What Is The Importance Of Early Childhood Education

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Children learn every second of their lives. From using a fork and building sandcastles to reading and socialising, proper guidance in the form of quality early childhood education can make a big difference.

    Results that children and adults achieve in school and beyond don't just depend on their natural talents. Early childhood education is an important factor.

    Besides acquiring basic skills, preschoolers need to learn how to socialise, share, and form relationships. By learning this early, kids will have a much easier time interacting with their peers and teachers while acquiring a strong foundation for a fulfilling trip to adulthood.

    Did you know children behind in kindergarten are more likely to fall behind for their entire educational experiences? But, again, the experts' message is clear — children who attend pre-school are more prepared for kindergarten than those who don't.

    Many people have reservations about the importance of pre-kindergarten education. This was manifest in 2006 when the California legislature unsuccessfully attempted to pass a law to make pre-school education mandatory for all children. Many Californians did not agree with the importance of using taxpayer funds to fund mandatory pre-school programs, including parents desiring to educate their children themselves.

    Research has shown that children enrolled in Head Start programs benefit by receiving formal education before kindergarten. According to some studies, children enrolled in these programs are more well-behaved and have higher IQ scores upon enrolling in kindergarten than their peers without formal education. Likewise, it was shown that children enrolled in Head Start programs learned quicker than children not enrolled in these programs.

    The importance of early childhood education cannot be overstated. Why is early childhood education so important for our little ones? A large part of critical brain development in children happens before they even start kindergarten. It impacts everything from school performance to lifelong social skills.

    Parents who are on the fence about enrolling their little ones in a pre-school program shouldn't hesitate. Early childhood development programs are an investment in your child's future, not a cost. There are many high-quality and affordable childcare options out there that could be an excellent fit for your family.

    Conversations about the importance of early childhood education (ECE) have been circulating for quite some time. But more and more studies are coming to light that reveals potential learning disparities between students who reaped the benefits of early childhood education and those who didn't. As a result, the topic has become more prevalent than ever.

    Educators, politicians and parents have become active participants in these discussions as our nation searches for the best educational opportunities for our smallest citizens.

    Contemporary research has shown that the investment in early education—particularly among disadvantaged children—improves cognitive abilities and critical behavioural traits like sociability, motivation, and self-esteem.1

    But while advocates have long promoted the importance of ECE, that doesn't mean there are no longer sceptics who doubt its true impact. As with any complex subject, definitive answers are hard to find, and there's plenty of opportunity for confusion with seemingly conflicting research results.


    But as someone who cares strongly about educating young children, you're here to advocate—and we're here to help you make that case. We've done this by compiling information from several studies and reputable resources about the profound impact of ECE on young learners.

    Early childhood education is a term that refers to the period from a child's birth to when they enter kindergarten, according to Dr. Jessica Alvarado, academic program director for the BA in Early Childhood Development at National University.

    According to Alvarado, it is an important time in children's lives because they first learn how to interact with others, including peers, teachers, and parents, and begin to develop interests that will stay with them throughout their lives.

    But Alvarado says it's a common misperception that early childhood education is only about learning basic skills. "It's so much more than that," she says.

    "It's a time when children learn critical social and emotional skills, and a partnership is formed between the child, their parents and the teacher. Then, when this is done successfully, it lays the groundwork for it to continue throughout the child's education."

    Nations around the world are becoming aware of the importance of early childhood education as well. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is an international governing body whose mission is "to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development, and intercultural dialogue through education." 

    What is early childhood education?

    While early childhood education is important to parents, policymakers, and the public, many incorrectly identify this critical period as birth through pre-school or kindergarten.

    Although the brain develops most of its neurons between birth and three years old, early childhood education is defined as the period of birth through 8 years old, correlating with the second- or third-grade level.

    Why Are The Early Years So Important To Children's Later Development?

    Neurological research shows that the early years play a key role in children's brain development.

    Babies begin to learn about the world around them from a very early age, including during prenatal, perinatal (immediately before and after birth), and postnatal. 

    Children's early experiences – the bonds they form with their parents and their first learning experiences – deeply affect their future physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. 

    Optimising the early years of children's lives is the best investment we can make as a society in ensuring their future success.

    The importance of a child's early years of life is often taken for granted, yet these youngest years have consistently been shown to be the cornerstone phase of development for all human beings. Our development as young children is an essential part of the process of becoming adults.

    Most often, how a child physically progresses follows a common sequence: the child is born, crawls, walks, talks, etc.

    Yet as older children and then as adults, paths and personalities begin to look very different from one another. We can all agree that the complexities of human development are remarkable, going far beyond what most of us can imagine.

    Here at Phillips Brooks School, we are rooted in the belief that each child charts a unique course that is predominantly based on the experiences met between birth and adolescence.

    The emotional, social, and physical development of young children certainly directly affects the adults they will ultimately become. This is why understanding the importance of early education is so important.

    In terms of human development, the importance of early childhood education can't be overstated.

    A child's early years are the foundation for their future development, providing a strong base for lifelong learning and learning abilities, including cognitive and social development. Well-established research emphasises the importance of early childhood education as an essential building block of a child's future success.

    Critics of pre-kindergarten education claim the differences between children enrolled in pre-school programs and children not receiving formal education are only discernible during kindergarten, first, and second grade. During subsequent years, children who've not received formal education prior to kindergarten tests are at the same level and behave like their peers with pre-kindergarten formal education.

    Therefore, Head Start children may be at an advantage for a couple of years, but their classmates perform at similar levels after that. Another major problem with Head Start programs is that children qualifying for these programs usually come from families living below the poverty line, so these programs are not readily available for children from all backgrounds.

    However, children can receive formal education in other ways other than Head Start programs, including daycare and parents teaching their young children. Even though children in daycare programs can develop intellectually, children benefit most when parents stay with their children and educate them.

    Most childhood education specialists claim that young children learn best when they're not pushed too hard, they have an opportunity to interact with their peers, and their parents and instructors treat them kindly.

    Likewise, children learn best when instruction and educational activities are only a small portion of their days. This is especially true of children enrolled in pre-school programs since it's not good for young children to be separated from their parents for extended periods. Children usually do not benefit from programs with inexperienced teachers and large classroom sizes.

    Children taught at an early age usually benefit in the following ways: improved social skills, less or no need for special education instruction during subsequent school years, better grades, and enhanced attention spans.

    Likewise, some researchers have concluded that young children enrolled in pre-school programs usually graduate from high school, attend college, have fewer behavioural problems, and do not become involved with crime in their adolescent and young adult years.

    Socialisation: A Key Component to Early Childhood Education

    Children who take part in early childhood education programs have improved social skills. For example, children learn crucial skills like listening, sharing, and taking turns with others in a pre-school setting.

    In school, pre-school teachers will use songs, games, stories, and more to teach children how to interact. Play is a critical component of learning the social skills necessary to take children through life.

    Here are some specific social skills that your child will learn in an early childhood education program.

    Children will learn to express their emotions, like happiness, sadness, and anger. They will also work on how to cope with their feelings.

    In a group setting, children can work on their listening skills. With numerous children and only a few teachers, they will naturally learn to take turns with others. Circle time is also an excellent structured time for listening and taking turns.

    When children attend early childhood education programs, they learn to cooperate with other kids their age. They learn to share and take turns speaking. It is especially important for children who don't have siblings at home.

    Better Academic Performance

    Data shows that children who participate in early childhood education perform better when they get to K-12 school.

    Children who had access to pre-school before starting kindergarten perform better on math and reading. There is a direct correlation between underperformance in school and children who stayed home with their parents.

    A Harvard study revealed that early childhood education leads to a lower chance of special education placement. However, it also increases the likelihood of graduating from high school.

    Other studies have yielded similar results regarding academic performance and graduation rates. Another study showed that graduation rates were 80 percent for children who attended pre-school. Graduation rates were only 60 per cent for those children who didn't have the opportunity to go to pre-school.

    Love of Lifelong Learning

    One of the significant benefits of early childhood education is that it builds a love of learning that lasts well past the pre-school years.

    In pre-school, children's lessons are presented as fun games and activities. They get to discover all these new things about the world they're living in. There is also exciting music, art, and toys they don't have access to at home.

    These early exposures inspire children to want to know more. They develop a passion for knowledge that will last them a lifetime.

    Improved Self-Esteem and Confidence

    When children attend pre-school programs, they experience tons of positive reinforcement. They also have positive interactions with their teachers and their classmates.

    These early interactions build up children's self-esteem at an early age. This confidence will carry them throughout life.

    Our programs work with each family to build your child's self-esteem in a positive and loving environment.

    Better Attention Span

    What is an attention span? An attention span is the ability of a child to pay attention to the task at hand. That often involves blocking things out, like noise or visual stimulus.

    Once children start school, one of the most important things they need is to develop a concentration span; if your child has trouble focusing, they will struggle to keep up and miss out on important information.

    Attention spans are a challenging issue for many parents, especially while living in the digital age. As a result, children need the help of their parents and their teachers to help them work on concentrating.

    Early childhood education programs work on attention spans as part of their learning process. For example, in pre-school, children start understanding when to work and when it's time to play.

    Some parents think that if their children can concentrate while watching TV for a long time, they're not having issues focusing. Unfortunately, this misconception is common among parents.


    The truth is that screen time can shorten attention spans. However, watching TV doesn't require concentration. Children are not engaged in television programs; it's a passive activity.

    Children at home are typically exposed to lengthier amounts of screen time than kids enrolled in pre-school. And who can blame busy parents for giving themselves a much deserved-break by letting their child watch a little TV? Especially parents who are trying to work from home and protect their children during a pandemic.

    One of the marvellous things about early childhood education is it's a designated time for learning when your child is not on screens.

    Exposure to Diversity

    It just makes sense that children attend early childhood education programs. So they are exposed to more diversity in their lives. Also, in school, children are going to have the chance to interact with peers who are different from they are. So whether it's diversity in race, class, socioeconomic status, or religion, it's beneficial to the child.

    The value of experiencing diversity cannot be understated and will play a crucial role in the world's future.

    Early Childhood Education Boosts Creativity

    One of the best things about early childhood education programs is giving kids lots of opportunities to get creative and messy. But, let's be realistic; most parents are less than thrilled to get out the messy paints and other arrays of art supplies.

    Art projects are a vital component of early childhood education programs. For example, children can learn about the fall and paint leaves or make the classic hand turkeys while learning about Thanksgiving. Kids love to paint, make arts and crafts, and get messy.

    Another significant part of pre-school programs is exposure to music. Kids get to sing, play instruments, and learn about sound at an early age. Music is just as important as things like reading and writing.

    Making music, clapping, dancing, and other fun activities can help develop children's fine motor skills. For example, singing songs can build brain and body coordination. The skills that children learn while participating in music contribute to the child's overall brain development.

    Early exposure to the arts in early childhood education is beneficial as social skills and STEM programs for curious little ones.

    Invest in Your Child's Future Today

    The evidence proving the importance of early childhood education is overwhelming. Children who take part in early childhood education programs have improved social skills and do better in school. They also learn essential life skills that stay with them forever.

    Most importantly, pre-school is a place where children have fun in a safe and loving environment. Our teachers and programs are proven to help kids thrive. Kids love attending our schools.

    Here are some tips for what to consider when choosing the right centre for your child.
    1. Determine the type of childcare service you are looking for. ...
    2. Type of Education and Philosophy. ...
    3. Location of the childcare centre. ...
    4. Availability & Waiting List. ...
    5. Childcare Costs. ...
    6. Flexibility. ...
    7. Licencing and Registration.

    When choosing a childcare centre, you as the parent have the right to expect it will provide a safe, supportive place for your child's self-identity and awareness to grow. It's important that educators in your choice of centre value each child's individual interests and opinions and treat them with respect and love.

    A high-quality childcare center has a friendly and warm environment conducive to learning. Be sure to pick a daycare with clean and sanitary buildings and classrooms. Check their toys and learning materials to make sure they are safe and child-friendly.

    Scroll to Top