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Staying on at Nursery: The Big Nursery vs. School Debate

Staying on at Nursery: The Big Nursery vs. School Debate

So, your child has finally settled at nursery. They have made friends, are happy and confident to come to the nursery, and are learning and developing wonderfully. But you are going through the debate of Nursery vs. School. Well, here is a point a view that might put you at ease.

As your children get older, your mind turns to the “big school”. Surely you have many questions about this. Like should you keep your child in nursery for FS1 (pre-K), FS2 (KG1)? Or enroll them in a big school? You are not alone, as this is confusing for many parents just as well. There is a huge variety of curricula in Dubai, and this makes parents feel lost. Which is right? To move on to a big school for FS1/pre-K? Or to stay on at nursery and complete FS2/KG1? Here is a guide that hopefully will help you make this decision.

The big Nursery vs. School debate

When talking to Early Years professionals, most parents share the same concerns. They feel their children will not be in a school of their choice. That is a bit hard to believe. Especially with the abundance of great schools out there. And the fact that so many of them are using various channels of advertising to promote themselves.    

Perhaps that has something to do with the scare tactics some schools resort to. All of this is an attempt to convince parents to enroll their children with them. One of those scare tactics is saying things like “your child will not be ready for FS1/FS2 (pre-K/KG1) unless you enroll him here and now”. 

Which is not entirely true. 

It is very easy to be afraid when making such a decision. Relax, take a deep breath, and think about it. Dubai is a transient place where new families with children of all ages arrive and leave all the time. Some children go straight from home to school. While others are already attending nursery school from the time they were 45 days old. Some come here at the age of 5 years with very little or no English knowledge at all. They all do get a place in a school and schools can cope with such a number of different levels. The speech of “your child will not be ready” is probably the most ridiculous thing you can hear.

Nurseries do have a couple advantages

  • – Children are exposed to so much in nurseries. 

Most nurseries combine child-led exploration, playful learning, and structure. All of those help the little kids to master all sorts of skills. Children need those skills in order to integrate into any school environment. That is why children who already are attending a nursery are exposed to so much. 

  • – It paves the way to communicate accurately.

Whether with teachers or peers, nurseries help children learn how to communicate. They get familiar with cuing into teachers’ questions, and are also able to offer responses to questions. These children ARE ready to learn and able to focus! They are eager to learn because they know that learning is fun. Also, they are eager for new experiences and hungry for fun knowledge that stimulates and engages them. 

  • – More confidence and comfort for children.

Attending a nursery is easier for little kids. That is because everyone is almost the same age. In the debate of Nursery vs. School, nurseries win this round. In school, the age range is wider and more complex. In addition, the environment is usually more home-like at a nursery. Children who are more shy and reserved find schools more daunting and overwhelming. They even feel it is harder to cope with the setting. However, some schools do realize this and have their Early Years classes in a separate building or section. This might be helpful for the child to ease their transition into the new environment.

  • – A nursery helps children’s development.

A nursery focuses on the child’s overall development. This provides the proper transition and progression between levels that become more structured as they progress. Children become familiar and comfortable with changes in their learning environment. While also remaining exposed to multiple teaching styles from multiple teachers. This prepares them to the daily contact with people like:

  • – specialist language teachers
  • – extracurricular activity coaches
  • – the nurseries’ extended and full day program teaching team.
  • – Easier transition to school

In addition, a child who stays on at nursery for an FS2/KG1 program will be fully accustomed to daily routines. That is along with gaining the ability to adapt to changes in the learning environment of a big school. Their full transition from nursery to big school may take as little as only a couple of days. They were given the opportunity to build their social skills at nursery. Therefore, they feel more secure and confident in the transition to big school.

  • – Flexible timings for parents

    This is a plus side that schools don’t have. Nurseries are more flexible when it comes to the timings that work best for parents. Working parents need to drop off their kids earlier and pick them up later. This makes things easier and more convenient. In addition, nurseries are open all year round. They have exciting holiday programs to keep kids entertained. This all happens in an environment where children are safe, happy and comfortable.

Remember to ask the right questions when debating Nursery vs. School

So, make sure to ask the prospective school two main questions:

  • 1| how will they make sure your child will keep on loving school the way they love their nursery?
  • 2| How will they make sure they do not lose their interest in learning?

What is the difference between pre-school and nursery vs. school?

Nurseries/early learning centers and kindergartens at schools both follow a well-established curriculum. Which impacts on the learning, development, and care of children from birth to five years old. Depending on the nursery or school, the curriculum may be based on:

  • – The English Early Years Foundation Stage Framework
  • – High Scope
  • – US Common Core
  • – International Pre-school Curriculum (IPC)
  • Or another one

Even nurseries have individual testing 

No, this is not to torment children. Nurseries base their learning on individual interest. This is to follow up the development,\ and needs for each and every child. The teachers offer educational activities that help them progress and succeed by continuously observing each child. A well-rounded nursery has a strong focus on the fundamental areas of their development which includes: 

  • – Personal, Social and Emotional, development
  • – Creativity and Imagination
  • – Physical, and Cognition
  • – Language and Communication development

As children progress, the focus increases on more specific areas of development. For example:

  • – The understanding of the world
  • – Confidence and self-expression
  • – Public speaking
  • – Reading & mathematics, 
  • – Science and technology

Some schools follow a similar approach, while others may be less flexible and more inclined to follow a more rigid and highly structured approach.

All in all, you have to choose the setting that works best for your child and your family. But do not give into unnecessary and unfounded pressure that some may try putting on you. Especially if you feel he or she is not ready. Your child will truly benefit from that extra year at nursery. Their transition to big school will be a lot more effortless.