In my previous post, I asked you to solve a puzzle about the collapse of an edifice and determine whether the building fell as a result of a structural defect in its foundation or because of the tornado that ravaged the city. Here is my take on the puzzle: The building collapsed due to a combination of weak foundation and strong wind. If the foundation of the building has been solid, no wind no matter how gusty would be able to bring it down. The following explains the foundation and why no wind can be strong enough to bring it down.
Let me start off this post by sharing some thoughts on a very important issue in our educational system…The early childhood education. There has been well-documented evidence that demonstrates a positive impact of early childhood education on the cognitive ability and academic achievement of the children who take part in such programs as Head Start and Universal Pre-K. These two programs are operated at different wavelengths by the federal and state governments respectively. Whereas the head start is federally funded with its own set of guidelines, the universal pre-k is state-funded with some differences in its modus operandi. This has played a major role in the reason why there has always been a cacophony of tunes between the federal and state governments in terms of program implementation. Most studies on early childhood education have focused mainly on the dividends it has yielded in the area of cognitive improvement as evidenced by higher test scores especially in math and reading. These studies have also cited early childhood education as being responsible for reducing gaps in academic achievement. Yet, I am not sure much of this body of research has really focused the attention of the public on the impact of early childhood education on the social and emotional development of the children. Emphasis has always been on the development of the children’s cognitive domain while the affective domain has taken a back seat.
In this post, however, I intend to bring the affective domain to the forefront by discussing the impact of early childhood education on the social and emotional development of children. This has to do with how the early childhood intervention programs affect the general behavior, moods and attitudes of children in the school environment and later in life. Some of the studies are said to have attested to a significant reduction of crimes among the program participants. This is because the adult educators have inculcated some acceptable social norms and values into these fledgling learners alongside the teaching of math, reading or any other subject. It can be reasonably argued that if a significant reduction of crimes can be achieved at this early stage of the children’s life, the childhood intervention programs responsible for this crime reduction rate should be overhauled and nationally implemented without any strings attached.
To make this possible, all hands must be on deck…The agencies of socialization including the family, the school, the social media, the religious organizations and, in fact, governments at all levels must work collaboratively in order to ensure a successful implementation of early education program nationwide. Each of these agencies has a significant role to play but let me dwell a bit on the role of government in this whole scenario. For instance, the congress must pass a legislation that will strengthen early childhood education more than ever before at every nook and cranny of the country. Although no government can legislate behavior, it can create avenues or means through which a child will acquire and demonstrate good morals in the society with the cooperation of the aforementioned agencies. Such an avenue is the early childhood education.The early childhood education is the stage and the critical point at which a solid moral foundation is established in the life of a young learner. This is why it is important to ‘catch them young’ while their mind is still impressionable and unpolluted. Even the bible, and I’m sure the Koran too, admonishes us to teach our children in the way of the Lord so that when they get older, they will not depart from it. This means that whatever moral lessons we impart into our children when they are young will remain ingrained in their psyche as they grow older.
This leads me to an all-important issue of morality in education which forms the basis of social and emotional development of our children. Let us once again bring morality in education to the fore in our educational discourse for the improvement of moral standards in our school children. Some countries have made it a top priority to lay emphasis on moral education in their educational system. The potential benefits of moral education on our youth cannot be overemphasized. Moral education basically consists in the transmission of beliefs and values into young children. The transmission of these values differs from one country to another, from culture to culture and, in fact, from religion to religion. In Japanese educational system , for instance, it is imperative for students to be instructed in morality through every educational activity in the classroom. In other words, moral education is an integral part of the whole educational system. Students are said to participate actively in the cleaning of the school premises everyday. The moral ideal expected from this activity is to inculcate the value of work. Another way through which Japanese students imbibe moral ideals is by performing activities with animals and plants. This has the significant purpose of making them learn to respect and value life. When children are exposed to activities that teach them how to respect and value life at a very tender age, not only will this value be ingrained in their consciousness, they will never think of grabbing a gun to settle scores with a fellow human being over a contentious issue. Participation in after school club activities by junior and high school students is also an important strategy to acquire moral ideals. These include honesty, respect, responsibility, cooperation, courtesy, and compliance with rules among others. China’s system of education is similar to Japan’s, so I won’t discuss this separately. Suffice it to say that the citizens of these two Asian countries are noted especially for their humility and respect towards one another. My reference to these countries is not to be construed as conferring on them the status of utopian societies where social vices are non-existent. Far from it! The point I’m making here is that they have made deliberate efforts to emphasize morality in their educational systems with noticeable social benefits.
In my view, any country that accords a primordial role to early childhood education in its educational system is undoubtedly laying a solid foundation for a better society. Now to the puzzle…I will conclude by saying that the solid foundation upon which a society is built is early childhood education. A structure built upon the solid foundation is sure to withstand any violent wind. An investment in childhood education today will produce a morally sound and energetic workforce and intelligentsia which no social turmoil can overcome.
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