Early years education benefits your son in many ways. Australian research (Warren and Haisken-DeNew, 2013) has shown that children who attend preschool outperformed their peers by the time they reached Year 3. Based on NAPLAN scores, those that had early year/s pre-school education did particularly well in the domains of Numeracy, Reading and Spelling. Although most families understand the importance of early years education, for first-time parents, it can be difficult to determine which early education provider will be best suited to their child.
As a general rule of thumb, quality early years education providers will have great teachers who will help your child feel happy, safe and secure, while providing opportunities to engage in a wide range of play-based learning experiences. Here are a few indicators of excellent early years education:
1. Exceptional teachers
The best teachers are the ones who care for and are tuned in to a child’s needs. They listen to each child, are aware of what they are communicating both verbally and non-verbally, and pick up on different cues through interactions.
A great early years teacher values young children. They value a child’s ideas, are considerate of their feelings and demonstrate a high regard for them through a warm and affectionate manner.
2. Safety and security
Safety and security should form the foundations of any early years education. Both you and your child have to feel safe physically and emotionally with the teacher and within the schooling environment.
Rooms should appear clean and free of hazards, with furniture and toys that are age-appropriate. The outdoor environment should be inviting, easily accessible, appropriately enclosed, but spacious enough for running and conducting other large motor activities. These are good indicators of a focus on safety and security.
Emotional safety should also be a priority. You can tell how emotionally secure young students are through their relationship with others. Emotionally safe children dare to explore and try out new things. They have a strong connection with their teacher and other students.
3. Strong teaching objectives
The Australian Children’s Early Childhood Quality Authority (ACECQA) states: “Children’s learning is ongoing and each child will progress towards the outcomes in different and equally meaningful ways.” Their developmental milestones checklist covers five domains of learning: physical, social, emotional, cognitive and language development.
Excellent early years education will include the right curriculum and teaching strategies to help children develop in these areas of learning. In the working paper Children’s right to play, Wendy Russell and Stuart Lester of the University of Gloucestershire argue that play creates a brain that has increased “flexibility and improved potential for learning later in life.” A child’s learning achievements are greater from play-based programmes (activities such as building blocks), compared to early childhood programmes that have an academic focus. They will offer children a balance of physical activity, opportunities for rest and relaxation, and group and individual experiences.
Quality early years education has content-rich programmes that include literacy, numeracy, science, art, music and language to promote social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.
4. Strong parent-teacher relationships
Teachers need to be able to explain to parents their approach to children’s learning. ACECQA focuses on educators having partnerships with families, and creating an agreement about what and how children should be learning.
Parents should be regularly informed about the learning programme. Ideally there should be an alignment between a parent’s expectations and values in regard to the education of their child and that of the education provider.
At Trinity Grammar School, we recognise that a great start to a boy’s learning journey can make all the difference to his academic success. Pre-Kindergarten at Trinity is a specialised option for boys who may not be quite ready for Kindergarten.
Our well-structured Pre-Kindergarten programme will encourage your son to engage in a variety of developmentally appropriate learning experiences that nurture his curiosity and sense of wonder, and challenge his thinking – making for a smooth transition to Kindergarten.
To learn why Pre-Kindergarten at Trinity Grammar School provides the best preparation for school, download our Pre-Kindergarten prospectus.