Early childhood, defined as the period from birth to eight years old, is a time of remarkable growth with brain development at its peak. During this stage, children are highly influenced by the environment and the people that surround them.
Early childhood care and education (ECCE) is more than preparation for primary school. It aims at the holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing. ECCE can therefore-nurture caring, capable and responsible future individuals.
That’s why ECCE is one of the best investments a country can make to promote human resource development, gender equality and social cohesion, and to reduce the costs for remedial programs later. For disadvantaged children, including deaf children, ECCE plays an important role in compensating for the disadvantages in the family and combating educational inequalities.
Even though inclusive early education is fundamental to the developmental stages of every single child on this planet, there is a large deficit in the provision of inclusive early education globally, which has gone unnoticed by governments, schools, educators, civil society organizations and even development partner groups around the world.
It is estimated that globally nearly half of all pre-primary-age children are not enrolled in preschool. Also according to the Early Years Study, “the concept of ECE today replaces outdated notions of daycare. Instead of ‘a place kids go while mom works’, today’s early childhood education provides a first tier of education that is as important as those that follow’’
Not only is the present early childhood educational systems around the world not offering adequate opportunities to include deaf children, it also doesn’t foster a great environment to help all children practice and enhance their communication skills
Deafness is a hearing disorder, not a learning disability. When they are able to access equal educational opportunities as their hearing counterparts, deaf children can excel and reach their full potential in life; An example is the story of Alysha Allen, a deaf teacher from Brimsdown, United Kingdom, who was recently awarded for using sign language in her classroom to support communication between her and her students.