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IT’S a well recognised fact that pre-school children learn and soak up knowledge more quickly than at any other time in their lives. Take simply learning to walk and talk as

an example!

How vital is it then that those early years are spent educating your child not just with the basic reading and writing skills, but also social and practical skills which will shape their life and behaviour for years to come? Maidstone is blessed with a number of quality day nurseries, some privately- owned, others part of national chains. Some follow the Montessori method; all have the best interests of your child at heart. Views continue to differ as to what is the ideal age for a child to start school. In Britain, it has been ‘rising fives’ for decades, but just across the Channel, children in France are at least six or sometimes seven. What is agreed is the importance of early learning – be it in the home or a structured environment such as a nursery or playgroup.

Having a child who knows how to behave with his peers, work as part of a team and not resort to bullying is just as important as learning to read and write, say those who face the task of teaching newcomers to

primary schools. The Pacey (the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years) report found that most parents believed the term 'school-ready' was not about how proficient their child's handwriting was or what stage reading book they were on.

Overall, 75% of those surveyed said the most important things were confidence to be in school without their parents and strong social skills to interact with children and adults. An ability to fasten their own coat or shoes and open their lunchbox is considered just as critical as listening and understanding instructions from adults – particularly when the teacher is confronted with a class of 30! Fastening 60 shoes can soon eat into a large part of lesson time!

Good-quality early education benefits all children in the long term. All 3 and 4-year- olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of free early education each week for 38 weeks of the year. Some 2-year-olds are now also eligible.

The free early education can be at nursery schools, nurseries on school sites, children’s centres – even some playgroups

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and childminders. Ask your local council for details. Your ultimate choice of primary school will depend on a number of factors – primarily proximity to home and your child’s friendship group. However, given increasing pressure on places and the recent announcement that several new schools are to be built in the area, there is no time like the present to start looking at the options for your young child’s future.

Hollingbourne Pre-School

Opening hours are 9.10-12.10 midday Monday – Friday Lunch club available on Monday & Thursday

Places available now Graded as “outstanding” By Ofsted April 2012

A friendly Pre-School with fully qualified staff A warm caring & stimulating environment Outdoor play area

EYFS curriculum for 21/2-4 year olds Please phone Christine Judges on

07864065753 Member of Registered charity Ofsted registered

A Hive of Activity

8.45am – 12.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday Button Lane, Bearsted

A warm and caring environment that has been established since 1985.

Full curriculum designed to support young children (2-5 years) in preparation for school, by assisting the development of literacy and numeracy skills through play.

We offer an excellent range of facilities including a large outdoor play area.

Busy Bees Pre-School aims to encourage the children to develop an awareness and knowledge of the world around them through a range of carefully structured learning experiences.

For further information, please call Judy Holland 07944 275459

e-mail: Registered Charity Visit Downs Mail’s website — Ofsted Registered East 37

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