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Top 3 Early Childhood Education Myths Debunked By An Educator With 30 Years Of Experience
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  • At age three, children leave the stage of infancy and enters the early childhood stage, which is also called the preschool age. This is the time when children reach the 3-year-old development milestones and learns basic academic skills, such as reading (read here) and writing (read here).

    Many parents send their kids to preschool for early childhood education. But there are those who wonder if they should enrol their kids at an earlier age, believing that such move will give their kids a head start. Is this true, though, or just one of those early childhood education myths?

    Smart Parenting gets the answers from early childhood educator Thumby Server Veloso. She's called Teacher Thumby or Ms. Thumby by children in her two schools, Toddlers Unlimited and Thinkers Unlimited, where she also sits as the school director.

    Teacher Thumby is a member of the Smart Parenting Board of Experts, an advisory board of medical professionals, educators, financial experts, psychologists, and diplomates who are ready to answer parents’ questions and provide evidence-based advice.

    She debunks the top 3 early childhood education myths in a video series on the Board of Experts posted on the Smart Parenting YouTube channel.

    Myth #1: Earlier is better

    Parents ask, "Will enrolling my child early make him smarter? Totoo ba?"

    Teacher Thumby says, "Not necessarily."

    She explains, "As a school owner, when parents ask me if they have to enroll their young children, I always tell them it depends on their goals, family dynamics, and the child’s readiness.

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    "Children who will be left at home with adults who will not be able to engage them in meaningful interactions for big chunks of the day—for example magti-TV lang sila—are better off in good early childhood programs."

    She points out, "Let me emphasize that young children benefit from high quality early childhood programs. But if your child will be surrounded by siblings and family members who can play with your child, engage them in a lot of verbal interactions and have a stimulating home environment, then there is no need to rush to school."

    Myth #2: MORE studying = BETTER studying

    Parents ask, "Will making my child study more make her study better? Totoo ba?"

    Teacher Thumby says, "No."

    She explains, "There’s a saying, 'More isn’t always better. It’s just more.' Of course we believe that practice makes perfect, but as the parent, you should also know when to draw the line and say when it’s enough."

    Teacher Thumby gives these tips:

    1. Look out for signs of frustration, fatigue, loss of focus, anxiety, anger, and even sadness.

    She points out, "Nobody wants to push their children to the point that they will absolutely hate studying."

    2. If you want your child to get better at a subject, look for options.

    Examples:

    If science is an issue, get them into a robotics or coding program.

    If math is a problem, find a class that is fun or teaches math in a different way from how your child’s school is doing it. Some people believe learning to play a musical instrument helps the brain get better at math.

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    The early childhood educator with a Master's degree in Family Life and Child Development from the University of the Philippines has this reminder: "If your child is learning bits from TikTok, just make sure your child is learning from a real teacher or one with a good reputation."

    (Read here for tips on parenting digital natives and Gen Z kids.)

    Myth #3: Certain shows make learning easier

    Parents ask, "Will letting my child watch Sesame Street, Cocomelon, and similar shows make my child learn more easily? Totoo ba?"

    Teacher Thumby says, "Hindi."

    She explains, "While these shows have educational benefits such as lovable characters, catchy songs, or even fun lessons that young children actually sit through and listen to, there is still no comparison between learning by watching a show against learning through active involvement and person-to-person interactions, especially among young children."

    She explains, "When children learn from watching a program it’s one way, from the screen to your child."

    She adds, "But when the child learns by exploring things around them or when playing with other people, there’s a back-and-forth dynamic that builds better pathways in the brain and helps more areas of development such as language, motor, social, emotional, and even cognitive."

    Watch Teacher Thumby debunks the top three early childhood education myths in this video:

    Read here on how to prepare for your child's preschool interview.

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