Early childhood education is the foundation of learning in the first part of a child's life, also known as the formative years. This is generally from birth to age eight. The formative years are the most vulnerable times as this is the time when the character is formed. What a child learns and experiences between birth and eight, will make or break his or her confidence. ECD teachers can help to build a child with a strong character that will adjust easily to all situations in life. It is important to cultivate a positive self-esteem at home and at school alike, using the following tips.
1. Unconditional love helps a child to feel secure in the knowledge that they are loved, even when they mess up. This creates a safe place for the child to venture out and try new things. Remember to praise the child for successful achievements and encourage new challenges that will teach valuable skills. The more encouragement you give, the more the children will try new things on their own.
2. Learning basic life skills helps a child develop a positive self-esteem. Teach the child basics such as dressing by themselves, tying shoe laces and tidying up his or her own toys when he or she is at preschool age is appropriate. Keep supplies such as hand washing soap and towels, clothes and toy baskets within easy reach.
3. Being part of the household, means taking responsibility – a valuable characteristic for everyone to know. Teach the child to make a valuable contribution to the household by letting him or her feed the dog, drying dishes, or doing other age specific tasks. Children tend to argument about taking turns to do chores. You may consider using a chore chart that keeps a tally as to who did what last.
4. Give children individual attention. Spend at least a few minutes every day with each child during routines and activities. Show that you are interested in what the child has to say and ask him or her questions. Let them know that their thoughts and opinions are important to you.
5. When kids tease each other, react by pointing out similarities and differences. Perhaps refer to a famous person who was also short, had red hair or freckles. It is important that they feel accepted, no matter what their failures or shortcomings. Point out one of their advanced skills or characteristics.