In a joint statement published in April 2016, UNICEF and the World Bank urged global and national leaders to improve investments in early childhood development (ECD) and nutritional programs. These international organizations believe that giving young children access to services that will improve their health, well-being, and learning ability will serve a key role in the equitable growth and economic development of their respective countries. As proof of this idea, one only needs to look at Singapore, which heavily invests in early childhood development and education programs and has reaped the benefits as a result. Singaporeans are cognizant that continuing this effort is a strategic step in maximizing the country’s economic potential in the coming years.
The benefits of investing in early childhood development, including education, do not stop at the national level. Parents who choose to invest in their young children’s development as early as 3-5 years old are taking steps to ensure the future success of their kids. Here are three reasons why enrolling young learners in the right childhood development and educational program matters in the long run.
1. The brain’s capacity for change decreases over time
According to Harvard University’s Center for Child Development, more than 1 million new neural connections are formed every second for the first year of life. The human brain continues to develop from basically birth to adulthood, but it is at its most plastic or most flexible state in the earliest stages. As a person grows older and their brain becomes more capable of more complex functions, its capacity to adapt to new or unexpected challenges can diminish.
By enrolling your child in a program that specializes in childcare in Singapore early on, you’re assured that your children will be exposed to a wide range of stimuli through their caregivers and teachers. The teachers will familiarize your children with different sounds at an early age, for example, and this can help them recognize sounds from languages other than their mother tongue later in life. Also, your child’s teacher can help you provide early and highly effective interventions in case your child needs assistance in reaching their milestones.
2. Brain development is, in part, powered by experience
Genes certainly play a part in your child’s development. On top of their innate capabilities, however, children also need to get consistent and appropriate responses from their environment in order to learn. Providing a responsive environment at home is certainly possible, but it can be difficult to pull off, especially if both parents have to work and they have no extended family members to watch over the child.
The good news is that parents can readily enroll their young children in infant and childcare programs that are designed to provide the particular developmental needs of children at this crucial stage in life. While they’re in a nursery, daycare, or kindergarten, you can expect your children to experience different activities and environments that will provide them with appropriate responses. This, in turn, will enable them to improve social-emotional competencies that will play an important role in ensuring their success as members of the community and the workforce.
3. Reading capability is a predictor of academic success
Children are not expected to master reading while they’re still in preschool, but at this time, they should be provided with the foundational skills needed to become competent readers as they enter elementary or primary school. According to a long-term study published in 2010, children who are not reading at level by the end of their 3rd grade in primary education are at risk of getting left behind by their peers. This is because by 4th grade, students will be expected to “read to learn,” and non-proficient readers may have a hard time keeping up with their lessons if they are still “learning to read” at this point.
It’s imperative for parents to ascertain that their children have the foundational skills they need so they can start learning how to read by the time they are in kindergarten. This can be done by having your child join childcare centers and classes where they can pick up basic language concepts in an environment that encourages play and exploration.
Investing in early years education
To Improve Your Child’s Chances of Reaching Their Full Potential
Singapore is keen on increasing the quality of education and care that the country provides young learners. This is why the country has improved its investments in early childhood care and development programs in the past years. By making use of these programs, parents can return to work without worrying about the level of care and assistance that their children have access to during their absence.
Just the same, parents play an important role in ensuring the success of these early childhood development programs from as young as three years old. By finding a childcare facility that matches your child’s needs and preferred learning environment, you can help them reach their full potential later in life, and you can do your part in enabling the country and future generations to reach new heights of progress as well.