Our focus in this article has been on the nursery or pre-primary school, but we have also mentioned other establishments such as the daycare center.
In evaluating these institutions the philosophy and objective of the establishment must be ascertained.
However, one common goal no matter the philosophy should be the well-being of the children and the satisfaction of parents.
The above could be partially judged from answering the following questions:
- Are the objectives of the establishment/institution clear and discussable by the proprietor(s)?
- Is the establishment, school, or are conceived, planned, and set up to serve pre-school children such that the buildings, the furniture, and other equipment are made to the size and convenience of these children?
- Are the teachers/care governable experiences and qualified and equipped to teach/provide care for children of this age?
- Does the prove program’s institution fulfill the needs of the children socially, emotionally, physically and, intellectually?
- Is the program enrolment in the sense of providing for growth and the growing needs of children manifested in their characteristics through the availability of infrastructure, space, and appropriate equipment as well as curricular activities executed in the school/establishment?
- Does the program the parents’ needs and aspirations for their children as they do receive them?
- Do parents feel confident, happy, and enthusiastic about the program activities in the school, such that they openly and contribute to the well-being of the school/convented the children themselves feel happy and enthusiastic about their school?
- Do they look forward to attending?
- Is the program, ministered with sufficient flexibility to enable changes, modification and, adjustment as the need arises?
If the above questions receive mainly affirmative answers. then one can describe the establishment as good.
In Nigeria, the majority of pre-school establishments are privately owned and operated as private enterprises. Thus, the profit motive there. If this motive receives inordinately disproportionate attention then much harm can be done.
Establishments are best conceived as a form of social service for the community. Whether the community or an individual owns them or not, the focus should be on services, on improving the lives of the community through the provision of opportunity for quality nursery schooling, or enlightened child care and relief for parents.
Conceived this way, both the strengths and shortcomings of any pre-school establishment can become features of adjustment in the service of the community.
Such a conception could be demonstrated in the membership of the Board of Governors for the school/center which could knowledgeable members of the community, and those who have made valuable contributions to community welfare.
Another issue is whether the developmental emphasis of the establishment focuses on either the social excitements or the intellectual.
These days when we think more of “whole child developmental care” rather than specific emphasis areas, pre-school establishments should cater for all aspects, and they should have programs that encompass the entire developmental continuum.
However, as has clearly been stated,day-care services do not address the same needs as nursery schools because of differing objectives.
In this country, where teachers in nursery schools are not appropriately trained on “how to teach young children”, and here few citizens realize the difference between the day-care and the nursery school.
Many Nigerian pre-school establishments concentrate on rote teaching and rote learning of academic skills most of the time Thus, when, ever is evaluating has to ascertain first, whether services being provided are day-care or nursery schooling after which adequacy can be assessed from that point of view. However, some basic features and necessities must always be present
Materials and Equipment
Since young children’s learning is enriched through their senses of sight, sound, touch, and smell, their classrooms should be provided with rich opportunities to explore the world around them and to use their senses,
- To develop coordination between mind and muscle.
- To develop their full emotional, intellectual, physical, and social potential.
It is important to remember that learning is something that goes on inside a child and a classroom is a place where it is more important for children to learn than for the teacher to teach.
An important part of creating a learning environment is to listen to children and accept their contributions and points of view.
Children have to be made to feel that their ideas are interesting and intelligent before they can have the courage to explore and investigate the world.
Research in this area leads to the knowledge that a child learns best when provided with many materials and experiences from which to choose
activities that suit his or her level of development.
Childhood educators should never decide on all answers be beforehand flexibility should be that he watched words and this should also guide the choice of material for the nursery school. This can be done using the following criteria:
- Durability and sturdiness
- Satisfaction of intellectual and emotional needs
- Interest for children
- Storage facility
- Budgetary considerations
More specifically, the following questions might be useful as guides when assessing the adequacy of materials.
When materials are painted the cool colors recommend for children are yellow, pink, blue, red.
- Is the material safe, non-flammable, non-poisonous, not likely to break or chip off, with normal use?
- Will most children for whom the material is meant, be able to use it?
- Will the article/material wear well with use?
- Will the material be able to stand up to handling and weather conditions?
- Is it pleasing to look at?
- Will it challenge the children’s imagination?
- Will the children be able to use it without much assistance?
- Will the material attract the attention and hold the interest of the children in topline it?
What to Select
A variety of materials preferably painted with children’s favorite colors must be provided, including:
- Toys It is always better to purchase toys in sets such as learning toys, toy cars, puzzles, games, cards. When these are in sets, children do not have to struggle to use them since up to 3 – 5 children can use the same type of toy at the same time and this would probably exhaust all the core group.
- Recreational Equipment bicycle, swings. slides, jungle man. rocking horse, heaps of sand merry-go-round, skipping rope, concrete tunnel, or drums.
- Books and Book Materials – large print books. thick paged, with large clear attractive pictures, charts or stories that are short and interesting, colorful posters, etc.
- Records – Radio cassette player and taped cassettes of children’s verses, poems, rhymes, and songs. The children’s voices when taped are especially exciting to them. The television and video player is possible
- Furniture – cupboards, shelves, seats, cots, tables, stools, mats, bookcases display shelves
- Household Materials – cups, plates, mortar and pestle, cooking stove, tripod, pots and pans, spoons, ladle, chopping board, blunt knives, mats, pillows, mattresses, beds.
The number of persons who work in a pre-school establishment is dependent on the size. But, unless it is a one-person undertaking, there is usually, a hierarchy is made up of those who direct or make policy and who execute or obey directives given.
To whichever category one belongs the workers, in a pre-establishment next from the director. right down to the cleaner, must be people who care deeply for and about children.
The personnel helps make the atmosphere of the pre-school mellow, homely and attractive to the young child We discussed the qualification, characteristics, and qualities of the nursery teacher or caregiver in more detail in the section on teachers of young children.
The location of the nursery school should preferably be in a quiet spacious area, and everything should be done to avoid overcrowding.
I should not be near a road junction, railway crossing, so that danger to children is reduced to the barest minimum. Inside each nursery school classroom, small classroom tables are preferable, to be shared by 2 – 4 children, with each child having an individual chair.
Wall chalk-board or movable boards, cupboards, shelves, should be available to give the children space for storing their materials, for learning different things in an atmosphere and environment of sufficiency and relaxation.
The nursery school compound is expected to portray the atmosphere of order, beauty and serenity brought about by carefully planned buildings, lawns, flower gardens, and well-laid-out equipment.
Since we have already noted that early learning lasts long and shapes behavior, the sense of beauty and order should be cultivated early in children’s lives.
This is best done in practical terms by arranging the early childhood learning environment to reflect those virtues Order is best taught through providing for and insisting that each child must have a space to store his/her property and that at the end of each activity.
Things are put away in the correct places. In other words, the nursery school can successfully teach the children that everything has its place.
Dangerous objects such as nails, pieces of metal, wire, sticks, broken bottles, left-over building materials, broken down equipment including toys and play materials should be put away rather than left lying around.
The nursery school/center gate, if any, should be secure and able to lock or close as required so that children are adequately protected but not tampered with when they need to leave for legitimate reasons.
The purpose of early childhood education is to provide young children with such skills and care that will enable them to enjoy their childhood while at the same time building knowledgeable confidence experience for the future. Much of the childcare in the past had been haphazard and uninformed.
Today, not only are we much wiser regarding the needs of children, but the challenges facing society are so enormous that to face them requires careful and informed planning.
Ignorance about the behavior and developmental needs of children can no longer be an excuse.
Teachers of young children must be educated to face their task with knowledge, courage, and commitment, supported by society with executing attitude of recognition, appreciation, favorable working conditions.
Childhood education curricular must be fashioned from a position of knowledge of children’s needs and characteristics. Content has to be determined based on the interest and ability of the young children.
Techniques for mediating the content have to relate to the activities and pursuits of young children especially pay so that as they play they learn as they learn they play.
The value and philosophy of play need to be thoroughly appreciated and understood, for the success of childhood teaching, and indeed any meaningful interaction with children depends on this understanding and this appreciation.
Activities in the early childhood “school” have to be those which relate to the daily experience of the children so that in the course of these activities they continue to live and learn
Child-like activities enable children to continue to be children even while in school. In this situation, they not only learn more and more efficient but they also develop inner strength to build their personality
The early childhood environment should be lovely and child-oriented in every detail such that the child is in no doubt that the facilities are for him Equipment should be child-sized, attractive, and designed to build an aesthetic taste in the users.
These represent the aspirations for early childhood education and the future of our country: It was a renowned citizen of our country Chinua Achebe who, translating into English a well-known local adage, said that when the quarry learns to run without stopping the hunter learns to shoot without missing”.
We must devise contemporary solutions for contemporary problems, and since education contains a strong caring base, childhood education addresses caring at a delicate and critical period in the life of the human being.
These constitute the dynamics of childhood education, to capture the magic moment and build on it so that parents government and the community would support the child to face he
potential for achievement and growth.
The development of inspiring leadership, a recognized need in Nigeria must begin with caring for and rearing young children to believe
in themselves through the acquisition of appropriate skills and in a wholesome environment