Tellingly, education begins from the moment the child is brought home from the hospital and continues on when the child starts to attend playgroups and kindergartens. The learning capabilities of humans continue for the rest of their lives but not at the intensity that is demonstrated in the preschool years. With this in mind, Gambian babies and toddlers need positive early learning experiences to help their intellectual, social and emotional development and this lays the foundation for later school success.
It is true that young children learn best when they have an opportunity to interact with their peers, and their parents and instructors treat them kindly. Likewise, children learn best when instruction and educational activities are only a small portion of their days. This is especially true of children enrolled in pre-school programmes since it is not good for young children to be separated from their parents for extended periods of time.
Our children’s well-being should not be taken for granted in terms of proper legislation and policy. The involvement of all stakeholders in this critical sector is particularly important. The government has the biggest say in this and it should note that the improvement of the status of ECD in our country is an imperative that is geared towards the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals.
A major characteristic of pre-school education is that ECD centres serve a wide cross-section of children from different social, economic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. The government should allocate more resources to the development of ECD centres. Early developmental opportunities establish a critical foundation for children’s academic success, health, and general wellbeing. In addition, significant investment in ECD results in greater social cohesion and better academic performance.
In equal measure, these centres also provide children with consistent routines and unlimited learning opportunities, and provide families with the security of knowing their child is in a safe and nurturing environment. During these early years, children go through critical stages of development, and consistent, high-quality care can have beneficial and long-lasting effects on the overall development of children.
Therefore, Gambian children need such centres. It is now left to the government to ensure that policies are pursued at all levels to promote their development. After all, it is about nurturing our children to become smarter people. This could bode well for our country as it clearly places itself on a path to prosperity.]]>