In a recent discussion with other parents, nursery classes were a focus!
“What exactly is nursery education?”
“When should I enrol my child in the nursery?”
“Is nursery class required for my child?”
“Is nursery the same as LKG?”
Well, our discussion left me confused and made me more curious!
If you’re in the same boat as I am, then I hope this article offers some valuable insights.
When I first delved into learning about nursery classes, I came across the often-used sets of words: early childhood and early education!
So, let’s start there!
Early childhood and early education
Early childhood begins at birth and goes on till 8 years, as per UNESCO. Early education covers the learning before the formal primary education, i.e. grade 1 onwards.
It is not subject-based but is based on structured and unstructured exploration space for children to learn at their pace. It is more child-centric!
Thus, early education becomes a stepping stone for a child’s future schooling and has lifelong impacts.
So, where do nursery classes figure in this?
What is nursery class?
Today, preschools and schools alike offer early child care from 1 year onwards. But, this is an informal space for young children to be in.
A child between the ages of 2.5 and 3.5 years falls under the nursery category (roughly in India).
Nursery classes can be part of a preschool or even a school but are less formal than a primary school.
A nursery class becomes a sort of bridge between the informal set-up and the formal introduction to education in kindergarten (lower and upper KG). It is also often referred to as pre-kindergarten (Pre-KG)
Nursery classes have groups of children in batches so that the educator has an opportunity to interact as a group and provide individual attention.
So, is nursery important for your child? Let’s find out!
4 reasons why nursery classes are important
1. Child-centric curricula
Nursery curricula in general are more activity-based but they also provide avenues for children to get necessary learning for their future schooling.
For example, while doing a pasting activity, let’s say sticking apples on a tree, the educator may give specific instructions such as “stick 3 apples”, “count the number of apples,” and allow the children to do the activity. The educator would also observe how each child does the activity.
In the example, the skills covered are numeracy, identification of apples and the tree, fine motor grip, cognitive understanding, etc.
A child who is entering kindergarten must develop the fine motor grip for writing — tripod grip: use of the thumb, index, and middle finger to hold writing tools.
Thus, the curricula for nursery classes provide skill-based learning coupled with the knowledge required for long-term learning.
2. Structured & unstructured time
Nursery classes are more laid-back than your schools but more structured than a playgroup.
Children have the scope to sit through activities or participate in group activities that are planned for the day. This gives them an understanding of spending time doing a particular activity for an allotted period of time.
There is unstructured play as well in which the learning is more through exploration. Skills such as imagination, gross motor, negotiation, and so on are explored.
So, when nursery classes balance structured and unstructured time, it gives children an opportunity to participate in learning.
3. Literacy and communication
A child in the nursery stage can express verbally or may even explain a concept in a few words.
As children are introduced to pre-writing and pre-numeracy skills from the day they enter preschool, at this stage, their learning tips towards understanding how letters are said and how they sound.
It is not only how to call out the letter ‘a’ but also how it sounds. This is essential as they step into kindergarten, they will learn to read three-lettered, four-lettered, five-lettered words.
The relaxed environment of nursery classes gives children the opportunity to learn and communicate at their pace.
4. Level of independence
Unlike playgroups, children in nursery classes become a bit more independent.
It can be as simple as when they want to use the washroom, how they eat or how they do the activities.
A child may not require as much hand-holding as children in the playgroup stage would.
This in turn fosters decision-making skills in children at a basic level and most importantly, they are doing this in the presence of educators.
Why is this important? Simple, a child becomes comfortable with being independent, which will be essential for their future schooling and life!
To conclude: Are nursery classes important for kids?
If you like me wondered if your child needs nursery education, then you have an answer.
Nursery seems like a cushy place where a child has a space to be more comfortable with structured learning while becoming aware of how they learn (an educator is a valuable asset here!)
As your child steps into kindergarten where their learning becomes more stream-lined towards prepping them for formal schooling, nursery equips them for this change.
- Nursery classes are essentially a bridge to kindergarten and formal schooling.
- The age range for nursery is between 2.5 and 3.5 years.
- Nursery is more structured than playgroup but less formal than regular schools.
- Children who attend nursery become more confident.
- Nursery classes introduce children to numeracy, language, social and science concepts in an informal manner.
Now, you can also be an observer at the home of your child’s learning!
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The Flintoclass curriculum has been inspired by different methodologies such as Waldorf, John Dewey, Multiple Intelligence, and Playway. It covers various concepts that are essential for children as they enter grade 1.
So, why not give it a try?