Why is Primary Education so important for a successful, happy and healthy society?
Early Childhood Education is considered 0-8 in the U.S. Many countries consider it ages 3-6. The Italian Educational Pioneer, Dr. Maria Montessori named Primary as ages 3-6 and identified planes of development with distinct milestones: 0-3 (Infant & Toddler), 3-6 (Primary), 6-9 (Junior Elementary), 9-12 (Senior Elementary). Montessori helped Educational Leaders to understand the particular importance in the education of the young child, when much progress can take place to grow both the inner and outer being. Educators and Psychologists from around the world have amplified the importance of these early years as a time when crucial foundations are laid, essential years as to the formation of a person’s character.
We can look to the primary education years as the wide-open door of opportunity to enhance the development of an individual’s social, cognitive, emotional, physical, and cultural skills. Let’s explore the way educators can intentionally support these important areas of development.
Supporting Emotional and Social Development
Working and learning alongside other children can not only help them to develop a sense of respect for others, but to also benefit from observing others’ learning. This can even include learning foundational skills from slightly older children. Such insight provided the reasoning for Maria Montessori to put children into age groups of a 3-year span. By providing a stimulating learning environment, or prepared environment, Dr. Montessori revealed how we can shift from a teacher-cantered education to a child-cantered education. The classroom is not expected to wait in silence for the teacher to share all knowledge. Rather, students are invited to actively explore their environment after being given lessons on how to use the materials waiting on the shelves. These lessons can be given by a teacher, assistant, or older student who has mastered the skill and is learning leadership, even at such a young age.
As mainstream teachers and child-care providers seek to integrate this valuable insight into their specific learning environments, we can appreciate the opportunity to grow little leaders, no matter what the specific context of the pre-school environment.
We are social beings by nature and how we resolve disputes says a lot about the quality of our social skills. Learning to play with others involves sharing with others, voicing opinions, effective listening, and finding compromise. These are foundational skills in resolving disputes for life-long success.
Teaching Confidence and Independence
Most people do not know this but children who attend their early school years in a stimulating, safe, nurturing environment tend to be more emotionally stable than those who do not. Early Education opportunities offer a secure, positive, and healthy environment. Here, they are invited into exploration of their world, into wonder, and into imaginative play–perfect for their developmental stage to give a sense of self and the community around them.
Enhancing Communication and Reading Skills
Primary skills include pre-reading enjoyment of ideas in books, and valuable communication skills to fortify the foundation of a love of learning. Lack of such a stimulating and safe place to grow can lead a child into disadvantage, some of it long term. Providing Education Standards that consider the overall well being of the child, or whole child, is a passion for one Primary Educator, Jill D. Bittinger who feels a driving mission towards providing the best learning environments possible for our young learners.
One way to figure out how to provide your students with the best educational practices is to consider looking into the work of experts like Jill Bittinger – a highly acclaimed American Primary and Elementary Educator, Author, Consultant and Founder of the company, Transformed Education.
Inspired by Maria Montessori’s work, Bittinger followed her teachings and became certified in this model of whole child education in both the Primary and Jr. Elementary age groups. Well-versed in not only Montessori modalities, but in utilizing the Arts to teach core standards content, Bittinger integrates her background in multicultural arts, fortifying the whole child educational approach..With a lifetime of educational experience, she serves as an agent of change to empower joy and social emotional intelligence with academic achievement.
Bittinger has also been involved in many other projects that revolve around the education of both the student and the teacher. She hosts online summits that feature educational leaders who pave pathways in reforming learning environments via a philosophy and practical strategies in uniting body, mind, and spirit. Additionally, Bittinger has been working on developing apps and courses where educators are given tools and strategies that can help them to improve their skills and aid young students in their growth. You can find more of this information through her two books “Peace Education: Our Time is Now” and “Teaching with the Soul in Mind: Connecting Content, Community, and the Creative Spirit” and on her website, www.TransformedEducation.com.