Should we send the child to nursery or not? While there is the belief that during the first three years, the child’s needs are limited to eating, hygiene and unconditional family affection, early education proves to be particularly important for intellectual development (IQ), emotional (EQ) and social development of children. Experts in early education and their research have demonstrated that there are abilities and skills that can develop from birth.
For example, “reading and related activities, such as storytelling or interpreting a story in front of the child, increase the potential of the brain, the ability to memorize and discipline; movement and play on the rhythm of music stimulates parts of the brain that use to read, solve mathematical problems or emotional development. In addition, memory, self-confidence and creativity are also enhanced by music. ” says Valentina Secara, early education specialist and founder of the FIRST7 parents and educators training center.
Therefore, the care that we provide in the first 3 years of life must also take into consideration the child’s psycho-social and cognitive development.
What does IQ and EQ mean?
The Intelligence Coefficient (IQ) is a term used by psychologists and teachers to name many aspects of cognitive function and performance, such as cause-effect links, mathematical problem solving, the capability to analyze and synthesize. Early stimulation triggers cognitive structures.
“A high IQ score is associated with very good school results and the ability to perform complex mental operations. Intelligence is largely genetically inherited, but it has enormous potential to develop and manifest through healthy educational methods, “explains Valentina Secara. A child can be intelligent without that specific intelligence being discovered and valued in childhood.
The Romanian educational system is extremely demanding for children, emphasizing the intellectual stimulation and development of the child and often ignoring other types of intelligence.
That is why parents and educators need to be informed and aware of the importance of developing their emotional intelligence, assertiveness, the ability to work in a team and adapt with ease to a new environment, all of which are extremely important skills for future generations.
EQ is the official abbreviation for the emotional intelligence coefficient, a relatively new concept in psychology and particularly important. Emotional intelligence includes aspects of our inner and social life such as anger management, empathy, self-control, and self-awareness.
“A high level of EQ will help the child cope better with the challenges of his daily life, which will give him a sense of security and self-esteem and carry weight later on, in his professional career,” says Valentina Secara.
Early education improves the child’s intellectual abilities
A 2003 study published in Developmental Psychology measured the IQ level in 8-year-old born prematurely and coming from similar backgrounds. Children who participated in nursery activities for 400 days or more at the age of 2-3 scored significantly higher in intelligence tests compared to those who participated less in educational activities for preschoolers.
Therefore, attending an early education center stimulates the development of intellectual intelligence and offers well-structured learning opportunities.
“I believe a quality early education, according to the needs of our children and the reality of our days, is fundamental. It is important to know how to relate to children in the early years, what information we offer them, how do we do it, how we develop their self-esteem, how we feed and maintain their curiosity, how we develop concentration, which methods and resources help develop critical thinking and so on. Regarding learning, acquiring knowledge and having an interest for studying, we can have expectations for school afterwards (primary, secondary, high school, university) if we know that we ticked everything there was to be ticked in early education. Behaviour and attitudes that were underdeveloped in the early education stage are difficult to form afterwards”, says Valentina Secara.
How does early education stimulate emotional intelligence?
Early quality education focuses on developing and maintaining an interaction based on empathy and respect, in which the child can freely express his needs and opinions, and the adult takes the role of accompanying the child in this process of growing and developing.
About the importance of the child-educator relationship, Valentina Secara thinks that “By experiencing acceptance and validation of their own emotions by an adult, educator or parent, the child learns to trust himself and the world around him. This offers self-confidence and optimism, while also developing emotional intelligence. A child who is understood will be able to understand others in return and will be able to optimally interact with the surrounding world and their own emotions”.
The period of pre-school education is full of learning opportunities for children, and early education is an excellent method to make the most of them. Contact with the world outside the family will stimulate the child to explore, will pique his curiosity and encourage him to think and act independently, both in childhood and later in adult life.