Early Childhood Education – Importance and Learning

As parents you might have many questions like What does early childhood education means? and Why our children need to learn “early” to assist them be more flourishing in school and life?

According to Dr James Heckman a Nobel prize winner in Economics,Expert in Economics of human development “Early education is the foundation of the later learning process.Early Learning creates more learning.”

If you plant the seed in the soil and water the seedling what you get is a tree with a firm base which can sustain.  Human potential also need to be developed and nourished during the early stages.If you want to build a better future for your child then you must develop the skills that they need to sustain the future.

It has been said that “The way a twig is bent early, a tree is inclined. Early Investment in a child’s future pays ten times more in the later part of life.

Invest Develop Sustain = Grow

Invest: Investing not only mean investing money in a early childhood program but also the  time and energy to bond with your baby while doing a early childhood education program.

Develop: Encourage your child love them give them support,comfort to develop,identify,nourish and unlock the skills that they have at the early age.

My mother said to me, “If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.”Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.” —Pablo Picasso quotes (Spanish Artist and Painter. 1881-1973)

Let them become what they want to be rather than what you want them to become.

Sustain: Continuous growth is seen in the way you make your child sustain in providing an environment or conditions to learn new things.

“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”—Albert Einstein quotes (German born American Physicist who developed the special and general theories of relativity. Nobel-prize for Physics in 1921. 1879-1955)

Your need to start as early as you can because they are the foundations to the learning.The immediate learning center of a child is his/her home,research proves that babies can learn while in womb. The first and the best teacher is the parent especially the mother.The importance of early childhood education cannot be undermined; the formative years, 0-5 in children are the most significant years in child-development and for babies the bonding before birth or fetal education is meant to provide excellent results in the later stage of child development.So this defines the combination of fetal education and infant education with a brain based learning constitutes the early childhood education.

Many people in diverging fields think that the earlier we bring in our youngest children to reading, math and science, the more adequate their brains will be to captivate more advanced concepts and some think that it is a burden for the child of young age. But, the fact is that there is an aspect of early learning that is often times missed, yet is even more critical for the child’s success: right brain skills.Teaching early will improve emotional,social and cognitive skills not only that but also grow the imaginative, intuitive side of the brain.

Early Childhood education is a “missing link” in education that enables a child to take part effectively in a more organized educational environment, get along with others, develop a sense of self and an appreciation of group-think. It also works on developing the underlying motivators for positive self-development such as empathy, compassion, consideration, respect, trustworthiness and so forth.Early childhood interventions of high quality has ever lasting effects on learning and motivation in later part of life.

All these aspects provide the right environment to the growth of your child in the way it is needed to fight back the competitive world.So the decision is yours, act now to make your child a genius and invest in the right Early childhood education program which will develop the whole brain of your child.

Public and Private Schools Should Learn From One Another In Improving Support for Their High Schools

I was reading the sports section of USA Today the other week and the listing of top 25 High School Football Teams in the country. It was interesting to note that seven of the top 25 high school teams (or 28%) were private or parochial schools.

This led me to research how this compared with recent USA Today’s rankings of top high school teams in other sports. Here’s what I found.

In Boys’ Basketball, a whopping 16 of the top 25 high school teams (or 64%) were private or parochial schools. In Girls’ Basketball, six of the top 25 (or 24%) were private or parochial schools. And in Baseball, nine of the top 25 (or 36%) were private or parochial schools.

Why is this, I wondered?

Is it because there are more private and parochial schools in the country? That’s definitely not the case because according to Department of Education statistics, there are approximately 2,000 private and parochial high schools in the country compared with roughly 30,000 public schools. In other words, just 6% of all high schools in the country are private or parochial. The other 94% in the country are public schools.

Could it be then that the average private or parochial school is larger in terms of enrollment than their public school counterparts? Nope. The average enrollment in a private school is between one-half to one-third of the average enrollment in a public secondary school.

What then accounts for the superiority of private schools versus public high schools in sports relative to the number of schools and their enrollment numbers?

In my experience in attending and/or working with both private and public high schools, I would submit to you that there are four main things that private schools routinely do that public schools don’t, rarely do or don’t do as well:

1. Private schools regularly cultivate a sense of superiority.

Private secondary schools have done an exceptional job of positioning themselves as superior. This has led to the perception that they are. And as they say, perception is or can become reality.

2. Private schools regularly cultivate, communicate with and engage all of their various constituencies.

Private schools, as a practical matter, have to regularly reach out to and engage all of their constituencies – current students and parents, prospective students and parents, alumni and alumni parents and others as well. As a result, there is a much greater sense and depth of loyalty and tradition in private high schools than there is in most public today.

3. Private schools regularly recruit students.

As a matter of survival, private high schools have also had to regularly showcase their programs and schools and recruit potential students whereas most public don’t and don’t feel they have to.

4. Private schools regularly and more professionally raise funds from all of their various constituencies.

Private high schools have also had to, as a matter of survival, routinely raise funds from all of their various constituencies. Most have even hired staff members that are specifically trained and devoted to doing this. Consequently, they approach fundraising in a more professional way than public schools do today. As a result, they raise more money than public schools do, which has enabled them to somewhat level the playing field – resource wise so-to-speak – with their public school counterparts. In addition, because this money is voluntarily given, there is a greater sense of commitment to the schools and programs contributed to by their constituents.

Public schools can and should learn from this. To raise their games so-to-speak, they should take these plays from their private high school counterparts’ playbooks and emulate them.

Similarly, private schools should learn from their public school counterparts, and they should start to form booster clubs and raise funds for each of their various extra-curricular activities. This won’t take away support from people’s overall supportiveness. It can and will only add to it.

In short, high schools and their booster clubs should learn from and emulate one another in terms of what each does well. This can and will lead to the improved success of their schools and arts and athletic programs as well.

Choosing A Good Early Childhood Education Program For You And Your Toddler

Good early childhood education programs create and offer on a day to day basis a partnership between your family and their teacher caregivers. Finding a loving, caring place for your exploring toddler may take sometime so be sure to start early and give yourself an opportunity to visit several programs.

First, look for early childhood education programs licensed with either the Department of Health or the Department of Education in your state. Licensed programs must meet certain criteria for the health, safety and education of young children. Requirements vary from state to state. Call the Department of Health or the Department of Education and they can give you a list of licensed programs in your area.

Second, make phone calls, ask questions and schedule a tour. To learn what is available you may want to visit center based programs, home based programs and even interview nannies to work in your home. Talk with other parents who already have their child enrolled in a program you are interested in. Choosing an early childhood education program for your toddler is a very important and personal choice.

Third, visit several programs. Go prepared with a written list of questions. What you want to see as you visit early childhood education programs are small group sizes. The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends maximum group size of 12 toddlers, with 1 teacher caregiver for no more than 6 toddlers (preferably fewer i.e. State of Connecticut requires 1 teacher caregiver for every 4 toddlers and maximum group size is 8 toddlers). This allows for a high level of supervision that toddlers require. Your state agency requirements may have different ratios.

In your toddler’s early childhood education program you want to see:

o Toddlers have a primary teacher caregiver so they can develop a strong relationship together. Your toddler’s teacher caregiver comes to know your toddlers individual personality, needs and cues and builds a strong positive communication with you.

o Caregivers who are positive and praise toddlers for their accomplishments. Toddlers then become more in control of themselves and positive.

o Teacher caregivers promptly respond to toddler’s cries or other signs of frustration because they realize toddlers do not yet have the language skills to communicate their needs.

o Teacher caregivers are good role models by treating others kindly and with respect. As language development builds teacher caregivers encourage toddlers to use their words to resolve differences.

o Teacher caregivers smile, use pleasant voice tones, give hugs and pats on back, and hold toddlers in lap throughout the day.

o Physical space and activities are age appropriate allowing children to explore experiment and be actively involved in their learning environment.

o Teacher caregivers read to children during the day 1 on 1 on adults lap or in groups of 2 or 3 children. Teacher caregivers sing, do finger plays and act out stories with children.

o Sturdy picture books that show different cultural and racial groups, various types of families and different ages.

o Toddlers encouraged to do everyday tasks such as eating, dressing themselves, toileting, washing hands. With opportunities and support toddlers will be learning new skills and better control of their behavior.

o Teacher caregivers follow proper health and safety procedures to include hand washing and universal precautions. Written procedures are posted in designated areas in the classroom.

o Teacher caregivers directly supervise all children by sight and sound, even at nap time.

o Teacher caregivers provide curriculum so that toddlers have a variety of activities that include large-muscle play indoors and outdoors. Check to see that play equipment is safe. Equipment should be challenging for toddlers and separate from older children. Teacher child ratios should be maintained the same outside as they are in the classroom.

o Caring and responsive teacher caregivers with training and or an early childhood education specific to the toddler age.

Fourth, you want to feel that you are always welcome in your child’s early childhood education center or home and can arrive at any time unannounced. Teacher caregivers see parents as the primary source of love, affection and care of their child. Teacher caregivers support parents and work to build a healthy professional relationship taking care of the whole family unit.

Fifth, toddlers are explorers and are very inquisitive about their world. They are always on the move looking for new and exciting activities and sights. Sometimes this appears to be a discipline problem however you may find that this is a toddler’s challenge to understand how he/she fits into the world.

Finally, toddlers learn best through play, investigation, exploration, observation and going at their own pace. Between the ages of 1 -3 years so many exciting developments occur. You want to offer your toddler an early childhood education environment that gives him/her a chance to take part in meaningful activities either alone or in a small group. This gives your toddler an opportunity to make choices and practice his/her social skills by sharing and getting along with others. They like to pretend to do what you do, dress up like mommy or daddy, scribble with crayons, read picture books, stack blocks, kick balls, eat with a spoon and fork, string beads, do puzzles and the list goes on.

A high quality early childhood education program works with you the parents. This provides your child with the learning activities he/she needs to become an individual who feels good about themselves, can sustain themselves and grow up to be a productive member of society. Good beginnings never end!

Building and Managing a High School Soccer Program

The following interview is with Coach Bill Bratton, who was my Soccer Coach at Cross Keys High School in Atlanta, Georgia for the school year 1989-1990. I asked him for an interview to share his thoughts on Soccer. He has been involved with Soccer for over 25 years so I wanted to pick his brain on the subject.

Stafford:

Hello Coach, you have been coaching high school soccer for over 25 years. How did you first get involved in the sport?

Coach Bill Bratton:

Hi Stafford and thank you. Well I started coaching soccer in 1982 in DeKalb County in my first year teaching at Sequoyah High. The previous coach had left and the school needed someone to coach. The principal offered me the opportunity to take over the program.

Stafford:

How was that experience for you and how did you prepare for this new role as a High School Soccer Coach?

Coach Bill Bratton:

I will admit I had never played or coached soccer before. In the off season I spent time preparing and learning by reading books and going to clinics. I will also admit that the players knew more about the skills, the formations and what it took to play the game than I did but it was the coaching organization of putting a team together to play as a team that was my strength. I really enjoyed coaching soccer once I mastered the knowledge I needed.

Stafford:

How long did you coach at Sequoyah and how did you end up at Cross Keys?

Coach Bill Bratton:

I coached Sequoyah for 4 years before DeKalb began a consolidation program and I transferred to Cross Keys in 1986. I had the privilege of coaching the Keys program for the next 20 years. I earned my Georgia class D coaching license as well as a Class C level National Coaching license from the USSF. The situation at Cross Keys was much like Sequoyah, they needed a new soccer coach and the AP who would become the principal offered me the position.

Stafford:

How was the situation at Cross Keys, and what did it take to build the program?

Coach Bill Bratton:

It took hard work and discipline to build the program. My job involved rebuilding a program. It had lost its organization, discipline was amuck, and the program wasn’t winning, just 2 years from finishing 3rd in the state. I had to incorporate discipline into the program and to teach players what playing on a school competitive team meant and was needed to win. This progress was going to take many years to complete.

Players would tell me “Coach we just want to play”. Cross Keys was a highly transient school. It was a constant rebuilding progress every year. They had no understanding of playing as a team, that they had to come to practice, to commit, and to be successful they had to play as a team. As I look back that took 2-3 years to get across. Once we reached the point of players returning consistently, I started instilling in the players that we were playing to win. They were playing in a competitive environment. If they just wanted to play there were rec teams, club teams, and other leagues they could go and “just play”.

There were teams that we could beat just based on talent and skill alone so we had to start winning those games. Slowly players started to understand, but they had no knowledge of what playing for a State Championship” was or meant. But we started to win games we should of and it was time to go to the next level, winning games that were 50-50. Again this level took 3-4 years to develop. I constantly had to preach to the teams what we were out there to accomplish. We wanted to win games and develop. After getting to the point of winning 50-50 games, we needed to win games that we were not expected to win. Our goal was to make the region playoffs to go to the state playoffs. The final step in the development was to defeat teams no one expected us to. It was always my belief that we had the ability, the skills to play with anyone and defeat anyone on any given day. In my last 5 years at the Keys we had two teams to reach the 2nd round (sweet 16) level of the state playoffs.

Stafford:

Awesome! I see a pattern here and a valuable lesson to be learned. An opportunity was presented; Rather than turn it down because you had no prior experience in soccer at that time, you made the effort to learn about the subject by spending time ” preparing and learning by reading books and going to clinics”, etc. You mentioned it took work and discipline and eventually you mastered the knowledge that was needed to coach high school soccer, which I saw when my old high school merged with Cross Keys and I ended up playing for you in my senior year. You seemed to have had a passion for soccer and knowledge of the game and the know-how to get players excited for the game and team unity. But all of that was accomplished through your own hard work and effort. How important is “discipline” for the aspiring soccer player and anyone in general?

Coach Bill Bratton:

Let me start out by saying that I believe discipline is an important attribute for anyone to have. To achieve individual or team goals one must have self-discipline. Discipline can have many different meaning to each person. It can be a commitment to attending practices, to going beyond what is asked of one to do to prepare. Discipline comes from having goals and achieving goals come from being disciplined. Some say that my teams were disciplined. On a team there can be only one chief who must lead and lead by setting the discipline of what is expected from others. The others must be willing to accept the standards and work together to achieve for the benefit of the whole and not the individual. If the team has discipline many other honors will come their way.

For many years as the coach I would tell the teams our goals, the purpose of what we will be trying to achieve, and that to reach these ideals we must all be on the same page. Some years I would have players who as the season would progress would disagree with the discipline and feel that certain things were unfair. They would question the purpose, the lineup, and the style of play or other team discipline. Of course I would try to talk with them, explain what was being done and why, listen to their side of the picture. I always had an open door if a player wanted to talk or discuss issues but not in public or at practice or during a game. I recall one instance where 5 players who I had taken out of a game and disagreed with my decision that they left the team bench and set in the stands. These players were removed from the team immediately after the game. On another team years later the players felt the formation we were playing and the players in those positions was wrong. This time I gave that team the chance to play the players and the formation they felt we needed to be playing. I said you have a half to show me that I am wrong and if it doesn’t work it will be done my way and there will be no more discussion and if you cannot agree with my decisions you have a decision that only you can make. Well the team’s way didn’t work so at halftime I told the team I gave you your opportunity now it will be done my way.

I always in my 26 years of coaching have told every team that I coach (you might recall this)… I don’t care who you are, I don’t care how good you are (even if you are the best player), or who you know… If you have to be disciplined you will be disciplined. No matter how much it might hurt the team, you know the rules and you know if you break the rules you will be disciplined and I will discipline you.

Stafford:

Thanks Coach. Have you had any experience with Club Soccer (soccer outside of the school system)? What is your thought on Club Soccer and its impact on High School Soccer? For example, some players who play high school soccer in the Spring may have Club teams that they play for that trains Summer, Fall and even Winter!

Coach Bill Bratton:

My experience on coaching Club has been limited as I coached one year with a U-14 boys’ team with Roswell Santos club league. We won the Fall and Spring season championship. A few years later I worked with Concorde Soccer coaching a U-12 boys team for a year.

If a player is looking to be seen and has the dream of playing at the college level then the club system is the way to go. But keep in mind that this is for elite level players. If they are good enough there is a program that they can go through to reach a higher level of play if they have the talent. First is to be selected on a top level team, to try out for the State select teams, to reach Regional recognition, etc. In the summer they should attend a quality soccer camp to improve their skills and to be seen by college coaches. In high school some club coaches look down at the high school programs and encourage players not to play on their school teams for a lack of quality coaching, getting injured, lack of talent, and low level of play from many schools.

I encourage my players to find a club team to play on in the off seasons as it can only help to make them better. In the Fall if they are not playing on a club team, I encourage players to practice Cross Country to start developing their stamina and if possible to go out for wrestling in the Winter. Some club players come into the High School level and will tell me they can only play a midfield or an outside wing position. I try to teach my players that even though they played center midfield on their club team they are a great fit in the defense on the school team. Players need to keep an open mind and be willing to play the position that will give the team they are on the opportunity to be competitive and a chance to win.

Stafford:

Thanks Coach! Having been a club coach for several years, I can relate to the statement “some club coaches look down at the high school program and encourage players not to play on their school teams from a lack of quality coaching, getting injured, lack of talent, level of play from many schools.” Not that I have ever made that statement. However, that statement may have had some validity in the past, but do you see this changing as new generation of teachers who may be coaching high school or middle school presently are actually former soccer players who are also teachers, but may want to use the high school experience as a career path for some form of College/Professional coaching? This may be the case for some private schools.

Coach Bill Bratton:

Yes I see this getting better. The coaching at the high school level has shown major improvement in the coaches’ knowledge of the game. High schools teams now, like club teams can hire community coaches to help coach teams now and pay a stipend. These individuals must take the state required courses to become a community coach and follow the rules of the school, the county and state as they coach. So high school coaches who might lack in the skills and able to find someone willing to coach to teach/work coaching the players the skills or to work on the strategies and tactical aspects of the game. This is what many club teams do now. They have a person to run the run but pay hundreds of dollars a month for a named/quality individual who was a former player, etc to actual do the coaching.

Stafford:

****Coach Bratton retired in 2006, but after 7 years he wanted to get back into coaching and took over the varsity boys position at a High School in Fulton County (Georgia) as a community coach. It was great speaking to him again after so many years. ****