better with a positive relationship between themselves and their caregivers. The stressful environment is counterproductive to learning and child development, and it may lead a child to develop low self-esteem.
Difference between childcare and ELC
ELC focuses on the educational needs of a child as well as accommodating the working parents in the equation. Childcare centres focus on providing parenting needs like play and feeding programs so that parents have time to juggle between work and raising the kids. Childcare allows children in as early as 7 in the morning to enable the parents to arrive at their work station in time. Kindy is mainly for children aged between 4 and 5 years before transitioning to primary education.
ELC, Kindy and Montessori is a journey to primary education
Letting your child attend an ELC linked to a primary school makes the transition easy and seamless. Children get accustomed to similar play equipment and play spaces when they move a step ahead in the education ladder. It is a gradual process getting exposed to teachers in the upper classes helps in building an early relationship with teachers encouraging openness and free interaction.
Tips to keep in mind when choosing an ELC, Kindy, or Montessori
- The first point is to look for a school with a learning environment similar to home. The learners will be learning equally while in school and at home. Your child will develop fast if the two domains work together.
- Find a centre where relationships are of value. Children grow and learn in an environment where people surrounding them genuinely care and support them.
- Early learning is the foundation, a school cluttered with a lot of desks and learning materials is not a good indicator of the right learning environment for kids.
Find out more when you visit www.thegroveearlylearning.com.au.