The Importance Of Your Child’s First Three Years At School

Posted: 31st January 2023

The quality of a child’s education undoubtedly has a lasting impact on the rest of their life. But how important are their first three years at school?

A child’s early years are the foundation for their future development, providing a strong base for lifelong learning abilities, including cognitive and social development. The quality of a child’s education in the first few years of life, has a lasting effect on their school life and beyond.

90% of a child’s brain develops by age 5. Research shows that the brain connections required for many important higher-level abilities are formed during this time. This scientific consensus is supported by a recent report from the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, led by The Princess of Wales, who consider it to be the most pivotal age for development, future health and happiness.

Many educators, including our Early Years specialists, agree with this philosophy and that Nursery and Reception are the ideal time to start a challenging, accelerated curriculum. The reason being that younger minds learn much faster.

However, in the recent study by the Royal Foundation, it was noted that there is a significant proportion of UK parents of a 0-5-year-old (69%) who underestimate the critical importance of the early years.

Positive experiences in your child’s first three years of school can benefit them in developing social skills and their ability to learn which will set them up for life. Research by Durham University and the Department for Education suggests pupils in the ‘most effective’ Reception classes can expect to earn between £2,000 and £7,500 more on average than their peers in less effective settings. This is why the school selection process is so important.

Development is not an automatic process, it depends on each unique child being given opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments. Therefore it is paramount that all learning activities are carefully planned, well-structured and supported, within enabling environments to ensure that all children have appropriate experiences, which will allow every child to move from Nursery, to Reception and beyond with confidence, social awareness and a readiness for learning.

At The Oratory Prep School, our approach to embedding the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum focuses on extending your child’s learning through a vast range of enriching activities, enabling them to use their imagination and creativity, whilst building problem solving skills and independence.

Our Early Years specialist and Nursery Manager, Mrs Rhian Cooper, says,

“I fundamentally believe that in the Early Years, children create a strong foundation for learning. Here at Little Oaks, we pride ourselves in having a holistic approach to a child’s development. Through meaningful experiences, children are free to play and explore their environment. We meaningfully cater for children’s interests and individual needs and support a child’s early education, health and nutrition, psychology, social and emotional wellbeing and basic daily care needs alongside the Foundation Stage Curriculum.

We also offer a rich outdoor learning environment, encouraging the development of children’s problem-solving, communication, language, personal, social and emotional skills alongside engagement. I am particularly passionate about encouraging children to learn and develop in their own way and strongly believe that we can encourage this by giving opportunities for children to access this through continuous play provision, enabling children to embed their development and key-stage skills.”

To find out more about our Early Years provision, book a place on our upcoming Open Morning on Friday 10th February.

Categories: Early Years Our Blog School News
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