Early childhood educational development (ECED) is one of the most important and tremendous contribution of the psychologists and educationists of the 20th century, which exposed and got popularity in the twenty first century.
ECED is associated with pre-primary or nursery settings, focusing on the cognitive development and socialization of children (3-8 years). Early childhood is defined as a period from conception to eight years. The emphasis is placed upon the holistic development of the child. It provides opportunity for self-reliance, thinking, reasoning and boost up their self-esteem. ECED helps children’s to improve in communication skills, improved nutrition and hygiene.
Most of ECED planners and implementers believe in the ways of execution or how part of ECED. The points given below are based on many good practices of Professional Development Center North (PDCN) an affiliated organization of the Aga Khan University –Institute for Educational development (AKU-IED). It is viable through supportive policy environment.
Supportive Policy Environment
The supportive policy environment contributes in ECED execution and makes a difference for the holistic development of children. Governance and management focus on sensitization of the stakeholders, organizing conferences and seminars, caring competent teachers and parental involvement by ensuring the high scope approach of active learning.
- Sensitization Of The Stakeholders:Through workshops meetings and study tours/field trips of the stakeholders are given priority to embark on what, why and how aspects of ECED by sharing experiences, research findings and field experiences of the ideal ECED center teachers, students, parents and communities in their real context.
- Organizing Seminars And Conferences: Seminars and conferences will help the stakeholders to share their experiences in ECED centers. On yearly basis the governors and management of the ECED class/centers manage to held seminars and conferences to share experiences and their learning and develop futuristic plan accordingly.
- Financial Allocation To ECED: ECED is a demanding resource extensive component and the governors and managers need to mange the resources to ensure the essence, rather to use traditional approaches of resource allocation in hierarchal approaches as common in our traditional educational systems.
- Caring Competent Teachers: In ECED priority is given to the presence of caring and competent teachers and the factors consider much important are knowledge, skill and attitude. These categories help to contribute in holistic development of children for making them an independent informed responsible citizen.
- Parental Involvement;It is evident from the World Bank experiences and research reports that from early 1980s, community involvement made a tremendous improvement in developed and developing world in poverty reduction, institutional development in various disciplines such as education, health, rural development, micro-credit and enterprise development etc. Thus, ECED is an area, whereas parental involvement (in border sense community participation, community involvement) works as a key pillar.
- Awareness sessions: parents, SMCs, Mothers, parents, teachers, managers, Governors such as SMCs, VECs and BOGs etc).
- Mothers’ Day: on yearly basis mothers day is planned to give them opportunity to see their kids’ performances and to share strengths, weaknesses and suggestions for further improvement as based on their learning experiences.
- Parents’ Teachers Meeting: Parents’ Teachers Meeting is tailored as the need arises or planned during the beginning of the year while developing yearly plan for ECED).
Active learning The historical background of the high scope learning initiated by Dr. David P. Weikart (1931-2003) president and founder of high/scope approach PhD in education and psychology. ‘Mamacholasu’ is a terminology used in high scope learning. ‘Mamacholasu’ stands for:
ma = material
ma = manipulation
cho = choice
la = language
su = support
Key learning areas
Teachers in ECED class/centre distributes the class in different learning areas and provides opportunities to the kids to visit the learning areas of their choices. The kids get help from the enabling learning environment and feel enthusiasm to participate in different activities independently, whereas, the teachers play the role of guide/ facilitators and mentors. The key learning areas in an ECED class/center are math areas, science areas, language areas, construction areas, art and craft areas, music areas and home areas.
In each learning areas the ECED kids are supposed to learn the concepts related to that particular area by ensuring their active participation and the teachers tailors it by keeping in view the aims and objectives of ECED. An ideal ECED class/always focus on low cost and no-cost materials with the availability story books, rhymes, poems and the most important thing is their ‘lunch box’. A good ECED teacher always prepares daily routine for his/her class and ensures to practice it consistently. A sample of daily routine for ECED class is shared below to get more information and clarity.
A Sample of Daily Routine for ECED Class
08:00-08-10 Dua /National Anthem
08:10-8:30 Listening and speaking time
08:30-09:15 Group work time
09:15-9:30 Outside time
9:30-09:50 Snack time
9:50-10:00 Planning time
10:00-11:00 Gosha Time
11:00-11:10 Clean up Time
11:10-11:30 Review Time
11:30-12:00 Story and Rhyme Time
If our school systems, civil society institutions and communities give priority to ensure the quality of ECED class/centers in Northern areas (Gilgit-Baltistan), then, there is no doubt that one day our schools become center of excellence parallel to the famous institutions in the globe and our society will lead to peaceful developed nation. I am sure that the readers will get insights from this article and try to motivate the stakeholders to take initiatives for quality ECED centers.