Nursery school may seem like a place where children go to play and socialise, but the truth is that the nursery school experience shapes the entire educational future. It’s so important to make the most out of the nursery years because the attitude they take from there will carry with them throughout all of the upper levels of school. As parents, it’s our job to help them make the most of nursery to ensure that they have healthy thoughts about school from now all the way through University.
So how do we do that?
- First, remember the essentials. Proper nutrition is extremely important for nourishing developing minds. Obviously, good nutrition is always a good idea, but it’s especially essential for brains that are absorbing so much information. Don’t let them skip breakfast. Breakfast should be something with a good amount of protein and carbohydrates, like a fruit and yogurt smoothie or eggs and toast. Avoid things like donuts and breakfast cakes. They contain a lot of sugar and will give little ones a big burst of energy they can’t contain followed by a big crash.
- Sleep is another essential that’s often overlooked for preschoolers. There’s a tendency to overschedule our children, and while activities are important, kids wear out fast. It’s a good idea to have an established bedtime and to rarely deviate from it. The child’s internal timer will become accustomed to this time and it will also make mornings easier for both of you. Keep in mind as well that children in the nursery age group need approximately 12 hours of sleep. However, some need less and some need more. Each child is different. Trial and error will tell you which bedtime is best.
- Playtime is important. At this age, children are big balls of energy. They sometimes seem unstoppable. And that’s perfectly fine. That’s what childhood is for. However, when the nursery teacher is trying to read a story and the children are bouncing about the room, it poses a problem. The best thing you can do is make sure your little one is getting the exercise he or she needs so that they can contain their energy to learn. They also take regular play breaks in most nursery classes for the same reason.
- Be sure to participate as much as possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sit through nursery with them, but it does mean that you should reinforce the learning at home. For example, if the theme of the week is the letter A, do things that weave in with that theme. Bake an apple pie and talk about how apple starts with A. Point out the letter on street signs and on the magazine shelf at the market. Practice sounding it out. There are lots of ways to practice the lessons at home with very little effort.
- Finally, make sure you’re setting a good example. If you want your child to have a love of reading, show him yours. If you want her to eat nutritious foods, eat them with her. If you want them to get plenty of exercise, you need to do that also. Children learn much better by example than rules. You have to be what you want them to be. Leading by example makes a world of difference in all aspects of life.