THE EFFECT OF CHILDHOOD EDUCATION ON EARLY CHILD DEVELOPMENT
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The development of the fetus starts as soon as pregnancy takes place. The average time it takes for a fully formed fetus to enter the world is nine months, provided that there are no complications during pregnancy or a preterm birth. According to Kaplan (2022), from the moment of conception onward, a kid is a singular individual with his or her own distinctive characteristics. According to them, the nature of children is such that no two children, not even identical twins, are the same or comparable to one another in every manner. This holds true even when comparing children of the same gender. As a direct consequence of this, there are observable qualities that may be used to differentiate one child from another. Nature and nurture are equally responsible for the complexities that are found in children, according to Nwagbara (2022). The stages of development that children go through span from infancy all the way up until their teenage years. Developmentally speaking, a child's first two to six years of life are among the most important years of their existence. Children are in a constant state of change at this period of their lives, which speeds up all aspects of their development, including their physical, mental, and psychological growth. They are undergoing huge transformations and accomplishing tremendous development gains, notably in the field of language acquisition and growth. In addition, they are making tremendous strides in the development of their culture.
Reading material for children should be relevant to the children's own spoken language as well as their interests and experiences, since this is seen to be beneficial to the children's intellectual development. The shift toward putting more of a focus on children's intellectual growth is a welcome move (Anyanwu, 2022). This is because the mind of a youngster is like a "blank slate," ready to be filled with new information. In light of this fact, teachers always search for new ways to stimulate their pupils in order to get the best possible results for their classes. Web (2022) contends that it is necessary to address the possibility that the kinds of experiences that are available to children can have an influence on the development of their minds.
According to Aiyedun (2022), the experiences that are provided by children's literature help to the intellectual growth of the youngsters who read it. Because of the way they stimulate thought, according to him, stories not only teach but also improve skills such as reading, writing, and critical thinking. The telling of stories deepens one's understanding of the actions of humans. A single story can function as the foundation for an in-depth investigation of a variety of different pursuits. Because of the manner in which particular situations in storybooks are depicted, children have the opportunity to employ words that are familiar to them from the lives of their own families. As a result of this, youngsters should be encouraged to increase their vocabulary in an acceptable manner. Not only do young children learn the vocabulary of colors, forms, and textures at an early age, but the storybooks that they read are almost entirely illustrated. Storybooks offer youngsters the opportunity to practice all four of the language skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—that are necessary for the healthy intellectual development of children. In addition to this, they help children learn new words and different meanings of words depending on the context in which they are used. This is a goal that can be accomplished, supposing that the language used in the stories is not unduly simple.
Anyamelue (2022) asserts that in order to ensure healthy growth and development in young children, it is necessary to give them with the appropriate level of care, sustenance, and stimulation. In addition, holistic care for infants and toddlers is becoming increasingly popular all around the world, including in Nigeria. This was emphasized in the CRC, and it was brought up again during the World Education Forum in Dakar in the year 2000. The gathering recommitted itself to the goal of establishing and advancing all-encompassing programs for the care and education of young children.
The growth of one's brain is one of the most noticeable aspects of the early stages of life. According to Godges (2022), the most important times for the development of a person's brain are the last three months of fetal life and the first two years of life after birth. This is due to the fact that during this time period, more than half of the adult brain's total weight is gained. During the first few years of life, it experiences fast growth, reaching around two-thirds of adult weight by the end of the first year, 7.5 percent by age two, and 90 percent by age five. This occurs because it begins to store energy as fat as it gets older. Therefore, a child's brain that is five years old has virtually reached the maturity level of an adult's brain.
However, in order to support the rapid development of the brain at this stage, enough food is essential. This is as a result of the fact that poor nutrition before and after birth as well as all throughout the first few years of life can greatly impede the development of the brain. It is possible that this will lead to neurological and behavioral problems, which may manifest themselves as difficulty in learning.
According to a recent research, the brain of an infant is constructed of billions of neutrons that are ready to be woven into the "complex tapestry of the mind." The events that occur throughout childhood shape the neutrons that are used to link the circuits in the adult brain. Begley makes the observation, which is supported by Hodges (2022), that "the circumstances of childhood dictate whether a youngster grows up to be smart or dumb, fearful or self-confident, eloquent or tongue-tied."
According to Munonye (2022), there is also scientific evidence on the requirement of providing the kid with the appropriate stimulation throughout early life in order for the child's cognitive development to proceed normally. The way in which the brain is "wired" for certain activities, such as language, music, physical activity, and mathematics, can be influenced by the environment throughout certain phases of childhood development. These stages include: It is necessary for the brain to get the appropriate inputs at the appropriate times for it to be able to "rewire" itself later in life. As a result, the period of time known as early infancy need to be handled with the highest care. The comparative degree of development of first-grade pupils, in compared to that of their younger counterparts, allows for a greater variety of prospective testing areas, which had a role in the decision to include first-grade students in the study. In addition to this, the Eleme Local Government Area was selected for this study since it is located close to the researcher's home, and as a result, the researcher is already familiar with the area.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The majority of children do not have healthy cognitive development because they do not receive enough early childhood education, which is most commonly delivered by their parents and their teachers, who are also regarded to be surrogate parents in the school setting (Adebesin, 2022). The majority of students enrolled in first grade in the Nigerian education system did not attend pre-primary schools. In these schools, young children are taught largely via the use of methods that are most suited to their learning aptitude and comprehension at an early age (Oyewale, 2022). Because of this error, the vast majority of pupils who are enrolled in primary schools are unable to grasp the content of the lessons they are being taught because they began their early education with the branch rather than the root (Oyewale, 2022).
Because the majority of teachers recruited at primary one schools do not employ methods of instruction that are understandable by children, the majority of children do not have strong academic competency in the beginning stages of their primary school education. The restricted cognitive development of children is the root cause of the poor academic accomplishment that permeates practically every level of our educational system. This is as a result of the fact that if a child is unable to complete a task during early schooling, it will be extremely challenging for the child to complete the task at a higher level of education. (Oyewale, 2022).
1.1 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this study is to assess the effect of childhood education on early child development. Specifically, other objectives of this study is to:
i. Determine the extent of children’s early education.
ii. Determine whether childhood education affects early child development.
iii. Examine the impacts of childhood education.
iv. Examine the challenges of childhood education on early child development.
1.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research which are in line with the objectives of this study will be answered:
i. What is the extent of children’s early education?
ii. Does childhood education affects early child development?
iii. What are the impacts of childhood education?
iv. What are the challenges of childhood education on early child development?
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of this study will be beneficial in the following ways:
Ø With the help of the study's recommendations, teachers at the lowest level of the school system, the early childhood courses, would know how to educate or interact with children most effectively.
Ø Teachers would be exposed to the right ways for teaching language to children in school, particularly at the preschool and elementary levels.
Ø Parents would have a clearer understanding of the significance of teaching a child the language of his or her environment. This study will inform parents that they should be the first to convey information to the kid, particularly in regards to the child's language development.
Ø With this research and its suggestions, parents will be able to determine the most effective methods for teaching language to youngsters.
Ø The society will be exposed to the language learning process of the society's young ones. With the advice, society will also be able to determine how to best aid the youngster in language acquisition and mastering.
1.4 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The main scope of this study is focused on the effect of childhood education on early child development. Precisely, this study is focused on determining the extent of children’s early education, determining whether childhood education affects early child development, examining the impacts of childhood education and examining the challenges of childhood education on early child development.
Early childhood and primary education teachers in Lokoja, Kogi State will be the respondents of this study.
1.5 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The main scope of this study is limited to the effect of childhood education on early child development. Precisely, this study is limited to determining the extent of children’s early education, determining whether childhood education affects early child development, examining the impacts of childhood education and examining the challenges of childhood education on early child development.
Early childhood and primary education teachers in Lokoja, Kogi State will be the respondents of this study, hence further studies is required before the findings of this study can be used anywhere else.
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Early education: Early childhood education, also known as nursery education, is a branch of education theory that relates to the teaching of children from birth up to the age of eight. Traditionally, this is up to the equivalent of third grade. ECE is described as an important period in child development.
Child development: Child development involves the biological, psychological and emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and the conclusion of adolescence. Childhood is divided into 3 stages of life which include early childhood, middle childhood, late childhood.
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