Screen_Shot_2014-03-18_at_7.46.07_PMEarly childhood is a crucial stage of life in terms of a child's physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. Growth of mental and physical abilities progress at an astounding rate and a very high proportion of learning take place from birth to age 5. It is a time when children particularly need high quality personal care and learning experiences. In this light and in lieu of Child Stimulation Month being observed in learning institutions across Belize, Reporter Maria Novelo and Videographer Jesus Melgar take a deeper look into the benefits of early childhood education.

Maria Novelo – Reporting

“We all know that from birth to 7 years that is the critical time for a child and that is where all the learning, if what they didn’t learn then don’t expect them to reach 10 years and they didn’t get it, it is going to be difficult for them to enter primary school.”

The first five years of life are full of discovery. And though some days may feel repetitive for you, for a child there’s always something new to explore. We visited with a few preschools around Orange Walk and found out that the benefits of preschool for children cannot be overstated.

Pre-school Teacher

“They come to preschool for the little basic things manners, sharing, taking time, taking turns, making a line because we tell them that when you go the bank they have to take a line and everything it has to be in order and so those are the little things that a child needs at this age so when they go to primary school they are ready. They need to know that because when they come here they would develop their different skills for example they have muscles, because we teach math as well the very concept it is not hard but how to count in the concept of number one to ten and how it relates to their daily life and also when they do the drama show them the sequencing of the story and how they put it into the role play so it is something that they practice every day and it relates to their daily life’s as well because we see in their house keeping park they are playing like mommy and daddy, the family roles and also they want to be like teachers and the different community helpers in the community.”

Science tells us why, studies show that the brain develops quickly during these first few years and the more you keep that brain busy, the better it will develop and be ready for school when the time comes. Simply put, busy babies become better students.

Maria Novelo - Reporter

“Throws out the misconception that people have that they say that pre-school is a waste of time and a waste of money because all they do here is play, there is no truth to that?”

Pre-School Teacher

“No, no, no truth to that play the children learn through play and as I tell my parents and some of them scold the children why are you dirty like that but they are learning, if you bring your child clean, clean in the morning and you expect him to go back like that they didn’t do anything at school they did not learn. From here we can know that his is an environment for them to learn and they can also practice their language progress will because some of them are Spanish speakers but from the school here they start to develop their English as well and so that is the way I feel pre-school is very important, it is not only playing over here but they learn different subjects as well which we call disciplines, six disciplines but that is the thing they should develop at this age.”

Whether it’s coloring, drawing, building or even talking, it’s all play to them; these activities are actually stimulating brain development. And noting the increasing need, the Louisiana Gov’t School is in its first years incorporating a preschool at their campus.

Maria Novelo - Reporter

“Am finding out that a successful relationship for a pre-school is the participation of their parents, are you seeing that lacking here or do they participate as well?”

Pre-School Teacher

“Majority of our parents participate for example when we have some activity and we need our parents they would come and sometimes they also help us as well, Wednesday we are going to a community tour and we need the parent to accompany us because when we visit the different places and know where is the BDF, where is the library, and to know why it is important to the children’s life and so most of the parent would agree with us and they would come to help us and like tomorrow is father’s day it is flying kite there is a period of time that the father would come with the children.”

No matter which path you choose for your child, it’s important to know you have options and that by enrolling your child into a right early education program, they will graduate into kindergarten ready to learn. Maria N for CTV3 News!

This year’s month long activities is being celebrated under the theme “Early Childhood Where Our Future Begins” 

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