What is Early Learning & How Can it Benefit Your Child?

06 July, 2021

Educator encouraging small girl drawing
Early learning centres (ELCs) have come a long way since the days of babysitting – now, they provide the nurturing and education your child needs in those all-important first five years. Here, we break down the differences between the different styles of early learning to help you discover what early learning in early childhood is and, most importantly, how it can benefit your child.

What is an early learning program?

In an interview with Child magazine, Melbourne Girls Grammar Director of Early Learning Kellie Morgan describes early learning as, “the stage at which children are first introduced to education providers beyond those that exist within their own families”. It’s worth noting that in the industry – and the community in general – the terms ‘preschool’ and ‘kindergarten’ have become virtually interchangeable with ‘early learning’.

What is Active Early Learning?

Now that you know the basic premise of early learning, it’s important to know that not all early learning providers are alike. Edge Early Learning focuses on an active approach, centring on physical literacy. This is much more than your child being active or fit – it encourages the development of crucial cognitive, social and emotional skills that your children will use their entire lives. Among the many benefits of this style of education, active early learning promotes improvements in self-esteem, memory recall, problem solving, gross and fine motor skills, vocabulary, teamwork and school readiness.

The Australian-first early-years curriculum, Edge’s Active Early Learning Curriculum is backed by the latest research and delivered in partnership with the Australian College of Physical Literacy (ACPL). It is informed by research conducted by Deakin University, the University of Canberra and ACPL.

What are the benefits of early learning for your child?

 Being involved in an early learning program promises a number of positive benefits for your child’s development and wellbeing. So, what do you learn in early childhood education?

 Supporting children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development

  • Providing strong foundation for language development, as well as early literacy and numeracy skills
  • Engaging children in purposeful learning activities and play
  • Helping to build emotional resilience and social skills
  • Helping to develop good habits and a routine (e.g. brush teeth, get dressed)
  • Helping to grow a child’s independence
  • Inspiring a love of learning
  • Supporting the transition to primary school

According to the New South Wales Government, “Research shows that children who participate in quality preschool programs are more likely to arrive at school equipped with the social, cognitive and emotional skills they need to help them to continue learning”.

What is the difference between early learning programs and day-care?

Early learning programs – like those offered in kindergarten – and day-care are fundamentally different. An early learning program, preschool or kindergarten primarily provides a high level of early childhood education and is for children aged two to four. On the other hand, a day-care is for children from birth up to age 12, is designed to be suitable for full-time or part-time care and is often open on weekends.

Choosing the right type of care for your child

Deciding which type of care will be most beneficial for your child is a deeply personal choice, but there are a few things all parents should consider before taking the leap.

  • Find the right fit: Consider the centre’s philosophy, and if this aligns with you. At Edge Early Learning, we implement an inquiry-based approach that encourages children to ask questions, explore new ideas and learn through play.
  • Consider your needs and requirements: find out as much as you can about their availability/scheduling, fees, and which local centres are close to home.
  • Take a tour: Explore the environment your child will be learning and developing with an in-person Meet & Greet. On your tour don’t forget to take the time to meet the educators. Bring some key questions with you, with any concerns or queries.

When visiting a prospective childcare centre, you may want to ask:

  • How does pick up and drop off work/
  • Do you offer casual care?
  • What qualifications do your educators have?
  • What kind of learning opportunities will my child have?
  • How will they be prepared for school?
  • How do you communicate with families?
  • Can I claim the childcare subsidy?

Find out more about what to know before your child starts childcare!

Want to know more?

Edge Early Learning provides children with a holistic learning experience and inquiry based approach to trigger curiosity and build key developmental skills. If you would like to find out more, contact one of our friendly staff or book a tour of your local Edge Early Learning Centre today.

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