Children begin learning from the moment they are born. It''s a well known fact that small children absorb knowledge at a much greater rate than their older siblings - and us, their ageing parents!
The most rapid development of a child''s brain takes place between birth and the age of two. However, your child continues to learn and develop rapidly during the important early years and you, the parent, are your child''s first teacher.
There comes a time when your child needs more stimulation than you the immediate family can provide, particularly if you and your partner are working, which is where nursery education really comes into it''s own.
It is widely recognised that children can benefit enormously from the social interaction that a nursery education brings - as well as gaining a head start in the classroom.
Children who attend day nurseries - even if only for a few sessions each week - learn to share, to be tolerant and how to behave considerately alongside their peers. These children are likely to be more confident and outgoing when they begin school than those children who have been ''cocooned'' in the family home for the first four years of life and therefore much less use to socialising.
There are hidden benefits too. Children who
attend nursery become used to eating away from home and trying out a range of
foods - so no nasty shocks when they first come face to face with a school
They may also have a wider appreciation of books and art - the classroom is often a more suitable environment for sloshing around glue and poster paints than your kitchen table and certainly less mess for you to clean up.
Since government introduced Early Years Funding more than a decade ago, more families have been encouraged to send their children to a day nursery prior to starting school.
Early Learning can give children a great start in life. Through learning and playing with other children in a safe and structured environment from an early age, they could have an invaluable head-start when they begin school.
This helps to ensure that they come out of the classroom much more self-confident, considerate and articulate, with well developed personalities and abilities.