Nursery School

  • The Nursery school of La Maisonnette

  • Our nursery school is for children between the ages of three months and three years and is broken into groups according to age.
    At this stage children are introduced to English and French through songs, stories and everyday phrases.

    Our goal, at both the nursery school level and the kindergarten level, is to enable children to develop in a balanced way. In order to achieve this it is important for children to have a welcoming environment, designed to their needs, which allows them to choose what they want to do depending on their interests – games, activities, opportunities for spontaneous (unmediated) socialization, for the formation of closely-knit groups, indispensable to a child’s affectivity.
    In nursery school the role of the teacher is thus not directive but vigilant, aimed at offering space and materials and helping children to learn how to respect them and their companions; this leads to the development of children’s communicative, motor, awareness, cognitive and relational skills and enables them to acquire basic social skills.
    In nursery school games are essential inasmuch as complex expressions of a child’s abilities and limitations.

    The first concern in setting up a program, is to schedule ample time for children to get used to a daily routine and to choose subjects based on their preferences: animals, sounds, pretend cooking, water, gardening, pouring, the body, etc., which involve sensorial experimentation.
    In nursery school only by being in touch with their own bodies can children learn how to learn. Motor, olfaction, tactile, audio, visual and taste experiences are part of non-verbal communication – predominant in children of this age.
    Our program is organized around subjects and languages.

    Getting used to school: the nursery school

    Although it is impossible to foresee how and when a child will become accustomed to school, we have worked out a program that parents can readily understand, which stresses gradual, non-stressful introduction to nursery school.
    We must keep in mind that a child’s first experience in school is extremely delicate, so nursery school is very important and must be approached gradually but decisively. Parents mustn’t think that it is a trial period that may or may not succeed.
    Children must get used to their new surroundings and the new adult figures in it and the idea that their parents will leave but will come back.

    The importance of routine in nursery school

    A routine is a series of activities repeated at the same time every day. Mainly based on physiological needs, it provides an excellent way to learn about time.
    In nursery school routine must be given as much consideration as any other activity in a program.
    Carrying out daily activities like changing diapers, eating lunch, and all other repetitive experiences at fixed times, gives children a sense of security because they know what to expect.
    It helps children develop independence.

    Tri-lingualism at nursery school level

    Tri-lingualism is part of all our activities. In our nursery school these three languages (French, English, Italian) depending on which teacher is involved, are used throughout the day, from the time children arrive, during free playtime, organized activities, snack time and lunch. The three languages are spread out throughout the day.
    Each teacher brings his/her own culture into the nursery school, offering children an inter-cultural environment.
    They sing songs from their own countries, read books and organize events based on their own traditional holidays and everyday customs.

    Problem-solving games and the treasure basket in nursery school

    In the 2007-08 school year we introduced new kinds of exploratory games in nursery school.
    At the youngest level we introduced ‘the basket of treasures’. There is a basket of everyday objects such as keys, brushes, etc. which the children are welcome to pick from and experiment with. They find this very stimulating.
    In our nursery school the problem-solving game is played with children from twelve to twenty months and involves many different objects and containers with which to play freely, without intervention on the part of the teachers, for a predefined period of time in a controlled environment.

    Documentation

    At the end of the school year we present the parents with folders containing all the work, drawings and photographs done by the children over the year at nursery school level.

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