Advice on what parents should be looking for from GCC-based primary education expert Chantal Ariens.
What should a parent receive in terms of reports, updates and support?
A report card should be a document that captures a snap shot of the child’s work over an academic year. For early years, it should reflect the early learning goals that are outlined in the framework being used by the nursery (ie. Early Years Foundation stage, British curriculum). The goals should be fluid in nature and anyone reading this should understand that, like a snap shot, it only captures limited aspects of the child’s ability and should be used in conjunction with other documents such as baseline assessments, observation records and the child’s artwork. These reports should respect the SMART principles and be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Most importantly it should reflect the partnership between the teacher and guardian/parent, communicating the progress a child is making throughout their early years education.
How often should parents expect to get them?
While informal reporting is ongoing and should be expected daily for infants and periodically for toddlers and upwards – common practice for written report cards is at least twice in a year. The first report should reflect the first few weeks at nursery and the second one should summarise the abilities and progress made since then.
What support should parents expect to receive?
Working with children is a partnership and parents should expect continuous support throughout the year from teachers and carers so each child is able to reach his/her own potential. Creating a strong partnership is crucial to making times like teething and potty training easier for the child both at school and at home. Teachers are also great resources as they have worked with children in all different ages and stages so can give some helpful tips for parents.
What kind of development should parents see in their child as a result of attending nursery?
This is dependent on the age the child starts nursery – here many providers take children as young as six months and therefore there is a wide spectrum the child can develop – ranging from physiological, cognitive, social and emotional development. Most parents opting for a nursery environment do so to ensure social interpersonal relationships are nurtured as well as communication skills.
These prime areas build the foundations which will help children acquire skills related to literacy, numeracy, knowledge, understanding of the world, expressive arts and design.
Another aspect that a child develops, especially at an innovative nursery, are eco-strengths which encourage children to garden, recycle and use green thinking to care for their surrounding environment.
What are the clear benefits for sending kids to nursery from year 1-2 onwards?
One of the greatest advantages for children is building good relationships with different people and being exposed to different experiences and nationalities at such a young age. My daughter is at my nursery, Blossom Burj in Dubai – as a parent and educator, it is important to me that the care provided in a nursery has been thought through and there is clear accountability as far as health and safety is concerned. Blossom has transparent internal processes to make every day a safe and stimulating learning experience for children with CCTV cameras, paediatric first aid trained staff, daily risk assessments and health and safety check lists so I know my precious daughter is in caring hands.
Is there anything else on this topic you think is important to add?
I think that as adults we need to recognise the importance of early years and how it plays a vital role in your child’s future – the care and support that is provided in these early years determines the many strengths and abilities they will build on throughout their life.
Confidence, independence, social skills and positive behaviours are just a few of these.