The value of early childhood education

You are your child’s first - and most important - teacher. Every time you hug, talk to, play and interact with your child in a positive way, you are helping their brain to grow. But as the saying goes, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, so at some point you will probably enrol your child in more formal early childhood education (ECE). This could be at your local Playcentre, Kindergarten or Kohanga reo - or at one of the many centres that provide early childhood education and care. ECE has benefits for families, the community and most importantly for children.

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1. Enrol your child in ECE. Early childhood education will help your child learn to get on with other children and adults. They will learn to make friends, to share, negotiate and take turns, and to co-operate with others.

2. They will learn to listen to others and to communicate their own ideas, to be independent and to take responsibility for other people’s needs as well as their own.

3. Children who take part regularly in quality early childhood education are likely to be confident and curious about the world around them, which can help them do better at school.

4. Early childhood education also helps children to settle more easily at school.

5. Te Whāriki – which means ‘the woven mat’ – is the curriculum framework for New Zealand’s ECE sector. It covers the education and care of children from birth to school age and is used by ECE services to guide children’s learning opportunities.

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