Why Early Education Centres are Vital in Your Child’s Development
Your guide to early childhood education in Sydney and how you can give your children the best start in life.
It’s no secret that children have active minds. That’s clearly evidenced by the thousands of questions they ask all day, every day.
‘Are cows and horses friends? Will sultanas turn back into grapes in my tummy? What’s a yesterday? How long have you known about elbows? Why did Stuart Little’s parents adopt a mouse instead of a person?’
That last one we have no answer to. They had a Fifth Avenue townhouse, they could have easily adopted both a mouse and a kid. The premise of that film is one of life’s real mysteries. But, we digress.
As parents, the questions you ask yourself are a little less creative but no less complex, and most of these questions come back to one central point: ‘how can I do what’s best for my children?’
It’s a question that we tend to beat ourselves up over and it’s one that you never stop asking yourself. A lot of the time it’s a matter of listening to your gut and doing what you think is right but, when it comes to the question of childcare and why early learning centres are important to your child’s development, it can help to do some research.
So, we spoke to the expert team behind Prepare Early Education, who answered some important questions and helped explain to us why early education centres are vital to your child’s development.
If you’re not familiar with Prepare Early Education, they’re a team of qualified early childhood educators who have owned and operated 10 early education services since 2014. The team are thoroughly invested in providing the highest quality of education and care because they themselves are parents who are committed to looking after the children at Prepare the same way they look after their own.
Why are the first five years so crucial to your child’s development?
Our babies change from day to day, we wake up and they’ve grown, they look taller, they’ve got new teeth, learnt new things, revolutionised themselves overnight. The first five years are vital for children’s overall brain development and the foundations we lay during those formative years are truly vital. During these first five years of brain development, we’re cultivating the environment in which our children will develop, learn and grow.
This is when our children learn the difference between cats and dogs, right and wrong, what should and shouldn’t go in their mouth. It’s also when they learn how to reason, how to make friends, how to deal with their big feelings, how to sing their ABCs, how to navigate the world around them.
How do kids learn in early childhood education centres?
When you look at your toddler, sitting there adorably chewing on their own foot, you might not immediately think ‘education’. But there are ways they can learn and develop, speaking to Prepare they said, “in our centres we pride ourselves on developing the child holistically and we ensure that we cater for each child as an individual learner. There are many different areas to focus on ranging from cognitive development to social and emotional development through to physical wellness. We cater for a wide variety of ages and varying skill levels of each child.”
These early years of learning can set your child up for life, especially if you plan on putting down roots in the neighbourhood, “[setting] your child up for a lifelong learning journey. The opportunity to develop friendships and peer groups within the local community is also beneficial for the future schooling of the children and also for the social inclusion of families within a community.” Having those lifelong friendships with local children their age will follow your child through their life, allowing them to see familiar faces at the local playground, on their first day of kindergarten and as they grow into teenagers (at which point you might actually miss the sleepless newborn nights or the unchecked attitude of the dreaded threenagers).
“A child’s main way of learning is through play. We encourage children to be active learners and seek and analyse the information around them to help them make informed choices.” As we know our children are tiny sponges and they’ll often use play to make sense of the world around them, playing families, astronauts, Paw Patrol, modelling behaviour and exploring the world and their relationships.
Early learning centres take this natural instinct to play and nurture it with “opportunities to research on our smart boards, or excursions within our local communities always provides children with experiences of new discoveries and learning!”
What can you expect from the facilities at an early education centre?
Early education is about more than just the educators - although they are undoubtedly the most important part of nurturing a child’s development - every aspect of an early education centre is specifically designed to nurture a child’s development. Prepare, for example, is known for its amazing play spaces and outdoor learning gardens.
Why is Prepare the best choice for North Shore families?
For parents, the name of the game is doing right by our children. You know your little ones better than anyone else and ultimately you’ll be in the best position to decide what’s best for them. For our money, Prepare is one of Sydney’s best early education centres.
When asked what makes Prepare the best choice for North Shore families, they said “we foster the child’s individual learning styles and go above to ensure their journey is always a positive one and prepares the child for their best future. We instill a sense of community within our children and liaise with various community groups such as aged care facilities, disability services, local community groups and schools. We fundraise and support appropriate causes based on each individual centre’s dynamic and what is important to the children. By doing this, children are developing empathy and show a sense of compassion and respect towards others around them.”
And, if you’re nervous about letting go, the Prepare team, being parents themselves, do everything possible to help parents feel at ease. “Our orientation program gives the family multiple opportunities to explore … [allowing] the children and families an opportunity to get to know the centre and the team of highly qualified educators that will be educating and caring for their child… [and] we use a communication app to share our daily information and updates with our families.” Honestly, they’ll take just as many pictures of your children as you do!
Being a parent is a ceaseless job and even though sometimes - when you step on a Lego or cop a razor sharp baby fingernail to the eye - it can seem like a thankless, terrible trap, at the end of the day, you love it and you love your kids. Ultimately, in spite of the late nights, mountains of tiny laundry and tantrums, you know that parenting is the best thing you’ll ever do. Making the right choice for your children is always hard but luckily thanks to the dedicated teachers and educators that make up our early education industry, sometimes the choice is easy.
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