Why Early Childhood Education?
Early Childhood Education is the developmental study of children ages birth to eight years old. It falls under the primary schooling category and focuses mainly on five developmental 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 or sensitive periods for specific milestones such as language, social, emotional, cognitive, moral values and physical development taking place. During the early years, children use their environment which includes their immediate and extended families, surrounding community and the larger ecological system to make meaning of their world. When children are deprived or limited in their experiences during the first five years of life, social, emotional development including learning in both formal and informal educational platforms become challenging. On the other hand, when children are provided high-quality early care and education program that meets their developmental needs, research shows they are able to excel in all capacity 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 like paint, mud, stacking blocks while engaging in meaningful work such as gardening, cleaning, participating in tasks promoting cooperation. Play evolves as children grow and develop. In the context of Ethiopia, we want similar experiences for all children especially those that come from underserved communities where such programs will have the highest 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 to nurture them accordingly.
How does your approach differ from other organizations?
We have a comprehensive early education model with a PreK-16 (birth to college)approach supported through high level experts from early education, counseling, child development, workforce development, social work, early intervention, higher education, curriculum specialist, therapists, inclusion specialists, pediatricians 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 wide-ranging early learning program strategy that not only looks at the classroom where children arrive to, but considers the environment they come from including stressors such as lack of food, water, living conditions and much more. We are practitioners, which means our approach is grounded in relevant, current and evidence-based work.
The Perry Preschool Project