‘Deciding to send your child to nursery can be a difficult decision to make, for others it isn’t a choice but dictated by financial pressures or career demands. Regardless of the reason you can be assured that there are many positive benefits which will have a direct impact on your child’s development now and as they progress to school.’
Day nurseries follow the early years foundation stage (EYFS). This provides a structure of learning and care for children from birth to five years old. This means the staff are trained to create a safe and stimulating environment for your child to enjoy and develop in.
Kathy Sylva, professor of educational psychology at Oxford University, said that in nurseries of an average to high standard, children who start attending under the age of two go on to form better relationships at primary school.
A study carried out by the University of London, and published in summer 2013, found that children who had spent three years or more in nursery education could advance their academic attainment by up to a year over those whose parents kept them at home until the age of five.
Many working parents feel guilty about leaving their children in nurseries, here are some of the benefits and the reasons why you shouldn’t need to worry.
1. Nursery prepares your child for school
Children benefit immensely from mixing with other children and will therefore be more prepared and better equipped when it comes to starting school.
They will also adapt easily to a learning environment, have greater social skills and they will feel more secure in a different environment. Nursery will have also helped your child develop confidence in relating to adults.
On another note nursery will have encouraged your child to find and use a tissue for their nose, wash their hands, tidy toys and realise they sometimes have to wait for things and take turns
Understanding what is expected of them, having been at nursery, they will have a good idea of how to behave.
2. Nursery encourages playtime
Your child will have a chance to play and learn in a group and one-to-one with a member of staff. They will also benefit from playing with other children, as this can help them to gain confidence and develop their social skills.
An active toddler is likely to remain active later, so it is important to encourage activities both indoors and outdoors. You want your children to love the great outdoors, not the TV, one thing you don’t see at a nursery is a television. At home it is very easy to turn on the TV to give yourself some time off. Play is vitally important as your children will develop muscle control, balance and coordination.
The range of messy play activities at a nursery are far greater than can possibly be available at home, including water, sand, paint and glue.
3. Nursery supports potty training
If you send your children to nursery for several days a week, potty training will prove a breeze. Potty training is obviously not a sole reason to send your children to nursery, but in terms of generally lifestyle assistance, every little helps.
4. Nursery helps children develop social skills and make friends
Socialising with other children is vital for your child’s successful development. They will be eager to engage with their peers and become aware of the attachment they feel towards children they regularly play with.
Toddlers get a lot out of being with other children. Nothing that you can do can make up for the excitement that other children provide.
5. Nursery also benefits parents
Your children are being looked after by nursery practitioners who have had a decent night’s sleep, enjoy their work and are paid to change nappies, manage tantrums and clear up food thrown on the floor. Parents feel more relaxed after having a break from their children, which can only be a good thing for parent and child.
Nursery workers witness the behaviour of our children from a completely different perspective and through experience. With this in mind they can be relied upon to offer constructive advice and opinion on the development of our children.
6. There is financial support available
If one of the reasons you are not sending your child to nursery is due to the costs, see if you can get help.
Some employers will provide childcare vouchers, so check with your human resources department to see if you can get help.
Many parents can also get extra help with the costs of approved or registered childcare through tax credits.
All three-year-olds and four-year-olds in the UK are entitled to a minimum of 10 hours of free early education for 38 weeks a year. Some two-year-olds are also now eligible, but this will depend on your income status.
So when it comes to determining whether they will benefit from being sent to a nursery, take a look at the overall quality of the environment, staff, learning and activities which they will be offered as this is the most important thing to consider.
If you are still anxious about sending your child to nursery you can also speak to other parents, visit the nursery unexpectedly, make sure staff turnover isn’t high and talk to the people actually caring for their child, not just the director.
You may also like to read the following articles by Hungry Caterpillars: