Catherine Hume is an experienced teaching assistant in the North East of England, who has shared her recommendations with Country Child for preparing our children for a nursery childcare setting, getting the best for the child in this new environment.
Your child is about to start nursery, perhaps a nursery in a school, and you’re not really sure what to expect from the nursery or how your child will fit in. Have you done enough for your child to thrive at nursery? Have you given them the skills they need? There’s so much to think about, and dare we say it worry about, but here are three basic but really important ways to prepare your child for their first day at nursery, and for the rest of their life.
Be able to share
Toys: The nursery will be full of toys that help children learn such as a play shop or Numicon, as well as regular play items such as toy cars and Sticklebrix. Children in a nursery must be able to share and take turns. For example, the teacher may have put out play dough and perhaps divided the play dough into four so that four children may play with it. Most children do share and play well together, and the nursery runs smoothly and happily when children share toys.
The teacher’s time: The nursery teacher will speak to the whole class when s/he takes the registers, teaches or reads a story, but the teacher will also give 1:1 support to each child and assess their learning. During their 1:1 time with the class teacher the children must be able to concentrate, and then move on when their time with the teacher is over so that other children can have the same opportunities they have had.
Be able to sing nursery rhymes
Nursery rhymes help children to develop their speech and language skills. They introduce concepts and a variety of words that children will not hear in normal every day conversation. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is the favourite nursery rhyme among the children I look after, and when I worked with Chinese families Twinkle Twinkle was the first nursery rhyme the parents sang to their baby. Think about the lyrics: “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.” Twinkle: a descriptive word that is difficult to explain but easily understood. Wonder: it’s like “thinking” but with a different meaning. Up above: introducing the children to the sky. Like a diamond: a comparison which also introduces the new word “diamond”. This nursery rhyme alone gives children plenty of questions to ask their parents and gives them plenty of things to think about. Perhaps it’s all these elements in the rhyme, as well as the actions and the awe the rhyme can inspire that makes Twinkle Twinkle Little Star so well loved.
Be able to have a go
To succeed in nursery, school and then the big wide world your child needs to be resilient, confident and be able to take new things in their stride. In nursery, your child will be around new people and will do new activities. They will learn new songs, they will learn to read and write and they will learn to count. Your child should be able to have a go. They may fail the first, second, fifth or ninth time, but they should be able to have another go, keeping up hope of succeeding so that eventually they will succeed.
Some simple essentials for our children to practice before they embark on their new journey. Let us know how you get on?
Image courtesy of www.farleynurseryschool.com