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What to look for when choosing an Early Years setting for your child

By Heather Cavanagh, Head of Junior School

The evidence is clear there is a strong positive link between high quality early education and children’s healthy progress through school and into adulthood. To secure that link, and to ensure that the children in our care grow-up healthy, safe, and resilient, and develop the ability and curiosity to learn, at Burgess Hill Nursery, a setting for preschool girls and boys, in the grounds of Burgess Hill Girls, we endeavour to provide learning experiences that encourage curiosity and challenge young minds.

So in the myriad of settings such as nurseries, play groups and day care centres that exist what should parents be looking for when selecting the right environment for their child’s first ‘School’ experience?

The emotional and cognitive conditions for learning change little with age – we all learn best when we are motivated, interested and happy, engaged in experiences that both fascinate and challenge us. Confidence in ourselves as learners flourishes when we know that our thoughts and feelings are both sought after and valued. A setting should identify adults and children as critical partners in the learning process.  At Burgess Hill Nursery we want the children in our care to develop their skills of enquiry, creativity and critical thinking, problem-solving, reasoning and conflict resolution.  We want them to embrace the risks and challenges that all new learning brings.

A child’s early school experience should celebrate their uniqueness.  Practitioners should take the time to observe, listen and understand what it is that makes every child the person they are.  At Burgess Hill Nursery we strive to identify a child’s strengths, interests, preferences and development pathway, so that we can respond appropriately with experiences that are meaningful and tailored to the individual.  Through an ongoing process of reflection and self-evaluation, we continue to ensure we provide an outstanding level of education.

Creating a secure emotional environment is paramount if a child is to flourish.  We encourage children to explore new experiences in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.  Young children are active learners and need opportunities to explore and make sense of the world, supported by knowledgeable, interested and sensitive adults.  They should be encouraged to think creatively, knowing that their ideas and contribution will be valued.  At Burgess Hill Nursery we believe that a happy ‘can do’ attitude is infectious and everyone benefits.

Children learn from everything they do.  A positive environment ensures the conditions necessary for life-long learning apply equally to all.  When the environment is right, there is a contagious sparkle in the air, the children are deeply engaged in their learning and their confidence soars as they are free to move constructively on their learning journey.  At Burgess Hill Nursery we pride ourselves in having that contagious sparkle where positive links between high quality early education and children’s healthy progress through school are evident.

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