Importance of Early Childhood EducationThe Early Years are distinctive in several ways. The rapid rate of development which occurs in the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual domains is particularly significant. Although the progression usually occurs in recognisable and predictable directions, it is unique in each child, occurring at varying rates from child to child, and inconsistently for each child. For many children, these years also mark the first transition from home to group experience outside of the family and to a new physical environment. BIS strives to make this adjustment as successful as possible by encouraging the development of secure and trusting relationships with new adults and peers.
The experiences that contribute to children’s development and learning are defined by social and cultural contexts – the family and the home, school environment, the children and adults within it, and the surrounding community. The young child engages with the world in a direct and interactive manner and BIS encourages an active learning approach through which children construct meaning from experience about the social and physical world that surrounds them. BIS, within the Primary Years Programme, recognises that areas of development and learning are interrelated in the young child, and its curricular framework allows for concept development that applies across the curriculum.
The flexibility of the programme allows teachers to support children’s interests, build up their self-esteem and confidence, and respond to spontaneous events, as well as support the development of skills in all areas in ways that are significant and relevant. Children, from birth, are full of curiosity and are constructing theories of how the world around them works. The programme at BIS acknowledges that young children are constructing their own meaning and provides a framework that gives crucial support for them to be active learners and inquirers, providing a sound beginning to the continuum of learning that goes on throughout their school years.
Young children need extended periods of time and as much space as possible to explore, investigate and play, with a variety of materials, in order to learn about themselves, other people and the world around them. Our school environment provides a range of clearly defined areas to encourage the exploration, investigation and play, both in and out doors. There are areas for reading, writing, construction, imaginative play and science and technology, with a wide variety of resources in each. Children’s interactions in and with these spaces stimulates them to become active learners, by providing ongoing opportunities for them to:
- make choices and decisions
- use materials in flexible and imaginative ways
- initiate inquiry and ask questions
- sustain their interests and extend their knowledge
- develop understanding.
The relationships which young children establish with other children and adults are of central importance to development and learning. The range of development and learning demonstrated by each member of a group of young children will inform what practices the teacher will need to implement to meet the needs of both the group and the individual. BIS provides a secure learning environment in which the individual is valued and respected. The child is best served when the relationships between the teacher and the parent, and between the school and the home, are reciprocal and supportive.
- Based on information from The International Baccalaureate Organisation and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.