Early Childhood Programme Philosophy: Why it is important when choosing a childcare in Singapore
How a child will grow up and fare in their life in the future will be greatly influenced by their early years in development. That is why building a strong foundation for your child’s holistic development begins as soon as conception and should be given full attention during the most crucial years of their growth, which is from infancy up to their 7th year. For parents, feeling anxious about how to give your child the best chance of achieving success in life is a normal occurrence. A great way to ease that anxiety is to plan ahead. Researching about parenting styles is one thing you can do, as well as learning about the different early childhood program philosophies. It may be unknown to some, but centres that provide childcare in Singapore base their programme for children around a “philosophy” or a belief system for learning.
Before we dive in deeper about early childhood philosophy, let us first know how a child’s development goes from the moment they are born and going into the “critical years.”
According to one of the many resources provided by the Center on the Developing Child of Harvard University on early childhood, a child’s experiences during their first few years or even during the time that they are in their mother’s womb have a connection to their future capacity to learn and behave, as well as their physical and mental health. The people and environment to which the child is exposed during these years can make or break them. This goes to say that many factors surround a child’s successful development. Parents, caregivers, practitioners, and policymakers play an important role in ensuring that a child receives full support in these early years.
Child development begins with the brain. The brain starts to expand, not when the child is born, but prior to birth and this process goes on up to the adult years. During the first five years of life, the brain develops sensory pathways that enable vision, hearing, language skills, and higher cognitive functions. The way parents and caregivers interact with a child for the duration of this period heavily influences the developing brain. As such, parents and caregivers must be careful with how they respond to young children whenever there is interaction because a response that is unsuitable or the lack of it can alter the architecture of a brain’s formation that could end in inconsistencies with the manner it learns and behaves. In addition, a child should be brought up in an environment that is conducive for learning and is, at most, free from stress. Toxic stress can impede a child’s brain from developing healthily.
The role of an early childhood programme philosophy is valuable for the period of a child’s brain development. A programme philosophy serves as a guide for teachers and carers of children about a specific belief and approach to learning and, likewise, their statement on what their organization values and prioritises. A philosophy should also be able to adapt and keep up with the advancements and trends in learning.
Childcare centres in Singapore each have their own approach to learning which is derived from different philosophies. It is important that parents refer to a centre’s early childhood philosophy in order to know whether the type of care that is given to their child is in sync with the beliefs and values that they practice at home.
Here are some areas parents can look into when assessing whether a childcare centre’s early childhood philosophy is fit for their child or not.
1. Know what your beliefs are regarding child care.
As a parent, what comes top of mind when it comes to providing your child with the best care and support for development? Would you like your child to learn through activities that focus more in academics? Or would you rather have your child grow to become an innovator and learn through a program that is centred on preparing them to face challenges in a world that instantly and constantly advances? List down keywords that would perfectly describe your beliefs and be on the lookout for these when reading about a philosophy carried out by a childcare centre.
2. Know what values you would like your child to have.
If you want your child to be hardwired with the set of values that your family has up until adulthood, then the childcare centre that you choose should enforce the same. The kind of early childhood philosophy that a centre adopts should be able to enumerate the values that they practice. Be sure that these align with your own prior to enrolling your child.
3. Know what you expect your child to learn from a programme
The learning ability of each child is unique. Learning happens by seeing, hearing, interacting, observing, reading, or being able to do things hands-on. Some children may learn efficiently on their own, while others may need a lot of interaction to develop more. Ask questions like, “Does the programme offer diverse activities that cater to the various cultures, needs, talents, and interests of your child?” and “Will my child be nurtured, respected, and valued as an individual?” Parents should be aware of how their child receives learning best and consider enrolling their child in a childcare centre that provides a programme that practices the same type of learning. During your search for a childcare centre, ask about their curriculum’s priorities. Try dropping by some institutions that you are considering and ask to observe their programme. Also check how the curriculum engages with the community and, most importantly, how it involves the parents in its programme.
With the times changing drastically, each child should be given the opportunity to grow and develop in order to be able to contribute positively to society. Parents must understand that the learning and development of a child will never be perfect, but with the help of a childcare centre that shares the same beliefs and values, the load can be a lot easier to carry. Success is possible and within reach.