EARLY CHILD EDUCATION
Historically in Pakistan, children at the Pre-Primary age have come to school with their older siblings to learn the Alphabet and numbers, Surahs, and duas from the Quran and a few poems and rhymes. In most cases, the methodology has been, and still is, rote learning. In many private sector schools across Pakistan, the focus is still on formal learning; reading, writing and general Knowledge.
The ministry of education (MOE), Government of Pakistan made a commitment in the education sector reforms action plan (200/-2004) to initiate and gradually formalise a pre-primary, Early childhood education class, in urban and rural government schools in Pakistan this commitment is a first Step towards meeting the needs of the so for neglected, “Katchi”/ NADAKHIL”
Age group, who other accompany their older siblings to School,.
(EC.ED IN PAKISTAN)
Government of Pakistan has recognized the significance of early years (officially scene the past 10 year) as follows.
Pakistan agreement with the Jomtian world consequence Education for all (Thailand, 1990) and the world Education forum, adoption of the darks frame works of action Senegal, 2000), along with 183 other Countries.
Preparation of national plan of action (2000-15) for EFA by the ministry of education mou signed in 2001 that aims to institutionalize and formalize katchi (Pre-Primary) class and further expand ECCE facilities for the katchi (Pre-Primary class, holistic development of children.
Education Sector Reform agency (ESRA-USAID) instituted early childhood Education (ECE) for importing primary access and retention, addressing the well- being of young children at homes and in schools.
( “DEFINATION OF EARLY CHILDHOOD”)
Early Childhood is universally deferred as the time period of human life from conception to age eight.
Early childhood education should be consistent with the developmental psychology to the ways in which children learn.
It should be includes pre-natal development and continues through the early primary schools years because of the continuity of experiences for children from appropriate concrete early learning activities to more abstract thinking tasks that are appropriate for older children. (Evans, Myers and Lifted; 2000).
“Early Child Education”
Early child education refers to the combination of physical, cognitive, social, emotional and morale development in the early years.
“(Significance of Early childhood Education)”
It is now widely acknowledged that the effects of what happens during the pre-natal period and during the earliest months and years of child’s life can last a lifetime. This is because the kind of early care a child receives from parents, pre school teachers and caregivers determines low a child learns and relates to school and life in general. It is during early care at a child develops all the key elements of emotional intelligence, namely confidence, curiosity, purposefulness self control, connectedness, the capacity to communicate and co-operativeness.
Emotional Intelligence is now considered crucial for educational successes, students who have higher levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to remain in education, whereas, those with emotional difficulties tend to drop out.
The early years are also critical for the acquisition of the concepts, skills and attitudes that lay the foundation for lifelong learning. These include the acquisition of language, perception motor skills required for learning to read and write and basic numeric concepts and skills intervening in the earliest years helps to reduce the social and economic disparities and race and gender inequalities that divide our society. It is specially the children of our under privileged rural and urban communities who are most likely to benefit from and who most urgently need investment in early childhood development. It is through initiatives such as this, that we can begin to put an end to inter-generational cycles of poverty, disease, violence and discrimination.
By the time children reach the age of two their brains contains as many synapses and use up as much energy as the brain of average adult. The complexity of this development is described by scientists as a magical “dance” which lies at the very heart of every human being and his or her learning process, beginning at birth, and even before. This relatively new understanding of brain development has critical implications for society, and particularly for educators and the way children are taught.
It is evident that it is within the crucial early years; when experiences is moulding the brain, that the foundations of learning are also set. A person’s ability to learn and his or her attitudes towards learning stem from their early year’s.
A stimulating and receptive context can set a young child on the path of discovery, openness to the outside world and the capacity to integrate information. The brain is never as elastic again as it is in childhood. In terms of receptivity and vulnerability. Adults are capable of assimilating new knowledge. But can numerical the Childs brain in its mastering of new spills and its discarder of learning. Early childhood experiences are the building blocks of this development and the child is architect of his or her own brain, piecing together the puzzle and reacting to the outside word.
“CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF (ECE)
As we know that children are both the present and the future of every nation, they have needs, rights, and intrinsic worth that must be recognized and supported.
Children must receive appropriate nature and education within and outside their families from birth onward. If they are to develop optimally. Attention to the healthy nutrition, education, and psychological development of children during their early years is essential for the future well being of nations and the global community knowledge about human development is more substantial now than it has ever been at any time in history.
Central to the values of curriculum, to which the government of Pakistan is signatory, is the convention on the rights of child (CRC). A care value of (CRC) is the human dignity of the child related to the basic value, the convention consists of the four following overall principles
· Non discrimination
· The child’s best interest.
· The child’s right to life and full development
· The child’s views given due weight.
“EFA) A National Commitment”
The Education for all declaration and subsequent reiteration at world Education conferences has brought ECE into the main policy discourse of more them 180, countries. As a signatory to the frame work, Pakistan has also made a commitment to support ECE programmes in the country.
“Principles underlying a Quality ECE, Programmes”
Children learn best when:
· The environment provided is secure and enabling, where teachers appreciate their previous experiences and take them forward from where they are
· A partnership between home and school is valued.
· Adults are interested in them and the interaction between them is positive.
· They are respected, a positive self image and high self esteem are fostered.
- They are motivated to be independent active learners through first hand experiences.
- They are given opportunities to make choices and decisions which develop their confidence, helping them to no takes responsibility for their own learning.
- Activities are planned to match their own pace, and are varied, with periods of activity and quite reflection.
- The experiences offered are relevant to their immediate interests and match their individuals needs.
- The programme is holistic with an established daily routine and is not compartmentalized.
“Holistic development through early learning”
All educators, implementers and policy makers have a huge responsibility to ensure that children who enter school at age four, are given a quality early childhood learning environment. It is important to have a fair level of understanding about the different domains of development, so that developmentally appropriate provision can be made in response to children’s collective and individuals needs.
Development is not a linear process. It is simultaneous and integrated. However for the purpose of explanation and understanding. The domains have been divided into the following major areas.
Involves the way children use their muscles, both large and small. The large muscles are used for activities such as walking, jumping, and lifting large objects. The small muscles are used for fine motor activities such as threading beads, writing, drawing, cleaning rice and working with small objects. They start feeling capable of helping elders and gain confidence in themselves.
“Social and Moral Development”
It refers to those processes where children develop relationships with their culture, with people around them and with the environment in general. A quality ECE environment provides opportunities for children to form positive relationships with other children and with elders, and to engage in conversations about social norms and ethical issues.
It refers to the development of a child’s capacity to experience manage and express a full range of positive and negative emotions. The development of self esteem is critical throughout the early years and having positive experiences in a quality environment is essential at this stage. Feeling important, activity taking responsibilities, being listened to and cased for, are the essentials for creating a positive self-concept in children.
It refers to the process by which children make sense of the words, symbols and information around them children are born with the ability to learn language but again, a quality learning environment is essential to help them develop optimally , learning to read and write the alphabets and make small sentences is first one competent of language development over emphasize on this component especially through rote memorization, without giving children a chance to process the information and relate it to their lines, criples not only their language development but also their cognitive capacities.
It refers to the development of mental processes and capabilities; It focus on how children learn and process information. It is the development of the thinking and organizing systems of the mind. It involves language, imagining, thinking exploring, reasoning, problem solving, developing and rejecting ideas and concepts, memory, expression through multiple media and experimenting and applying what they learn . A quality ECE environment provides learning opportunities where children are given the freedom to explore, think, imagine, question, and experiment as they develop the ability to create novel ideas and solutions.
“The aims of Education”
To Educate Pakistanis to be:
- Seekers of truth and knowledge who can apply both for the progress of society.
- Creative, constructive, communicative, and reflective individuals.
- Disciplined, productive, moderate and enlightened citizens.
- Capable of effectively participating in the highly competitive global, knowledge, based economy and the information age; citizens committed to creating a just civil society that respects diversity of views, beliefs and faiths.
(Ministry of Education, Govt, of Pakistan.)
Learning Environment for ECE:
Young children learn by interacting with their environment with other children, and with adults. Learning is an active and creative process in which children are working at making sense of the world around them. We need to give them the opportunity to engage in this process purpose fully and actively , by using all five senses and their imagination. A wide range of experiences and activities provide children with opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills, and attitudes in meaningful way.
An ECE environment is a whole formed by physical psychological and social elements. It includes the built facilities, psychological and social settings and also the materials and equipment. A rich and flexible environment is conducive to learning and attracts interest and curiosity in children and encourages them to experiment, act and express themselves. In School, the child spends most of his/her time in the class room. It is therefore extremely important for teachers to provide a simulating, pleasant environment for the children. A control place will be required, where the children can come together for greeting circle, Group work, planning / Review time and story.
“Creating learning carners”
Learning corners encourage children to learn in ways that are natural to them. They allow children to work independently, in small groups or one-one with the teachers learning corners need to be separate from each other.
- Language corner:-
This corner should be equipped with material related to increasing vocabulary and learning reading skills.
- Library Corners:
This corner should be set up to promote the reading habit and to learn how to care for and value books.
- Art Corner:-
This corner provides children with opportunities for creative expressions.
- Math Corner:-
Math corner include objects that will help children grasp basic math concepts of size, shape, width, classification and number, through direct experimentation.
- Science Corner:-
This corner should provide children with opportunities for observation and experimentation in order to understand the world around them.
- Home corner:-
The home corner should reflect the cultural basic ground of the children where various kitchen utensils, clothes, small furniture and dolls can be provided from a kitchen it can be later transformed into a shop, office or doctors clinic.
- The Daily Routine:
A sample daily routine and explanation is given below. It can be varied depending on the schools hours and needs. The daily routine should be displayed using symbol / pictures for each activity, that children, who are not yet reading can understand it
Dua / National Anthem 15 minutes
Greeting circle 15 minutes
Outside Time 40 minutes
Snack Time 30 minutes
Plan-work Clean up-review 30 minutes
Planning time 15 minutes
Work / Gosha time 15 minutes
Clean up time 10 minutes
Review time 20 minutes
Story and rhyme time 20 minutes
- Global Guide lines and papers from an international symposium on early childhood education and care in the 21st country, (1999) word organization for ECE and the Association for childhood Education International Ruschlikon, Switzerland,
- Mahmud, M. (2002) Strong Foundation-A Guide for ECE Trachers Teachers resource Centre.
- Department of Education, Education white paper 5 on Early childhood Education, Government Gazette, (2001, Republic of South Africa).