Have you ever brought your child to TRCCS Preschool, StrongStart, TR Public Library, Alphabets Crawl, or any other children’s program where an Educator is responsible in aiding in your child’s learning and development? Did you ever think to yourself, “That looks so fun and easy. All they do is play!” Well, let me tell you on the importance of Early Childhood Educators.
What looks like fun and play is really development at work. Play is a child’s work, truly. “Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn,” says O. Fred Donaldson. Whether it be pretending to cook, building a tower, or drawing a picture; a child is mastering skills through this play, and at a rapid rate.
Did you know that the majority of brain development and growth happens in the first 6 years of a child’s life? According to research cited at Unicef.org, “The brain reaches half its mature weight by about six months and 90 percent of its final weight by age eight.” Furthermore Unicef.org states, “Although cell formation is virtually complete before birth- a newborn baby has about a 100 billion brain cells—brain maturation and important neural pathways and connections are progressively developed after birth in early childhood. Therefore, early childhood is a period in development where environment actually has an important impact on determining how the brain and central nervous system grows and develops.”
The Government of BC site had this to say about early learning and ECEs, The ministry recognizes that young children’s early experiences and environment lay the foundation of future health, success and well-being. The early years, a period of rapid growth and development from conception until age six, are critical for a child’s physical, social/emotional and cognitive development. To support parents and caregivers of young children, Early Childhood Development (ECD) provides a range of programs and services designed to ensure children get the best possible start in life.”
It is during this crucial period of brain development that Early Childhood Educators are involved. ECEs are qualified to facilitate learning and foster development in children in a variety of age appropriate methods and activities. This is no simple task as development in children 0–6 is a broad spectrum. Flexibility and close attention to each child’s needs and abilities is key to the job. Educators are responsible for stimulating development for children in large and fine motor skills, social skills, emotional growth, autonomy, cognitive skills, language skills, confidence building, and more.
As you can see, fun and play are part of an Early Childhood Educator’s job, but there is a lot happening behind the scenes. And yes, I happen to be an Educator for StrongStart at Tumbler Ridge Elementary. I enjoy my job very much and the families who I am fortunate to be involved with. Thank you for bringing your children to early learning programs in Tumbler Ridge. Together we can give your children the best foundation to success in life.