Getting a Leg Up on Education Is All About Engagement
Learning Tools Early childhood education sets the path for your child’s learning trajectory. We convened experts to give advice on how to make sure your child’s trajectory is one moving towards success.
Why is early education important?
Jamie Gaddy: Exposing young children to educational opportunities at an early age plays a critical role in their overall lifetime development. While the timing for starting a child’s formal education will vary, children soak up everything in their first five years of life. When learning is fun and engaging, a lifetime love for learning takes root.
Doug Clements & Julie Sarama: The earliest years of a child’s education — from birth through 3rd grade — set the foundation upon which future learning is built. Early knowledge of math not only predicts later success in math, but also predicts later reading achievement, even better than early reading skills.
What is the best way parents and teachers can give their students a leg up on their education?
JG: In these formative first five years, children learn best through play and exposure to daily learning challenges. I have six children of my own and I’ve used conversation, mathematical experiences like cooking, role play, daily responsibilities and even technology, through apps and online learning, to create great learning opportunities for them.
DC & JS: Young children have a surprising capacity to learn substantial mathematics, but most children in the United States have a discouraging lack of opportunities to do so. Parents and teachers can use easily available resources to provide engaging and productive mathematical experiences every day.
What is the biggest challenge facing children’s educational development and how can we curb this problem at an earlier age?
JG: As a private school teacher and principal turned homeschooler, the two challenges that I see are that many parents are just not aware of the importance of early learning and that some struggle with knowing how to implement adequate daily learning challenges. Time4Learning’s early learning curriculum eliminates the guesswork for parents while teaching young learners math and language arts in an engaging environment.
DC & JS: The problem is not inside the child — it’s the lack of mathematical “charging stations” that children need to grow mathematically. That is, we should not ask how our children are doing in mathematics, but rather how is mathematics doing in our children.