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How the early years of learning can set your child up for success

Early learning sets the foundation for academic and career success later in life. In this article we explore why early learning has such a large impact.

NEWS 18 Dec 2023

Did you know that from the day a child is born to the age of five a child learns faster than they ever will. In fact, over 85% of a child’s brain development occurs during this time.

These early years and the ones immediately following set the foundation for lifelong learning, so it is vital we ensure they are a positive, enriching experience.

The impact of a positive early learning experience

A positive early learning experience has countless benefits for young students. During this time young brains are rapidly growing and forming new pathways that may help form their abilities later in life.

If a child has a stimulating early learning experience these new neural connections can form in a positive way, which can improve a young student’s cognitive, language and literacy skills, as well as bolstering their emotional wellbeing later in life.

In fact, many prominent studies have shown that when comparing children who have had quality early childhood learning experiences with those who have not, several differences are evident. The children who received quality learning experiences scored higher academically, went further in school and were employed at a higher rate.

High-quality early learning is also linked with improved social and language skills, better mental health later in life and even a longer lifespan. In other words, it sets a foundation for a happy, productive and fulfilling life. But with all that said, Haileybury’s evidence-based teaching philosophy supports students, but also enables them to learn for themselves.

"We know that children thrive in an environment rich in opportunities and provocations that spark ideas and curiosities. We value the importance of nurturing skills for independence and resilience in young children, and actively support the promotion of positive relationships and experiences within the learning environment," says Lisa Christopher, Director of ELC at Haileybury.

“Our practices are based on the underlying notion of not doing anything for children that they may be able to do themselves”

What does a positive early learning experience look like?

We know that high-quality early learning can have a profound impact on a child later in life, but what should that learning experience actually look like?

  • First and foremost it should encourage children to engage in learning and be curious about life’s complexities by providing a stimulating environment. After all, a curious child will want to learn and a child who wants to learn will go far in life.
  • Next, it is important to spend time developing language, literacy, numeracy, science, social thinking, inclusion and historical knowledge using play-based and interactive learning activities. These lessons and play-based learning sessions should be evidence based and delivered by experienced, qualified teachers, naturally.
  • Last but not least, there should always be a focus on each child’s wellbeing to ensure they feel valued and safe, both as an individual and as a member of the community. By meeting each child’s needs we can foster their budding self-esteem and build their confidence.

All of this should be undertaken by a quality school in close partnership with the child’s parents or caregivers. The learning experience need not stop when the school bell rings either. In fact, children do a great deal of their learning at home by interacting, reading, and playing with their parents, siblings and friends. Even watching their family interact with one another can be a learning experience for your little one.

Creating this ideal learning environment at home and at school takes time, care and the effort of experienced teachers, but it is worth it. The evidence tells us that if the child’s home and learning environment is nurturing, stimulating and engaging in these formative years it can have an outsized positive impact on the rest of their learning and in fact, their entire life.