The importance of Early Years Education

Teaching young learners is, in many countries, regarded as lesser work than teaching high school students. One country that is beginning to see the value of a solid, well thought out Early Years Education curriculum is China.

For generations the immense focus on the last few years of high-school has blotted out the need for a stable, Early Years foundation. Parents, teachers and school administrators are desperate to have their children/students attend good universities either in China or abroad. As a result, education is largely regarded as a chore or not as important until late middle school and high-school when students are pressured to not just memorise words and formulas but suddenly begin expressing their learnt knowledge in internationally accepted ways – in methods they most likely hadn’t experienced prior to that stage.

Which brings me to why education at all levels should be given equal weight, respect and attention. From personal experience, I can say that guiding students at a kindergarten is no less challenging than teaching them at the highschool level. In fact, at times, I felt like the former was indeed a lot more difficult than the latter. I realized that I felt that way, especially in China, because of a lack of understanding and support for Early Education practicioneers.

Why would Kindergarten or the early grades of Primary be as important as the last few years of Secondary school? The answer can be found in many schools across China today. High school students in international schools wishing to go abroad to study have, with the assistance of a skewed system, ignored developing their learning and critical thinking skills. The end result is hundreds of teens being forced to attend extra classes on evenings and weekends, memorising tremendous amounts of work in hopes of memorising the right answers for the upcoming exams, a general feeling of never-ending lethargy and a genuine dislike for school.

It is no secret that if a person loves what he/she does then the chances of success are increased hundredfold. Where better to allow students to start enjoying school than from the very beginning? With the right nurturing from the Kindergarten level students can grow into a way of thinking that is open-minded, inquisitive and critical. With these tools (in addition to so many more that students learn in the formative years of their schooling) children move forward through the system not as prisoneers but as pioneers.