According to Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” (Meah, 2018). Indeed, education is required in every child’s life. An educated child is more likely to become a successful adult. Through the use of early childhood education, a child learns how to become mentally, socially and academically prepared for the future. Therefore, early childhood education equips a child for adulthood by developing social and academic skills, which positively affect the economic state of the community in which that child resides.
Early childhood education is defined as the teaching of children from birth up to the age of eight. During this period, a child develops social skills with its first interaction with other individuals occurring through parenting. Furthermore, parents play a critical role in shaping a child’s social being by the manner in which they bond and interact with the child.
While establishing a bond with its parents, a child’s sense of self is developed. This occurs during the first two years of life. Development occurs quickly and parents can expect their child to: smile, cultivate an attachment to an object, imitate adults and other children and develop stranger anxiety. To assist in social development, parents should engage their children by talking to them, playing games such as peekaboo, and by involving their children in routine activities, namely errands and interacting with friends. Considering this, children learn and mimic the actions of those who care for them, forming their values and skills simultaneously.
Teachers, like parents, also contribute to a child’s social development. At school, children learn in a structured and formal environment. Professionally trained teachers work to prepare and positively impact these children for the future. In fact, they incorporate educational and interactive programs and games such as ‘Simon Says’, matching, singing and pretend play to assist in honing social skills. Although these actions seem mediocre, they prepare a child for a lifetime of holistic interactions in all areas of its life. Above all, teachers must ensure that the relationships that they foster are positive as they will influence the value systems of the child and its future relationships.
According to Amanda Morin, a freelance education and parenting writer, there are seven essential social skills that preschoolers must cultivate to become mature individuals. They are: “conversation, cooperation, conflict resolution, communication, confidence, self-control and curiosity” (Morin, 2013). Hence, these skills are needed to cultivate the child’s perception of the social realm to coexist in a culturally diverse world.
Along with social skills, academic readiness skills such as math, reading and writing are also important to a child’s scholastic and whole-life performance. These skills prepare a child for academic advancement as it progresses through each level of the educational system. Presumably, once the child applies itself, the probabilities of grade repetitions are also decreased.
As they are transferable and required by employers, academic skills also prepare a child for the workplace. By developing and perfecting these skills throughout adulthood, the child becomes more marketable and employable. Expectedly, the child would perform better during an interview; thus, positively impacting the economy through the use of these skills. Similarly, these skills are necessary to create meaningful relationships, obtain and be successful at a job and adapt to the ever-changing world.
Studies and statistics have shown that early childhood education not only affects a child socially and academically but also the economic state of its community. As a result of education, a child, advancing into a skilled, working adult, would boost the economy through taxes. Additionally, the economy would further benefit as fewer persons would require the support of welfare; consequently, allowing the government to redistribute the funds allocated for that purpose. Also, an educated population would make better decisions; thus, directly aiding the economy within the community.
Naturally, a sound family structure is established as the child grows up with a strong sense of self and grasps and effectively demonstrates the social and academic skills learnt, during early childhood education. The child instills these skills into the lives of its family as it progresses through life and the cycle would continue: positively benefiting the immediate family, the community and the economy at large.
As mentioned, an early childhood education is invaluable to the social and academic development of a child as it prepares a child for adult life. Moreover, a child who receives a thorough early childhood education would use the skills gleaned to positively contribute to the economy. To reap its full benefit, parents, teachers and society must work together to ensure that each child is nurtured and exposed to the necessary elements of teaching. Evidently, failing to afford a child an early childhood education would be detrimental to the progress of the child, socially and academically, undesirably impacting the child’s surroundings and the economy.