Early childhood education (ECE) is a branch of education theory which relates to the teaching of young children (formally and informally) up until the age of about eight. Infant/toddler education, a subset of early childhood education, denotes the education of children from birth to age two. In recent years, early childhood education has become a prevalent public policy issue, as municipal, state, and federal lawmakers consider funding for preschool and pre-k.
While the first two years of a child’s life are spent in the creation of a child’s first “sense of self”, most children are able to differentiate between themselves and others by their second year. This differentiation is crucial to the child’s ability to determine how they should function in relation to other people. Parents can be seen as a child’s first teacher and therefore an integral part of the early learning process.
Early childhood attachment processes that occurs during early childhood years 0–2 years of age, can be influential to future education. With proper guidance and exploration children begin to become more comfortable with their environment, if they have that steady relationship to guide them. Parents who are consistent with response times, and emotions will properly make this attachment early on. If this attachment is not made, there can be detrimental effects on the child in their future relationships and independence. There are proper techniques that parents and caregivers can use to establish these relationships, which will in turn allow children to be more comfortable exploring their environment.Academic Journal Reference This provides experimental research on the emphasis on caregiving effecting attachment.
Many oppose the theory of learning through play because they think children are not gaining new knowledge. In reality, play is the first way that children learn to make sense of the world at a young age. They are exploring different roles, learning how things work, and learning to communicate and work with others. These things cannot by taught by a standard curriculum, but have to be developed through the method of play. Many preschools understand the importance of play and have designed their curriculum around that to allow children to have more freedom. Once these basics are learned at a young age, it sets children up for success throughout their schooling and their life.