By Owen Wagabaza
Children who go to nursery schools when they are as young as two or three are likely to have up to a year’s head start over those who are exclusively cared for at home, according to research.
Experts says early education increases reading and numeracy skills at primary school level. This partly answers the question of whether it is worth it for a parent to invest in nursery education.
Most parents who have sent their children to pre-school have reported positive experiences and have seen their children grow to be better prepared for the years of schooling to come.
Some parents have had to learn the hard way, but this can be avoided. “As a learning point, my first child missed nursery education and has always had problems conceptualising what he is taught,” Alice Muhimbo, a mother of three explains.
Pre-school teaches children the building blocks for the rest of their education journey. Children at a young age learn best through play and games. They learn numbers, letters and how to write their name.
The assistant commissioner for preprimary education, Resty Muzibiri agrees that nursery or pre-primary education greatly improves that quality of education for learners. S
he adds that early childhood is a crucial stage of life in terms of a child’s physical, intellectual, emotional and social development.
With this in mind, she says toddlers need positive early learning experiences to help their intellectual, social and emotional development. Susan Baguma, the head teacher of a city nursery school says her kindergarten teaches a child to listen, obey, and cooperate.
“The children will know when it is time to play with others and time to go to class. Some come when they do not even know why they are at school,” Baguma says.
Leo Lubega, another nursery and primary school head teacher in Kampala, also says speech development is one of the first tools that a child will acquire in a nursery school.
Kindergartens are also avenues for children to acquire good healthy and socially acceptable habits. It is also at nursery schools that skills like how to use a toilet or latrine are taught to children.
Letting children do what they want encourages individuality and decision making.
More embrace nursery education
Of recent, the Government has been in a massive drive to promote early childhood learning. More parents are enrolling their children into early childhood education centres.
Indeed today, the number of nursery schools in the country has risen. With Kampala alone having over 250 nursery schools and about 7,000 countrywide.