Upon being introduced to the world, a baby immediately begins learning how to survive and thrive. Every day, their brains make lasting connections as they learn to organize the overload of sensory stimuli. By age five, a child’s brain is almost 85% developed, and the benefits of early childhood education to that process can not be denied.
There’s a lot of learning happening between birth and age five. Think about it for a second… By age five we’ve typically mastered quite a few things:
- Feeding ourselves
- A spoken language (or two, in some cases)
- Toilet etiquette
- Drawing and coloring
- Understanding our environment (good vs. harmful, i.e. ladybugs vs. wasps)
- Social relationships (friends, siblings)
- Cognitive learning (rules, right vs. wrong)
- Responding to structure and guidance
- Manipulating tools (i.e. scissors)
- Counting (basic math concepts)
- Letters (basic literacy concepts)
- Discerning tastes (sweet vs. sour)
- Pain and pleasure
- Caring for pets
That’s a lot of learning! Geniuses in their own right! Oak Village Academy understands the enormous amount of learning and experiences that happens in these early years… And we aspire to enhance it through early childhood education.
The Benefits Of Early Childhood Education
Our mission is to prepare all our students for the next classroom experience… and life beyond the classroom. We do this by shaping our curriculum to fit the needs of each child individually (Infants and Toddlers) and then as bridges to the next classroom. This makes the transition a little easier—fluid and organic. Our students progress from Infants (6 weeks–12 months) to Toddlers (1–2 years) to Preschool Prep (2–3 years) to Preschool (3–4 years) to Pre–Kindergarten (4-5). By the time our students graduate from Pre-Kindergarten classes, they are adequately prepared for a kindergarten classroom… and will have learned some valuable lifelong skills.
Beyond preparing students for kindergarten, our classrooms and outdoor learning environments provide opportunities for learning and development beyond rote academics.
Early Childhood Education Enhances Social And Emotional Development
In the Infant classrooms, students begin to feel secure with our teachers. They are also building trusting relationships with non-family members outside of the home. Teachers seek to have a close personal relationship with every child in their classroom.
Each day provides opportunities for “teachable moments” on a variety of emotional and social and development areas. We provide positive feedback to support physical achievements (crawling/walking). Early examples of tolerance, respect, sharing, community, participation and individual growth are lessons that are learned, reinforced and advanced from one classroom to the next.
As students get older, they build social relationships with their classmates. The Oak Village Academy experience allows our students and their families to become part of our community. We teach lessons students carry with them forever.
Learning To Make Choices
Outdoor learning allows our students several opportunities to make choices of their own. Our teachers help students to find their own voice, speak up, ask for things and join group activities. We also help students to be comfortable expressing themselves in saying no or yes… followed by a “please” or “thank you.”
Learning To Be Independent
From learning to hold their own bottle as infants… to feeding themselves with a spoon… to helping pack their own lunches or selecting a healthy snack, our classrooms promote independent learning. A review of our schedules shows that there is ample time for “Free Choice” activities for Infants through Prekindergarten.
Promoting Language And Cognitive Skills
Our language and cognitive skills development begin in our Infant classrooms (i.e. following and recognizing faces). The lessons are then reinforced and enhanced as our students get older.
Infants and Toddlers have individualized programs that include specific language and cognitive skill milestones. We understand that children progress at their own pace. To this end, we work with our parents and make sure to ensure that we are providing a unique experience for each child.
Cognitive skills are enhanced through active learning and hands-on participation. Most importantly, we assist cognitive learning by way of discovery. Our students learn to feel, smell, touch and see things in their surrounding environment. Learning something new happens every day at Oak Village Academy.
Learning To Experiment And Enhancing Curiosity
Our learning environment encourages students to explore their surroundings. Teachers support students’ curiosity by asking them questions, as opposed to simply providing answers. For instance, we don’t stop at asking a student to identify a tree. Our teachers might ask where trees come from… what are the parts of a tree… and for children to share the types of trees they notice on the way to school or outside on the campus.
We also encourage imagination, which can lead to fun learning. Imagine packing for a vacation, taking a trip to a farm or shopping for dinner are all activities that promote learning.
Learning Literacy And Pre-Math Skills
Whether it’s singing the alphabet song, free reading or gathering around for story time, our environment helps build connections between letters and words and sounds (phonemes). We assist students in developing their listening and comprehension skills… Every day provides an opportunity for counting and recognizing numbers… And the outdoor learning environment allows several opportunities to observe and recognize shapes.
Learning To Be Active
Oak Village Academy believes that children are active beings, and we encourage physical activity every day. Our students explore, investigate and interact with nature and our environment. As any parent knows, trying to make a toddler sit still and watch an entire movie is almost an impossible task… So we don’t do that!
Kindergarten Ready…And Beyond
The benefits of early childhood education and preschool are both short-term and long-term. The short-term benefits are that students are more than ready for kindergarten. The long-term benefits have been studied in the past, with some illuminating results.
Two studies concerning early childhood education are the Abecedarian Project and the HighScope Perry Preschool Project.
The Abecedarian Project (conducted in North Carolina) provided students with early education from birth to five years old. They then tracked the students throughout primary and secondary school… and into adulthood. The study showed that children with an early childhood education experience were more likely to go to college, have higher math and reading levels and more likely to be productive members of society (i.e. employment and avoiding incarceration). This study is of significant importance because the students received early childhood education from age four months to 5 years old.
The HighScope Perry Preschool Project (where children received early childhood education only in preschool, or ages three to five) found that by age 40 they were:
- More likely to have graduated from high school
- More likely to hold a job and have higher earnings
- More likely to own their own home
There is no doubt that early childhood education benefits children, and at Oak Village Academy we seek to enhance those benefits every day.
Explore The Oak Village Academy™ Difference
At Oak Village Academy™ preschool in Cary, NC we learn the natural way by encouraging indoor and outdoor learning environments with low child to teacher ratios. Contact us to learn more: firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 377-1802