What is Early Childhood Care and Education
Early Childhood Care and Education is the developmental study of children ages 0-8 years of age or from Birth to third grade. It falls under the primary schooling category and focuses on 6 main domains which include, Cognitive, Social, Emotional, Physical, and Linguistic.
Why does it matter?
The brain develops expansively during the first five years of life with several critical periods for specific milestones such as language, social-emotional, cognitive, and moral or ethics to develop. During their early years, children use their environment which includes their immediate and extended families, community, and the larger ecological system to make meaning to their world. When children are deprived or limited in their experiences during the first five years of life, learning in both formal and informal educational platform becomes challenging. On the other hand, when children are provided with an early learning program that meets their developmental needs, research shows they are able to excel at all capacities in later years.
What happens in an early childhood education program?
In early childhood classrooms, we want to see children playing with peers using various materials such as paint, mud, and stacking blocks and engaging in meaningful work such as gardening, cleaning, and participating in tasks that help others. Play evolves as children grow and develop. In the context of Ethiopia, we want similar experiences for all children but especially children that come from underserved communities where such programs will have the most impact. In addition, we want to see informed practitioners, educated in the field of Early Childhood Education and Child Development that understand the nature of children.
How does your approach differ from other organizations?
We have a comprehensive early education model with a PreK-16 approach supported by experts from social services, early education, counseling, workforce development, early intervention, higher education, curriculum specialist, parent engagement experts, and much more. We know children and families in Ethiopia have several challenges mainly due to access, equity, and affordability. We want to mitigate these barriers by putting together a comprehensive early learning program strategy that not only looks at the classroom where children arrive but considers the environment they come from including stressors such as lack of food, water, living conditions, and much more. We are practitioner based which means our approach is grounded in relevant, current, and evidence-based work.