Why A Qualified Nursery Teacher Is Key To A Child's Early Learning

For any nursery, investing in trained staff is a must. Nursery teachers are those strong pillars who boost your child’s growth in their early years. It becomes crucial for parents to know that they are sending their children to the right place and to the right people.

Here we discuss the role of a nursery teacher in the growth and development of children with the help of the experts themselves.

How Does A Qualified Nursery Teacher Help In The Growth Of A Child?

A qualified nursery teacher helps facilitate a child’s growth and development in seven distinct areas involving their personal and social growth. Also, parents feel more confident when they know that a well trained teacher is looking after their child.

Esther Hunter, Principal, Raffles Starters/Raffles Nurseries, at Innoventures Education says, “The role of a nursery teacher or early years practitioner is a skilful balance of care, support, education and sensitivity. Early years practitioners facilitate children’s growth and development, even for babies, through understanding and observing each child’s learning, assessing progress made and planning for next steps. Practitioners understand that every child is unique and respond to this individuality in order to support children to become resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. Early years practitioners foster positive relationships with children which nurture a sense of self and belonging to the wider group. The relationship between practitioners and parents is also vitally important to the successful early years experience and parents are significant stakeholders in the learning journey.”

"Research also endorses that qualified early childhood professionals accelerate how children learn, develop, and build their social skills necessary to get along with others and succeed in school and life. Moreover, qualified nursery staff are better positioned to give an appropriate feedback to the parents, covering all developmental goals when assessing the child’s progress”, says Dr Vandana Gandhi, Founder and CEO of British Orchard Nursery. 

Sian Pascoe, FS1 teacher at GEMS Royal Dubai School says, “Nursery teachers prepare educational lessons, provide hands-on learning experiences and activities which enable them to develop and grow both academically and socially. Within the early years setting a nursery teacher will provide opportunities for children to grow and develop across 7 areas including: personal social and emotional, physical, communication and language, numeracy, literacy, knowledge and understanding of the world and expressive arts and design."

What Training Does A Nursery Teacher Implement In A Typical Day? 

Each day teachers plan stimulating and engaging activities in the classroom and outside which challenge the child’s knowledge and understanding and build on the concrete skills they already have.

Sian Pascoe of GEMS Royal Dubai School says, “In a typical day in FS1 (nursery) the children are welcomed each day into an atmosphere of care and security. The children will learn daily rules and routines, teachers will guide them to eat and drink during snack times and support them with their bathroom needs and washing their hands. As the children progress they will become a lot more independent during daily routines. Teachers will model behaviours to the children such as taking turns, sharing and being kind to our friends. The children will come to sit on the carpet for ‘circle time’ where they will learn to follow instructions, sit quietly and listen to adults and other children around them. They will be encouraged to talk to share their thoughts and ideas and join in with a variety of songs, stories and rhymes. Through carpet time and continuous provision the children will be encouraged to develop their learning in 7 areas:

• Personal, social and emotional - The children will learn social skills and develop an understanding of their different feelings and how to manage them.
• Physical - The children will get to play outdoors where they have the opportunity to improve their coordination and motor skills also develop their fine motors skills to enable them to hold a pencil correctly and develop writing skills.
• Communication and language - Children will learn to express themselves and speak and listen to develop their language and communication skills.
• Numeracy - Through interactive songs and games children will develop skills with numbers and explore different shapes, spaces, and measures.
• Literacy - Children will explore stories and rhymes. 
• Knowledge and understanding of the world - Children will be given opportunities to make sense of things by observing and exploring. 
• Expressive arts and design - Children will engage in activities such as drawing, painting, instruments or role play to express themselves and learn new things.
• Continuous provision, both inside and outdoors - Through continuous provision the nursery teacher is able to model learning and play alongside the children, extending the children’s learning even further. Continuous provision also enables children to return to their explorations and consolidate their learning. Children will also have the opportunity to attend specialised lessons such as PE, swimming and Arabic.”

Carrie Hoza, Principal of Dubai British Foundation says, “A good nursery teacher should be a very busy lady! She should see your child and each member of the class as an individual. She should know their development and how that relates to their next step. She should then carefully plan individual lessons that support and guide each child to reach their full potential through fun, engaging and play-based activities. She should use her knowledge of child development to know when a child is not achieving their developmental goals and when a child is exceeding. She should use the strengths of each child to support the class as a whole to celebrate their similarities and differences. She should be modelling the highest quality of language in order for the children to have the best example from which to learn.”

What Questions Should Parents Ask A Nursery Teacher?

Questions can vary from parent to parent, however covering a broad spectrum, every parent should ask a nursery teacher questions on how to prepare children at home for nursery, how the nursery will communicate the child’s development to parents, is there a toilet training programme, what food to pack and the day to day learning programmes. Ask as many questions as you can and always believe in your instinct. 

Carrie Hoza of Dubai British Foundation says, “Going to see a school’s early years setting or a nursery is key. Go, get a feel, walk round and imagine your child in the setting. Take your child with you if possible, so they can get a feel too. After all, they are going to be the ones there! When walking round listen to the person showing you round and ask as many questions as you can. Do not be afraid to take a paper and pen to write notes to remind yourselves later."

Dr Vandana Gandhi of British Orchard Nursery says, “Generally, parents should be concerned with the important policies of health and safety, the curriculum followed, observation and assessment methodology, extra-curricular activities and of course the teacher’s qualification and experience. However, every child is different, so meeting the child carer will help them ascertain what they feel is most important for their child.”

Esther Hunter of Raffles Starters/Raffles Nurseries says, “The most valuable aspect of choosing a nursery for your child is trust. If you believe in the values of the nursery, the learning style suits your child, you feel comfortable with the team and you can trust your most precious little one with them, then you have found the best fit nursery for your family!”

Teacher Training Programme At A Glance

There are different teaching courses available, however any good Teacher Training Programme should have course contents which will give the teacher the skills to teach your child. 

“A CACHE course covers themes of Health and well-being, legislation, frameworks and professional practice, play, development and learning for school readiness and a nursery placement. This qualification can be gained by anyone over the age of 16 years. A PGCE or teaching degree covers these areas and more detail into the development of individuals with more directly observed teaching placements and all participants must hold higher education qualifications before joining the course. This means that these qualifications provide a more robust model for teacher training. CACHE qualifications are awarded by the Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education. Or even better, a teaching degree such as a PGCE or Degree in Childhood Education. With these qualifications you know that your child’s teacher has studied the development of children and how to use this information to teach your child in the most effective way”, says Carrie Hoza of Dubai British Foundation.

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