Section 2, Article 5 - Most 3- to 6-year-olds across the world are engaged in some form of education, as many cognitive advances can be gained during this developmental stage (). A good home environment is crucial to fostering learning in young children. However, if a good home environment is missing, a good quality preschool program can aid in the physical, cognitive, and social development of healthy preschoolers (). Whether a child is educated at home or a preschool program, the most important consideration is that quality matters ().
Many of the education programs for early childhood are considered developmental, or child-centered as they place emphasis on each child’s growth and development (). With this approach children are often encouraged to become active participants of their own education by selecting their own activities provided by the teacher. Various settings for early childhood education exist, however, because there are so many differences between the individual settings, generalizations cannot accurately be made about which one is best for early-childhood education.
In the past, child-care programs typically provided a place for children to be watched while their parents were at work, but over time the purpose of such centers has become broader, aiming to provide some type of intellectual stimulation. Yet, the primary focus of most child-care programs is usually more social and emotional than cognitive. Intensive teacher-centered approaches to education tend to provide more effective education for early learners. Research has shown that early childhood education is linked to substantial long-term benefits, including the following: higher math and reading scores, higher aspirations, greater personal perceptions of achievement, increased likelihood of attending college, and a decreased chance of going to jail (). It is clear that early education has a sizable impact on the individual across their lifespan.