“Learning starts in infancy, long before formal education begins, and continues throughout life ….” – James J. Heckman
The first five years of a child’s life determines his future success in his school, professional life and other aspects of life. This phase is the ideal period to develop the four important skills- physical, cognitive, emotional and social.
A study by Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) found that 29.5% or 1 out of 4 children about to take admission in Grade 1 has behavioral or learning difficulties. The survey also reveals that there is a huge gap between the prevailing early learning system and the expectations of the parents.
To fill in the gap, CCL has established the Early Childhood Learning Knowledge Centre under The Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development in collaboration with the University of Montreal.
Role of the Early childhood learning knowledge centre
CCL considers early childhood learning to be among the five priority issues along with adult learning, aboriginal learning and so on. It has set up the association of organizations called the Early Childhood Knowledge Centre to be the source of knowledge and expertise on early childhood learning.
The role of the government and the CCL is to identify and promote best practices along with leveraging monitoring and reporting on the issue of early learning conditions in Canada. This includes enabling children to help develop their cognitive abilities early.
To do this, CCL will also identify important aspects for research and build up a network so that crucial knowledge on early childhood learning can be exchanged seamlessly across the nation.
The centre will come up with measures which ensure that every child attains his or her full potential.
Another important area covered by the centre involves developing additional indicators for assessing early learning. It will also encourage the use of the effective indicators that deliver important information on development of the child prior to birth till 4 years of age. The centre also cultivates awareness about environmental indicators in which the child grows up and ways to facilitate learning.
Currently the centre receives a funding up to $1.5 million each year to run its operations. It represents all of the stakeholders of early learning including researchers, educators, child practitioners and community associations. It will benefit each and every professional who is provides their service to guardians from pregnancy to entry in formal education of the child.
The days ahead…
The future of Canadian children rests on the shoulders of the stakeholders including the government. They have to be provided a strong foundation to realize their full potential in life. But it cannot be achieved unless complete information about the state of early learning is available.
The Early Childhood Learning Knowledge Centre has taken role to develop strategies and practices to optimize the collection of information on early learning. It has a long way to go to fulfill its mission.