We asked Christine McLelland, headteacher at North Bridge House Nursery and Pre-Prep, to give us some advice on early education at nursery school
Whether you’re a first-time parent or have done it all before, you no doubt feel the pressure to progress your child’s development as much as possible. Surprisingly though, it’s not all about filling their brains with every little bit of information. It’s far more about taking a well-considered, piecemeal approach that’s in tune with what they’re learning or will be learning at school.
First of all, try to hold back from teaching them the letters of the alphabet. Teaching and learning has come a long way over the years: it’s now known that children do not learn to read simply by reciting the alphabet, but by sounding out the letters phonetically. Reinforce this by reading to your child, singing songs and engaging in conversation. This will help to familiarise them with phonetic sounds and broaden their vocabulary.
The best piece of advice a parent can take is to read to your child as much as possible. Numbers are taught most effectively in a similar way to letters. Naturally, we want to teach our children to count to ten but the most valuable lesson is in recognising the digits. Do they know the value of each number? Can they count out a given number of objects? These are the kinds of things your child will be learning at nursery school.
Which brings me to the most important point: to best support your child at nursery, immerse yourself in their education. Take advantage of parent-child mornings, holiday clubs and parent workshops where offered.