“No printed word, nor spoken please
Can teach young minds what they should be.
Not all the books on all the shelves –
But what the teachers are themselves.”
This poetic Rudyard Kipling quote about the importance of those crucial early years in a person’s life perfectly describes the huge importance of the role model educator.
Asset Training’s Early Years qualification is all about becoming the best mentor and teacher you can be. It’s designed to develop people’s skills and behaviours in a pre-school classroom in order to support a child’s early development either on a one-to-one basis or in groups. The very essence of this qualification and any subsequent role is the word ‘nurture’, which means ‘help develop’. These are crucial years, where developing an understanding of the world and people around them will help set them up for life. The following quotes from the websites of two global organisations illustrate just how important the right start in life is.
The crucial years
UNESCO, the specialised agency of the United Nations, concerns itself, amongst other issues, with the right to education and it beginning at birth. In one of its articles, it states: “The period from birth to eight years old is one of remarkable brain development for children and represents a crucial window of opportunity for education. When children are healthy, safe and learning well in their early years, they are better able to reach their full developmental potential as adults and participate effectively in economic, social, and civic life.”
Similarly, UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, which works to build a better world for every child says on their website: “Children’s brains are built, moment by moment, as they interact with their environments. In the first few years of life, more than one million neural connections are formed each second – a pace never repeated again. The quality of a child’s early experiences makes a critical difference as their brains develop, providing either strong or weak foundations for learning, health and behaviour throughout life.”
Research shows that early childhood education can have a positive impact on children’s educational, cognitive, behavioural and social outcomes, in the short and long term. It can also play a positive role in raising attainment and closing the gap between outcomes for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and other children.
Building the right foundations
In the UK there’s the Early Years Foundation Stage which is updated every two years which sets the standards that early year providers must meet to ensure that children from birth to five-years-old learn, develop well and are healthy and safe. There are seven areas of focus which cover prime areas of learning, crucial for kindling children’s curiosity: personal social and emotional development, physical development, communication and language development; and specific areas which educators are obligated to provide: literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design.
The goal of Asset Training’s course is for our learners to be able to be able to meet all the above and provide high quality early years education and learning though the curriculum and to equip them with the right skills, attitudes and approaches in being highly successful. Our teaching and learning safeguarding, codes of practice and legislation, early years pedagogical principles, child development theory, observation assessment and planning, partnership working, phonics, indoor and outdoor play, unacceptable behaviour strategies, abuse recognition and care routines and more besides. It’s very comprehensive.
It needs to be. Teaching is a tough job and with it comes huge responsibility but even greater rewards. Every job has its ups and downs but not every job can influence or change a life from the start and for eternity.