Canada’s third Early Years Study, released last week, recommends children as young as two be enrolled in early learning programs. The study, which is one of the last works of the late Dr. J Fraser Mustard, a long-time advocate for early learning, showed key brain developments take place before the age of four.
“When children are exposed to a stimulating learning environment in their earliest years, a pattern of wiring is stabilized in their brain,” said Natacha Beim, founder of Core Education & Fine Arts, Canada’s first Junior Kindergarten program. “The study supports what we already know, that children maximize their brain development through guided play before the age of kindergarten.”
Dr. Mustard visited Core Education & Fine Arts in 2006 and concluded the curriculum was what Canada’s early education system is missing. He strongly encouraged Beim to pursue the option of offering the program at a national level. Unlike daycares or preschools, CEFA Junior Kindergarten offers children and infants customized learning curriculums that align with the brain’s stage of development. The curriculum is executed through play.
“There are windows of opportunity to teach children to use their minds most effectively,” said Beim. “Once those windows close, the ability to learn is forever compromised.”
Beim has been advocating for her early learning curriculum to be adopted by Canada’s public education system for more than 15 years. At present, Core Education & Fine Arts operates privately in 10 locations across the Lower Mainland.
Beim hopes the latest report, which shows the return on investment in early education far exceeds investment in primary, secondary, or post secondary education, will encourage government to fundamentally change early education policy. Until that happens Beim will continue to expand CEFA™ one school at a time.