When we think of education, another word that comes into our mind is the school. School education is provided with a definite pattern of instruction, evaluation and discipline and also it has a certain curriculum and a certain goal in its view. But for babies below four years of age, all these things are of no meaning. They have a world of their own. So their education starts in the home itself. Apart from the basic techniques of daily use like sitting, crawling, standing, holding things, walking, and turning, etc., that the infants learn very quickly of their own with only a little outside help, they need to be educated in some more departments of daily life. For example it is up to the caretakers to teach the baby what is wrong and what is right.
Generally all small children have a tendency to pick up every thing they can in their hands and try to put that into their mouths. But we all know that everything in this world is not an eatable. So babies are required to be taught, what are eatables and which one is not! --Not only the eatables but their quantities also. They need to be taught that anything eaten beyond the limit can cause diseases in the body.
Similarly at their early age the babies do not know which animal is dangerous for them and they need not go nearer to those animals or to flirt with them. For example dog, cat, certain insects, and flies, etc., can bite very severely if disturbed. The abovementioned animals are generally found around every locality inhabited by us. For elders they are not much of a problem but for babies they are!
In the case of eatables, if a baby touches anything with his tongue, which is bitter or very hot in nature, it may give a sort of lesson to him by itself. But in the case of animals this type of lesson may not be there and the risk of loosing too much is always there. In a house the elders should take care of the language they use to communicate with each other and the way in which they behave with all other people. This is because babies are always tuned in a learning mood. They may seem to be silent but their unconscious mind is never silent. It picks up each and every happening that takes place around it. Suppose the parents quarrel with each other very often or they use very harsh or vulgar words to communicate, you can take it granted that a baby in that house will grow up learning all these things and will most likely show the same behavior in the later part of his life!
General counting as one, two, three, four, five is also taught at home. This counting is very important for a baby. How many toys he wants? How many biscuits he has eaten? How many pictures he has seen? Like this there are many other phenomenon, which require counting.
Now take the case of cleanliness. The babies between three to four years should be educated in this regard as to how to brush their teeth and why, how to take a bath and why, why to comb your hair, why to use tumblers and other utensils to eat or drink, why not to spread things here and there, how to wear your clothes, why to wash your hands before eating, and how to go the toilet, etc.? If a child is not made habitual of cleanliness at his early age in the house, he may become a problem child in the school, later on!
One more very important aspect, which every parent must educate the babies is not to pick up and keep things possessed by others without their consent. Since not doing so we may encourage our children unconsciously to become a thief when they are grown up. For this sometimes they may be reprimanded if not agreeing with the advice. We should also tell our children not to touch like broken glass, sharp edged iron pieces, and thorny plants in the garden like cactus, etc., since they may injure themselves by doing so as they do not know the consequences prior to their activities. Also there are electricity switchboards in almost every part of the house here and there. Every baby who can stand and walk, should be educated the fatal results of trying to play with electricity. All the children have a general tendency to copy their elders so one should not do any activity in front of the babies carelessly because the babies would surely try to do the same activity in the absence of elders.
Playing with water is another activity, which requires some attention. Children who do not have a very good balance while standing or those who fall very frequently while walking are very accident prone if they play with water. For example, if there is a big bucket full of water placed in a bathroom, generally, a baby would try to do some activities of his own like splashing the water with his hands or trying to drink that water by taking his mouth directly into the bucket or trying to wet his hair by half drowning his head into the water, and so on! The children are required to be educated that they should not go near any big vessel or even a small pond with water collected in it without the company of any elderly person. It is also very necessary to teach them about holding things in their hands especially their toys, as there can be more than one baby in every house. Whenever two or more same age babies play with each other with the toys belonging to a particular baby, it is seen very often that they tend to loose their temper very soon. In most cases the fights have possession of toys as the main reason. So every baby should be taught that the toys are there to be played with and not to be used as weapons in a war. Also for good education the toys should be of such shapes, sizes and types that they help the child to enhance his general knowledge of the surroundings and should not be sharp edged anyhow. Also the babies should not be allowed to play with toys or games like guns, swords, sticks, and knives, etc.; as it is a proven fact that these types of toys and games mold the inner mind of the children into becoming a wicked and war-loving person rather than to develop himself into a loving and a loveable person in his life!
So we can say that to make a baby a good human being his education must start in the home where he lives before admitting him into a school.