As a parent, choosing where to send your child to nursery is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. It is often your little one’s first introduction to learning, so you will want to know they are safe, happy and being nurtured while you’re not there with them.
At independent nursery your child will develop their creativity, curiosity and make friends that will be with them throughout their school career, as well as giving them a solid foundation on which to thrive.
We spoke to Kirsten Lancashire, whose son Thomas attended George Watson’s College nursery and is now inPrimary 2 at the school. Kirsten spoke to us about her experience with an independent school nursery and how she knew it was the right environment to prepare Thomas on his journey through education.
What was your perception of independent nursery before sending your child there?
I didn’t know very much about independent nurseries beforehand if I’m being completely honest. The more I looked into all the different options, the more positive and reassured I became that I would be sending Thomas to somewhere he would be nurtured, secure and where his days would be filled with fun and happiness.
Why did you decide to send your child to an independent nursery?
I liked the idea of giving my son the continuity that a nursery linked to a school provided. As a parent of a young child, I took comfort from knowing that he was in a safe and supportive environment and that his transition from nursery to primary school would be an exciting and encouraging time for him.
Does your child enjoy the independent school nursery they attend?
Thomas absolutely loved the nursery and now loves the school, to the point where he is always happy to go to school. The independent school nursery has really helped him grow in confidence and it’s definitely been a big bonus that his transition to Primary school was seamless and that he was able to stay with some of his friends from nursery.
What kind of activities did he get to do in his independent nursery?
The nursery follows the standard Curriculum for Excellence and because of the close relationship between the school and the nursery he was also given the chance to do lots of activities with specialist teachers, like music and Art. There is also a real element of learning through fun. For example, Thomas is very much into construction and building so he was able to use Lego and other building materials to enhance his learning.
The other great thing is that the nursery mirrors the school in terms of curriculum and learning structure – this makes the transition to the school a lot less of a confusing and nervous time for him, and us!
What do you think is the biggest benefit of a child beginning an independent education early?
Each independent school has its own ethos and values so children who attend the independent nursery will learn these from the beginning of their education and be able to carry this through their entire school career. It really is like a family and Thomas feels very much at home there.
Would you recommend independent nursery to a friend?
I would really recommend it! They understand how difficult it is for a parent handing over their child for the first time and go out of their way to ensure you know that your child is being well-cared for and also supported and developed as they begin to learn.
We’ve had such a positive experience with the nursery and the school and we knew that we wanted him to continue into the Primary school.
Another big bonus of an independent school nursery is that many of them are able to offer additional support such as breakfast, after-school and holiday clubs. These wrap-around services allow for some great flexibility for parents and children.
Was there a big cost impact?
Not as much as you might think. Thomas was going to a private nursery three days a week anyway so the increase was really attributed to increasing the number of days from three to five. The really good thing is that you only pay for term time which is different to a private nursery, where you usually have to pay all year round.