An independent co-ed IB school (JK to Grade 12) in North Vancouver, Canada
Why Early Learning Matters and What to Look for in a Program.


There is abundant literature that speaks to the significance of high quality early learning programming. Engagement in authentic and child-centred early learning experiences can have a powerful impact on a child’s overall development, on their aptitude to learn throughout their life, and on their lifelong success and happiness.

Research has established that the human brain develops the majority of its neural pathways in the early years of life; the young brain is considered to have high neural plasticity. Early childhood is a time of rapid cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and motor development. However, with age, the neural plasticity lessens and the learning capacities slow. While perhaps not great news for our adult brains, the impact of this reality is significant for our children: the more the brain is stimulated early on in life, the greater the number of cognitive connections that will become solidified(Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000; Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD),2018). 

Yet, the extraordinary plasticity of the young brain is not enough to ensure that early learning actually happens. Rather, the foundations of early development have been determined to depend on a nurturing and stimulating environment provided by: family, early learning services/programs, and the wider community (OECD, 2018).   

Contextual Factors Influencing a Child’s Early Learning (OECD, 2018)


Source: OECD, 2018 - adapted from OECD, 2015, Skills for Social Progress: The Power of Social and Emotional Skills, OECD Skills Studies. OECD Publishing.


In short, high-quality early learning programs: 

  • can help children build a strong foundation for the cognitive and socioemotional skills necessary to navigate through life’s challenges;
  • can better prepare children for school and can predict higher academic performances;
  • can enrich the home learning environment and combat various disadvantages that might otherwise hinder children’s development and integration; and
  • can lead to better overall outcomes (OECD, 2018; Yoshikawa & Weiland, 2013).
Authentic and child-centred environment with hands-on exploration and inquiry-based learning.


In visioning it’s Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten, Brockton School identified (as supported by research) that amongst the most important aspects of a quality early learning program are: 

  • an authentic and child-centred environment;
  • stimulating and supportive interactions between teachers and children where there is a personalized approach that recognizes each students’ unique needs and strengths;
  • teachers who extend commitment, enthusiasm, and compassion to all of their students and families, and who value the teacher-student-parent relationship;
  • teachers who recognize the worth of creative, hands-on classroom exploration, enhanced by learning in the outdoors and in the local community;
  • teachers who effectively design/implement/maintain a developmentally appropriate curriculum (note: Brockton School embraces the inquiry-based International Baccalaureate program, adapted appropriately for developmental levels, as its framework for learning from Junior Kindergarten through to Grade 12);
  • the opportunity for students to establish healthy relationships with peers and with the community at large;
  • the opportunity for students to develop emotional self-awareness, strategies for reflection, and a growth mind-set;
  • an appropriate ratio of teachers to students such that each child receives the attention required and deserved for optimal learning;
  • highly trained and qualified teachers, including specialist teachers, who have a thorough understanding of the early learning years and associated strategies; and
  • effective support, mentoring, and coaching programs for teachers/staff along with appropriate facilities and resources.

When Brockton School’s Early Learning (Junior Kindergarten) program was launched in 2016, each of these considerations was prioritized and incorporated. Today, Brockton’s community continues to see the benefits of the extraordinarily successful early learning program, complete with its outstanding teachers, happy families, and inspired students. Indeed, Brockton looks to provide continued access (including financial aid) to those interested/willing to make such a program a priority for their child(ren). As per its mission statement, Brockton School embraces the genius of each child, starting in the early learning years, and inspires the growth of outstanding humans. It is a mission that speaks to the fundamental desires of parents for their children, and at the same time, it speaks to a bright future for our local and global communities. 

Please visit: or contact the authors for more information. 

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Brockton Early Learning Art Class: excellent ratio of teachers:students & highly trained/qualified teachers, including specialists.

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