Early Childhood Article by Daniel Todd (Junior School Principal, ISU)
Are you preparing your child for educational success?
4 Keystones for Early Childhood
Early childhood is a precious, but a limited period of time where children establish the foundations of their education. As with a building, it’s hard to see what lies beneath the grand pillars or ornate archways, however, it’s those unseen foundations that allow a child to be most successful, in school, university and life beyond. At the International School of Uganda it’s our focus on these foundational keystones that unlock the opportunities of our students’ changing world. These foundations lie far beneath learning your ABCs or counting to ten, and here we offer four foundational ideas that parents should look for when deciding on an early childhood programme for their child.
1. Social Confidence
Social confidence is one of these foundational stones that offers the best start for your child. Learning together is at the heart of our mission, knowing that as children interact with peers of similar ages they begin to move beyond an egocentric vision of the world, and experience new perspectives and opinions. These interactions encourage children to learn new skills of negotiation, turn-taking, collaborating and group decision making. Interpersonal skills are one of the core skills cited as lacking in university graduates today.
2. self-esteem and confidence
A second keystone is students’ self-esteem and confidence. Students build self-assurance as the teachers demonstrate the utmost value for each child’s contribution to an activity or creation. We regard each child’s action as suggestions showing us what they perceive and value. As each child appreciates their contribution they establish a sense of self-worth and confidence that enables them to take risks, innovate and be brave enough to stand up for their values.
3. Language and communication
Language and communication is a third keystone that we regard with the utmost of importance. Language learning is embedded in the school day, beginning with oral communication in both their mother tongue and English. The language of mark making and symbols is introduced as children learn to pre-write, through to understanding how writing is used to label, create messages or share ideas. Children use the language of mathematics to make sense of the world and learn to see how this language symbolises different ideas in their mathematical environment.
4. Curiosity and wonder
The fourth keystone is to fuel each child’s natural sense of curiosity and wonder, and fan their flame of personal discovery and inquiry. Children naturally question, hypothesize and test ideas in their everyday learning. For example: will daddy’s key fit in the plughole, or what happens if I pull the cat’s tail. Critical analysis and creative thinking are core skills that again, employers see as lacking in today’s graduates. Children need to learn how to learn, to become self-confident, to reflect, analyse and consider possibilities. Our purpose-built early childhood centre, provides open space and the environment for our curious learners. Our classrooms are designed with different types of provocative exploration through light, technology, film, artistic materials, sand, water, natural objects and the campus gardens.