Education is the key to a successful future for every child. Getting those first years of childhood education right will make a vital difference and provide children with the foundation they need to progress through the education system. A strong foundation is essential as they expand their knowledge and develop the skills they will use throughout their lives.
What does early childhood education look like?
In Australia, education begins with the early childhood education sector, sometimes called preschool, and then compulsory education starts at age 5 or 6 with primary education. Following primary education there is secondary education, sometimes called high schools, and finally there is tertiary education, such as universities, and TAFE colleges. Each of these sectors builds on the work that has been accomplished in the previous sector and so getting the early years right is essential.
How is early childhood education delivered?
Early education in Australia is delivered to children using a variety of settings. Sometimes it will take place in kindergartens or pre-schools and sometimes it will be childcare centres that are the focus of early education. Wherever education takes place the aim will be the same; to build a solid foundation from which children can go on to explore the world and develop their skills until they finish their schooling and enter the adult world.
The role of educator and parent partnerships
While the role of the education professional is important in the development of a child, the significance of the parents role cannot be overestimated. It is the parents who are with the child from the start of their life and who will still be with the child for a large part of the day even when the child starts full-time education.
Building an effective partnership between the parents and professional educators is essential for any child to thrive within the education system. Parents begin the education of their child in the home through simple interactions that take place each day and they will be the ones who must make decisions at every level to decide what their child's education will look like.
By working with the parents to develop the abilities of child as they explore the world around them the child's natural curiosity and desire to learn can be harnessed to maximise the potential. Partnerships are at the heart of successful childhood education and can must be used to give all children the best possible start in life.