“Just like a high-rise building needs a strong foundation to support the structure above, the foundations for education and life-long learning are laid during the early childhood period” (Evans, 2002).
Formative growth of brain, both before birth and during childhood is fundamental to physical, cognitive and emotional development of an individual. The brain at birth weighs only about 25 % of its eventual adult weight 1.5 kg.
Amazingly it reaches nearly 90% of that weight in only three years. By age 6, it is almost adult size and hence the framework of the brain structure formed. A child is born with 100 billion brain cells. When a child reaches the age of three 80% of synaptic connections are made. These connections (synapses) grow and
change as a result of stimulation from the environment. The personality of a child is formed by the age of 6 to 7 years. There is no longer a doubt about the importance of providing optimal brain development.
Early years of life are catalytic for the physical growth and mental development of children. Experts emphasize the need of special care and attention and an enabling environment for children during this period. Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) focuses on a holistic approach towards a child’s physical, emotional, social as well as cognitive development.
The objectives of ECED include nurturing the children for their physical and mental development and preparing them for schooling with right attitudes and habits.