The Blog

As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!

Choosing a Nursery School or a Nursing Home (similar)

The  best  teachers  for children during their  first  three
years of life are the parents.   It is important that  assistance
be  given  to  the  new child’s first  teachers  because  of  the
educational  consequences  of these experiences for  the  child’s
life-long development.   After this period, parents may find that
a  nursery school experience is necessary for the child in  order
for a parent to return to work or because most of the children in
the   neighborhood   go  to  nursery  school  and   it   provides
companionship for the child.   Some parents desire nursery school
for  their child in order to give them a much needed time-off  in
what can be an overwhelming job.   If there is a new child in the
family,  nursery  school also provides an excellent solution  for
the problem of sibling rivalry.

The   National  Association  for  the  Education  of   Young
Children  looks for several things in granting  certification  to
child care programs.  They look for healthy activities like block
building,  storybook reading,  sand and water play, painting and
listening to music, and exercise on a jungle gym. They are wary
of programs that offer only passive activities  like  television

There  are  several basics for any child care program  which
should not be comprised.   Do staff members respect children, pay
attention to them when they are speaking, get down on their level                   
to talk to them,  treat them with affection, and encourage  each
individually?   Do  staff treat children of many backgrounds with
the same respect and affection and do they encourage children  to
develop independence?   Do they know developmental stages for the
children.   Is  consideration given to the individual differences
among the children?

Do staff members treat each other with respect?   This is an
important item.   Children need models for good behavior.  Adults
cannot  expect children to respond well to each other when  their
adult models are not encouraging each other.

It  is important that parents feel welcome at the school  at
any time,  as participants, observers, or volunteers to help on a
regular  basis.   It  is always nice to welcome  working  parents
during their lunch hour to share lunch with their child.

In general,  it is best to look at the quality of the people
working in the nursery school first and at the program second.  A
warm,  responsible adult is more helpful to a child than a modern
building, new equipment, or the latest fad in procedures.

It  is interesting to me to note that the same advice  given
to  a person choosing a nursery school for children also  applies
to  choosing a nursing home for an aging relative.  Look for  the
atmosphere that makes you feel that the people in the home really
enjoy  old people.   They do not talk down to them.   They  treat
them  as people with opinions able to act responsibly when  given
the  opportunity.   The ambiance should emphasize living  things,
indoor plants,  perhaps some pets.   Through windows,  patios and             
recreational  areas,  the  out-of-doors  should  be  visible  and
accessible.   Also  the  nursing home  personnel  should  welcome
visitors  at  any  time  of the day as a happy  addition  to  the
pleasant atmosphere.

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