At around the age of three, a child is ready to experience a couple of years in a nursery environment before moving on to kindergarten, and when you are looking at local schools, there is a lot to consider. Your choice of school is very important, and with that in mind, here are some essential factors to bear in mind when looking to enrol your son or daughter into an early learning program.
How Learning Best Occurs – This is something that every school should focus on, and the results of many studies on optimum early learning environments show that the following aspects should be present.
- Learning By Doing – Young children need to have the opportunity for hands-on learning, and there should be a wide range of classroom resources that the children can engage with. Your child should be allowed to explore in a safe and secure environment, and their natural curiosity about their surroundings should be nurtured.
- Using Nature as a Teacher – Young children should spend time in natural surroundings, which helps them to develop a love of nature, while also respecting all living things. A top early learning program such as can be found at Raintree International School in Bangkok offers the students an integrated garden, which is often used as the backdrop for engaging activities with nature as the theme.
- Focus on Social, Emotional & Physical Development – While academic learning has its place, it certainly isn’t in an early learning program, where the kids should develop creativity, imagination and essential social skills that will empower them to exceed when they are eventually introduced to academic learning at around the age of 7 years.
- Small Classes – There should never be more than 15 children in a single group, and with a qualified early years teacher and several assistants, each child receives the individual care and attention that they need. Research tells us that young children learn best when in the company of other children of different ages, so 3-year olds can learn alongside 5-year old children, which is good for both the younger and older students.
- Parental Involvement – Every good early learning program would actively encourage parental participation, which is essential, as you and the teacher can exchange important information that will help to provide the best possible opportunities for the kids. In the event you are impressed with a particular school’s website, the next step would be to ask for a tour of the school, which will give you the opportunity to observe a few classes, while also talking to the principal regarding the school’s overall approach to early learning.
Learning should always be an enjoyable experience, especially for younger children, and with a curriculum that incorporates song, dance, art and other hands-on activities, the children will develop in a balanced way, with the emphasis on developing essential social skills that will equip the child to exceed when introduced to formal education at around the age of 7.