What Benefits do Young Children Gain at Nursery?
Updated: May 26
Whether a parent has found the first few months or years of their child’s life a breeze or more a hurricane that swept through and laid waste to everyday life, childcare in a nursery can be enormously beneficial to both child and parent.
A 2016 study by researchers at the London School of Economics and Oxford University, found that nursery children tended to be more stimulated than at home due to the interaction with new children and an increased number of adults. This, the study affirmed, helped their development. Whilst there is little doubt a child flourishes in a home environment that is loving and nurturing, a good early-years nursery that employs skilled, experienced staff can add so many positives.
Well, for a start, the temporary separation of a child from parents or guardians and their increased exposure to other children undoubtedly encourages self-confidence and independence. Personal skills are more readily acquired when a child is amongst peers and is encouraged by attentive staff. A child who observes other children hanging up their own coat on their peg on arrival at nursery, washing their hands before mealtimes and putting on their own coat again at the end of day will quickly do the same, and soon becomes more self-assured.
As a nursery gradually and gently introduces children to the understanding that life extends beyond the family unit, in a comfortable, home-from-home nursery environment in which there are supportive adults who become familiar and loved, children can be relaxed enough to be receptive to learning. This early realisation that learning can be enjoyable is crucial, because it can ignite a love of learning for life. Here, at Country Mouse, our enormous range of stimulating, first class equipment and exciting, modern tools encourage independent learning through stress-free play. Small groups of children at a table solving a puzzle or drawing, working in a vegetable plot, observing life in an insect hotel or playing freely in Forest School spaces where imaginations run wild, are learning through trial, error and their own innate curiosity. The plus is that as they learn they are communicating with one another, making friends, working out how to maximise each other’s strength and taking decisions of their own — naturally increasing social skills and their creativity all the while.
Once children move on to primary school life, routine and structure will be key and a child that has attended a nursery will be well prepared for this. In addition to the crucial language and numeracy skills that a nursery can develop — skills that set a child off to a good start at school — nursery children start school with a respect for rules. They will have already become aware of the importance of following instructions and the possible consequences when rules are ignored. In this way, nurseries can help make the delicate transition into school run smooth.
The study by the LSE and Oxford University also points out that singing songs, stories, painting, arts and crafts, all activities common to nurseries are stimulating and have a positive effect on development of movement skills. A nursery that holds regular exercise sessions —whether it be football, yoga, climbing walls or dance — can spark a love of sport, which, because it has been introduced in early years, has more chance of becoming part of a regime for life. Similarly, a nursery with a natural, wild outside space can introduce children to the wonders of nature and the joy of being outside. As children turn over stones to explore what potters about beneath or just sit quietly on a log beneath a tree, the right nursery can instil a love of the great outdoors which can be a life-long go-to for them when their lives become busier and more stressful.
Of course, for many parents, deciding to send a child to nursery isn’t a choice but is dictated by financial pressures or career demands. The practical benefits of a children’s nursery include creating a spot of me-time for parents, either so they can work or have a momentary breather from the not inconsiderable stresses of child-rearing. The good news is that since 2017, the Government has made 1,140 hours of early years childcare free for a family that earns more than £120 a week, if you are over 25, and under £100,000 a year — the equivalent of 30 hours per week over 38 weeks of the year! This will continue to apply even if your income falls during the Covid19 outbreak. In the summer of 2019, around 378,774 children out of the 419,130 deemed eligible in the UK were in a 30-hours place, and there are more who are not on a 30-hour placement. Before the Covid19 outbreak, there were a total of 23,000 private day care centres or nurseries in England. That’s an awful lot of families thinking nurseries are a good thing!
Check the link below to see if you’re eligible for the 30 hours free childcare
See all the wonderful ways the Country Mouse nursery can benefit a child at www.thecountrymousenursery.co.uk