The nursery years are a vital stage of education and nursery education has been shown to influence a child’s success later on in their school career. Research from the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) has found that children who attend high-quality nurseries achieve higher GCSE grades than those who don’t. The emphasis of the study is placed on the quality of the nursery school.
Therefore, while utilising childcare for early years may be viewed as ‘neglectful’ or ‘lazy’ parenting by some people, it can be argued to be the exact opposite. Nursery education can provide a gentle welcome to the world of education and a move towards independence. Obtaining a nursery school education introduces a child to potential new friends and exposes them to experiences which provide them with confidence and security when the day arrives for them to start at ‘big school’.
Nursery school also helps parents to introduce their child to educational content and provides a social setting in which the children can learn from each other. What’s more, unlike school, it’s common and widely accepted for children to attend preschool part-time. In fact, studies have revealed that the improvements in academic performance seen in children who attended a nursery school are observed regardless of how many days a week they were there. With part-time nursery attendance, children can reap the combined benefits from both a secure and structured school environment and a comforting home environment.
Independent nurseries – what are their strengths?
When sending your child to an independent school, living within the catchment area isn’t a requirement, therefore it will not matter exactly where you live. This enables you to take your children to a location that works for you based on where you work, live or both. As a result, it’s also possible that your child will be part of an equally – if not more – diverse nursery group, with families coming from further afield. Mixing with children from different backgrounds will help to make your child a more well-rounded individual, and will also make for a fun classroom environment.
Extended opening times with an early drop-off and late pick-up can also be a godsend for busy parents. Many independent nurseries operate these longer hours which makes juggling family and work commitments. With this in mind, Cranmore School offers provision between 8:00am and 6:00pm. Similarly, internally ran transport services are often operated to and from private schools, so your child will be able to get to and from school independently but safely (and with friends) when they’re old enough to do so.
Even if not partaking in extracurricular activities at this age, it can be inspiring for children to see older peers and siblings taking part in fun hobbies outside of lessons. The main factor that sets independent schools apart from non-independent schools is their facilities and the opportunities to take part in extracurricular activities. This is also true of their nursery departments, with many little ones taking part in new and exciting hobbies which can inspire their continued interests as they move up the school.
With more funding left after the essential facilities and staff are covered, private schools are better able to provide resources and teaching services which fall outside of the standard curriculum but contain significant benefits for each child. Sport, music and arts clubs may be available during timetabled nursery but also before and after the school day.
With catchment areas not an issue, you can decide whether or not you move your child from the nursery department up to the primary school. This means that they may have become familiar with their nursery school teachers and older kids in the playground prior to their daunting first day at big school. It also means that when your child reaches the top of the school and moves onto new adventures, they may have been nurtured and taught by the same role models for a number of years.
Space and resources
As touched on above, one of the biggest advantages of independent nurseries is the availability of resources and space to foster learning and development. State schools are often restricted on room for expansion, particularly city-based schools where outside space and sport facilities may be in high demand and short supply. The resource related benefits of independent nursery over non-independent nursery include:
- Small classes and high adult : child ratios
- Specialist teachers and teaching of Music, Sport and French
- Outstanding facilities – indoor swimming pool, on-site Forest School, sports fields, music rooms
- Breakfast, Lunch and Tea – all hot meals served
A nursery attached to an independent school often has below average class sizes. This means that more teaching resources are available per child, helping nursery teachers to consider the individual needs of each child and the uniqueness of each child can be more easily celebrated. Support and resources for learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dyspraxia are often more readily available at independent schools due to the smaller staff to children ratio.
Hear it from the experts
According to our pupils the best things about going to Cranmore Nursery are:
- Henry H: Lego is my favourite and playing football outside with my friends.
- Sebastian L: The playdough is fun. I like to go outside and play in the sand.
- Sebastian B: I like everything at Nursery! The Music, playing tennis in the garden and I love drawing.
- Fabian H: I like to make towers with the blocks and build with Lego.
- Emmy C: Doing puzzles is fun, swimming and catching the toys in the water. I like drinking hot chocolate at Forest School.
- Emma: I enjoy drawing and then cutting them out.
- Ayrton A: Forest School is really fun.