Friday, 6 September 2013

8 reasons why we send our little girl to nursery.

I'm a stay at home mum with no need for child care. We go out to toddler groups a few times every week where my children get to play and socialise with other children. But for 15 hours a week I choose to send my 3 year old to nursery, in fact she's been going since she was 2 and a half.

I recently read a post on a parenting forum were a mother was worrying about sending her child to nursery and didn't want to send him into formalised education so young. The discussion talked about people who have decided to home pre-school their children. Some of the responses made me feel as if those of us who choose to send our children to nursery are doing so without thinking about the decision, because its the thing to do and because everyone else is.

Formalised early years education might not be right for every child but it was for ours. Deciding to send Abigail to nursery was a decision we thought about and carefully considered and truly believe is the best decision for her and our family. Here's why.

1. Its a good nursery.

The nursery she attends is OFSTED ranked Outstanding. The staff are all a little bit older and appear to genuinely care about the children and their early education. The nursery has a forest garden and the children for the most part can pick and choose which activities they get involved in. Their philosophy of learning is similar to mine and they care and teach in the way I would choose for my child.

2. It gives me more quality time with her.

This may at first seem like a contradiction, surely if she's away from me for 15 hours a week that is less quality time? But during those hours she's at nursery (when her little brother is having his nap) is the time of the week I do most the housework. This means the hours she isn't at nursery I'm free to play or we are out doing an activity together. There's still some chores that need doing out of nursery hours but not as many. So she gets a tidy house without waiting around while mummy's tidying.

3. Access to resources. 

No matter how creative I am, how much of our budget I spend on kids activities and toys I just don't have the resources of a nursery. Going to nursery gives her access to lots of different toys she wouldn't otherwise get to play with and lots of activities she wouldn't otherwise get to do.

4. It gives her routine.

Abigail loves the routine of the nursery week. She loves getting her bag and her lunch box ready. She knows which day is a nursery day, or which day is a group, then go to nursery day. Knowing what happens next because its part of a routine helps her feel secure as she knows what's going on her world. The routine of going to nursery provides her with much more structure to her day than I could do just attending groups and she is a little girl who benefits from having a good structure.

5. It adds to her a sense of identity.

Since Theo came along a lot of things are about "Abigail and Theo". We go to a group its "Abigail and Theo". Going to nursery is something just she does in our family and it makes her feel special. Daddy goes to work, Abigail goes to nursery.She talks about the other children at nursery as her "boys and girls". Its her nursery.

6. She's making friends and getting ready for school.

We decided a while ago that home-schooling isn't right for our family so in a years time Abigail will be starting school. Going to nursery gives her a little taste of school life in a much more protected environment. She is also spending time with her peer group and becoming used to being a group of people her own age, something she will be spending the next 15+ years of her life doing. When she starts schools she isn't going to be overly shy or worried, so hopefully she will settle well and this will enable her to get straight into learning.

7. It gives her a sense of community.

We don't go to church or similar. We don't live near by a lot of family members. So as a family we didn't have a big sense of community prior to Abigail starting nursery. Her nursery is very involved in the community. Activities such as sports day and the Christmas play have allowed her to be part of our local community through her nursery.

8. She likes it.

This is perhaps the most important reason. She's never once said she doesn't like nursery. She's never cried before going. She's never said she's had a bad day, she's always got a happy story to tell. She always goes to nursery enthusiastically and comes home with a smile on her face!

All smiles- Abigail and her medal from nursery sports day!

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