When thinking about which nursery for your child, common considerations are likely to be location, cost, opening times and OFSTED ratings. However, did you also know that different nurseries can offer very different teaching methods?
Gut-feel goes a long way in many life decisions and choosing a nursery is no different. Understanding the ethos, culture, aims and methods of your potential choices and assessing how these fit with your own ideals and requirements is vital to a successful partnership.
Local nurseries offer a range of approaches. Alongside mainstream nurseries (offering the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, set by the Government to ensure all children have reached a similar level of education by the time they begin the National Curriculum) others offer approaches influenced by Steiner, Reggio Emilia, Montessori and HighScope to name a few. Most will work towards the Governments Early Learning Goals, but do so using different teaching practices. Parents can't be expected to know every approach, however they do know their children best and a little research can go a long way in aiding the right decision for your family.
Montessori owner, Melanie Hallam of Alderley Day Nursery had a clear view when starting out 10 years ago, "I strongly believe that achievement comes through shared goals and mutual respect in a team - minimise hierarchy and empower individuals. For us, this not only governs our adult interactions but also the relationships we forge with our children. I found Montessori's approach to learning to be in perfect symmetry with our thinking."
The Montessori method is based on a deep respect for the child and an appreciation of the special learning abilities a child has during the first 6 years of life. The approach is holistic and aims to develop the whole child by prioritising social interactions, grace and courtesy skills and sensory development, along with the more usual creative, mathematics and literacy areas of the curriculum.
Given the opportunity, children are natural learners who want to explore the World hands-on. Harbouring this intrinsic curiosity, a Montessori setting provides an environment rich in 'real life' activities. When children are self-motivated to learn, they develop positive self-images and grow in confidence, all the ingredients for a successful school career and happy life.
The early years are a pivotal time when children are most receptive to learning, hence attending the right nursery and pre-school is crucial. When making a nursery decision, if nothing else, allow the time to visit different types of nursery environments - it may not always be the most convenient choice, however an extra few miles could make a huge difference to your child's future.
To find out more, or book a viewing, call the Alderley Day Nursery Team on 01625 860660.