There has been a trend lately for nurseries to add Foundation Stage 1 and 2 to their curriculum in an effort to allow parents the option of not sending their children to ‘big school’ too early. Nouhad Doughan, the owner and Managing Director at Kids Spot Nursery, says parents often panic and put their kids on school waiting lists early because they are afraid of losing the spot and having their child miss out. “I have seen parents send a 2 year 8 month old child to kindergarten,” she says, “and that’s just ridiculous.” Here, she explains why parents need to think long and hard before sending their young ones off on the next stage of their educational journey.
Parents think the kids are ready, and it turns out they are not. It’s the parents that want the youngster to be ready, but that does not necessarily mean the child is ready. If you keep her in the nursery, she’s the eldest; if she goes to school she’s suddenly the youngest in a very big world. At nurseries like ours it is home – our nursery is for big people in small spaces, instead of small people in big places.
Parents feel that, especially with their first born, they need to get them into school fast. There are waiting lists, put your name down, or you’re going to lose the space. That is not the system anymore, it doesn’t exist. That was 10 years ago when there were only 10 schools with thousands and thousands of kids needing space. Today it’s the opposite.
For me, I cannot comment on Foundation Stage 2 because we don’t have it. I see the growth a child goes through in a nursery in comparison to schools; there’s much more detailed attention on that child here. They’re still at home.
When deciding whether to send their child to school early, parents may think, they’re gonna have to grow up anyways, why not do it now? That one year in their three years is larger than life. It’s a lot. It’s a quarter of their life. In that one year they learn so much. They need a place that is comfortable for them, that gives them that love and space. At a nursery, we know what kind of space and what kind of love each child needs to help them build their character. At nurseries in general, these children, they’re souls, they’re characters, and kids. They’re not numbers in a classroom.
Parents of course only want the best for their child. That’s their baby, it’s a very sensitive topic. My advice to parents is don’t panic. Don’t go with the hype of trying to get your child into school as soon as possible. What does your heart tell you? Look at your child, what do you feel? If I tell you that next year, 100%, you’ll find that space in a school, would you still send your child to school now? If I tell you your child’s education will not be affected in a nursery, but that it will be enhanced here, would you still go?
Parents generally think nurseries don’t help in development and academics. What some parents don’t understand is that what we do in nurseries is, if not the same, better. Nurseries have curriculums. We’ve got everything a school does and more.
Nouhad Doughan is the owner and Managing Director at Kids Spot Nursery.