The Advantages of a Pre-school vs a Nursery School

Article by Miss Carmen Opperman

This article aims to help you as parents in your decision-making process and show you why you should choose a pre-school over a crèche or nursery school.

Early Childhood Education

is vital for any child as it lays the foundation for their social-emotional growth and academic future. Parents frequently face the challenge of choosing between sending their children to a pre-school for their early years or to a crèche or nursery school.

Socialisation and peer interaction: Pre-schools offer ample opportunities for children to interact with other children their age and with children of different ages, both younger and older. This helps them develop their social skills, which in turn helps them better regulate their emotions.

Burchinal, Howers, Pianta, Bryant, Early, Clifford& Barbarin (2008:141) mention that positive interaction with adults, as well as a calming and stimulating classroom climate, will foster positive emotional support and will, in turn, ensure that the atmosphere will promote optimal learning. With activities such as group play, children will learn to develop important social skills such as conflict resolution and empathy. Structured learning environment: Preschools emphasise the importance of early childhood education by focusing on age-appropriate curriculum and activities. They offer a more structured learning environment that helps to stimulate cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Research by Vandell and Wolfe (2000:98) proved that children in a structured early educational setting showed higher cognitive and social competence than those in a less structured environment. School Readiness: Preschools play a vital role in ensuring that children are ready for formal schooling. They introduce pre-reading and writing and lay the foundation for mathematical concepts playfully and engagingly. By doing that, pre-schools foster school readiness. Studies done by Duncan and Magnuson (2013:128) revealed that children who attend pre-school showed higher levels of pre-reading, pre-writing, and basic mathematical skills, which gave them a considerable advantage in formal schooling.

Qualified teaching staff: Pre-schools will only employ qualified early childhood educators with specialised child development training. Zambrana (2022:13) mentions the importance of having qualified teachers to promote positive learning and to ensure school readiness. She further mentions the vital role that qualified teachers play in detecting early on if a child needs any interventions in learning by ensuring parental involvement and constant feedback.

Pre-school education offers distinct advantages in terms of socialisation and peer interaction, structured learning environment, school readiness, and qualified teaching staff. Investing in quality pre-school education will ensure that a strong foundation is laid for a child’s academic success and social and emotional well-being.