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The City School organized an education symposium to highlight the importance of Early Years Education By: Khurram Zia Khan

In recent years, researchers have learned that the human brain develops the vast majority of its neurons, and is most receptive to learning between birth and three years of age. In fact, the intake of new information is critical to the formation of active neural pathways. 
Children’s early experiences – the bonds they form with their parents and their first learning experiences – deeply affect their future physical, cognitive, emotional and social development.

Optimizing the early years of children’s lives is the best investment we can make as a society in ensuring their future success.
The emotional,social and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development which determines the type of adult they will become. That is why understanding the need to invest in very young children is highly important to maximize their future well-being. 

Globally the focus on early year’s education is rising. 

In Pakistan many educational institutions are providing early years education but they have no knowledge and information about its benefits and as such they not only fail to convince parents but are also unable to impart quality early years education required to develop a child’s learning capacity. Poor or low quality education in early years can prove counterproductive and it may harm a child instead of benefiting him/her.

Institutions like The City School and a few others have a complete Early Years Education program in place and it is imperative that parents send their children to only those educational institutions that are aware of modern methods of imparting early years education.

The City School in order to the highlight importance of Early Years Education organized the nation’s first ever symposium on Early Years Education, entitled “Thought Leaders”. The symposium convened a platform for renowned experts and influencers to exchange best practices and cutting edge research in designing, developing and managing high performance learning environments for early childhood education. The Symposium drew on a combination of speaker sessions, panel discussions and workshops engaging local stakeholders, early years’ practitioners, schools and parents, to set the future direction for this critical area of education

During the symposium, children enthralled participants with their performances. Various crafts and other interesting art and craft specific items made by children were also displayed at the symposium other than the highly impressive role play sessions being managed by teachers.

A panel discussion titled ‘Developing 21st century skills’ also took place at the symposium. Eminent personalities were part of this panel discussion who shared their views on different aspects of education.
Mr Abbas Hussain while expressing his views said that teachers today should practice 4Cs of the 21st century which are collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. Mr. Irfan Haider, another panelist while highlighting parent’s role said that parents especially mothers should remain involved in a child's upbringing as a teacher and the school is just concerned with the scholastic development of a child. Therefore a mother's love can't be replaced or substituted. Romana Hussain raised a critical point about the medium of education. She was of the view that the medium of education should be in a child's mother tongue at the early years if we want learning to take place. Saboohi Irtiza, GM Early Years Academics at The City School while expressing her views said that the contribution of the whole family in the development of the child is very important and that it’s not just limited to good schooling alone. Social constructivism is an essential strategy in developing 21st century skills in students. Zainab Mehmood, Salman Asif, Khaled Anum and Audrey D’ Souza also expressed their views.

The focus of the symposium was on preparing children for the 21st century, which is characterized by great technological advancements. Technology has advanced education and is playing a vital role in personalizing learning, encouraging collaboration, and preparing students for the future. The City School is investing heavily in integrating technology in the classroom, employing innovative teaching and learning methods to ensure that its students are well prepared for the 21st century. The Symposium was broadcast live on YouTube on TCS' Official YouTube Channel, another first for Pakistan.

The City School through this symposium helped remove misconceptions about early years’ education prevailing in our society. People usually believe that learning should start after children reach five years of age. The City School through its ‘Though Leader Symposium’ managed to remove this misconception and highlighted the fact that the best age for learning among children is from 18 month to 36 months.

The “Thought Leaders” symposium organized by The City School is an excellent initiative. Hope other educational institutions also organize similar activities in order to spread the message about the importance of early years education to the far flung areas of the country.

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