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October 24, 2019

Suggestions on Early Childhood Learning and Development

  • By Lokethar

The National Education Law (NEL) states that Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) promotes the holistic development using developmentally appropriate methods for children from birth to age eight. Preschool is for children aged three to five years to develop their physical, intellectual, moral, social and psychological skills and prepare them for continuing into primary education. Besides, according to learning psychologists, researches show that the age around three to six is most receptive period for learning and it will enhance learning ability throughout life. It’s imperative that Early Childhood Education should be gradually extended to cover all children in the whole of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
The National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) 2016-2021, was developed to implement education policies, strategies and programs for the different but related areas and levels of Education. Under the plan, I suppose, Committees for the various levels of education were formed and tasked with developing curricula and learning materials for the level assigned to them.
I’d like to if I may , as a lay citizen, make suggestions as to the “Contents” of one of the important new Early Childhood Learning text books developed by the Committee concerned. I am offering my suggestions with a view to the future, after accessing through the internet, the proposed English Text Grade 1.
First and foremost, I would like to congratulate the “designers” of the English Text Grade 1 for the lay out and the nice pictures in the book. At the same time I would like to suggest inclusion of, in addition to the traditional ABC Alphabet Chart (A for Apple, B for Ball, C for Cup etc.) in the English Text Grade 1, an Alphabet Chart based on the “Natural Environment”. I think it would be more in line with a “21st Century learning agenda”. It would be more attuned to the “Natural Environment”, concern for the state of which is being echoed around the World. My suggestion is to start teaching in early childhood, the Alphabets (as well as the vocabulary) using a Chart that is about raising awareness of the “Natural Environment” we live in.
The suggested “ABC Environmental Alphabet Chart” would comprise of Alphabets relating to the various aspects of the natural environment as for example; A for Air, B for Birds, C for clouds, D for Dawn, E for earth and so on. Similarly group songs about the“ Natural Environment” would raise Environmental Awareness of the children as well. An “ABC Environmental Alphabet Song” could be composed (by the song writers) along the lines of the “ABC Environmental Alphabet Chart” suggested.
The present traditional ABC Chart in the English Text Book Grade 1 which, as I understand, is also meant to be used in vocabulary development of the children, would continue to be used, as it is referred to in the many lessons that are in the said English Text Grade 1.
As for increasing the “vocabulary” of the children, showing pictures of objects or the real objects wherever and whenever possible, and letting them “touch” and “feel” the objects – lets say an Apple or Mango or a Flower, would increase their “perception” of the same and hence enhance learning.
While the mind is being developed the body should be too. Playing outdoors, as well exercising to improve strength and stamina, learning to walk distances, run, climb and swim, should be included in the “Curriculum”. Drilling them as to what they should do in case natural or man-made disasters happen, should also be included. It will see them better prepared to react to such events.
We need to ensure good physical and mental development in early child hood through better nutrition if we are to nurture healthy future citizens who would be able to contribute fully to society. That holds also for “breeding”, if I may use the term, physically well developed “sportspersons” as well.
And one last suggestion which I am sure, will set me against, maybe all the parents and all the class teachers. “Home Work” should be reduced . It will increase their “play time” at home, which is conducive to learning of social skills.
With Charity towards all and Malice towards none.

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