Educational Success Starts in Preschool
By Casey Wilson
Let’s begin by examining the challenging question, what is the goal of Education? My personal goal, as an early childhood educator, is to instill an excitement for lifelong learning in my students. I believe setting up a child for educational success begins in preschool. Based on the famous 1920’s physiologist, Jean Piaget, and his theory of Cognitive Development, children grow and develop at different rates, but follow similar patterns through the stages of development.
The purpose of my article is to examine the best way to travel through these stages creating educational success. Piaget believes it is important that children achieve learning at each level of development. He goes so far as to say that a child must experience a crisis at each stage before moving on. I am rigorously searching for the best advantageous method for a child to learn, this includes working through challenging situations. Piaget documents that children learn best when offered hands on, play-based, exploratory opportunities. I agree with Piaget’s conclusion.
Children learn through ‘doing’, as their 5 senses communicate with the brain, the brain documents the details of the experience allowing children to learn. It is important children experience the world around them by seeing, tasting, hearing, touching, and smelling. As the brain registers information, children acquire skills and gain knowledge. The key to learning and problem solving is creating a balance of activity. A variety of activity will allow for well rounded, successful growth and reduce frustration throughout the learning process.
When looking at early childhood development it is important to focus on the ‘whole’ child. Setting up a child for educational success means they are participating in activities that strengthen their gross and fine motor muscles, social-emotional skills, creative, and academic abilities. Through interactions with others, students learn to take turns, work as a team, and adapt to change.
Children love to discover, learn, and be social. A real love for learning transpires when learning experiences are hands on, as well as, play-based. This is what makes lifelong learning fun! One essential responsibility bestowed upon an early childhood educator is to create enthusiasm for lifelong learning. The sky is the limit!
When children have the proper tools in their tool belt, they will experience success. To close, I will utilize Jean Piaget’s own words. “Our real problem is – what is the goal of education? Are we forming children that are only capable of learning what is already known? Or should we try developing creative and innovative minds, capable of discovery from the preschool age on, throughout life?” Piaget views learning as a lifelong process of discovery and joy. I invite parents and educators to join me in creating a society filled with children who love to learn. This is how I measure educational success.
Read more at: “Jean Piaget’s Theory of Play.” Psychologized, 19 Oct. 2016, www.psychologized.org/jean-piagets-theory-of-play/.