Guided Montessori Activity at Little Land - Gardening

Although it may seem like a child’s nursery schedule should revolve around the parent’s schedule, it should actually be the other way around; nursery is not just somewhere safe to leave your child whilst you work a 9-5 day.

Little Land Nursery timing ends at 12:30 pm, and here’s why…

We believe in something we call ‘Golden Timing’. We finish at 12:30 pm because that’s what’s best for your child. We work with the natural cycle of children in terms of their development – there’s a wave of time that corresponds directly to how a child’s brain is developing. At our nursery, we utilise that timeframe to optimise your child’s learning and growth.

At 12:30 pm, the time most beneficial to their education is finished. After this, there are many other useful afternoon activities for children and that depends on their age. For example, some younger children may need to rest while some might enjoy activities in our Creative Class.

Is it detrimental for children to be in nursery all day, and how?

We are conscious to avoid the institutionalisation of children. The hours of 8am to 5pm is an adult’s workday – it is not appropriate to be introducing children to that time cycle at their age. Instead, by our system under our timetable, children get the best of both worlds. At nursery, children have the opportunity to learn in the best possible way; at home, they continue their bond with their family or carer.

The connection between a child’s education at nursery and their homelife is so important. The philosophy of Montessori says that both families and teachers need to honour each individual child’s potential for growth and development.

In 2014, Mary Bousted, then-general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and now Joint General-Secretary of The National Education Union (NEU), spoke of her concerns that toddlers or young children under four years old were becoming institutionalised. Bousted said that overexposure to childcare had very negative consequences for infants, who risk failing to bond properly with their parents or develop key skills in the early years.

With being in nursery all day, not only is there the risk of institutionalisation of the children, but also a risk of a disconnecting bond between the child and their homelife.

How does a child benefit from having fewer hours at a nursery?

By working with the aforementioned wave pattern of a child’s natural day cycle, we’re optimising their learning. As children concentrate better in the morning, that’s when the learning will take place in the classroom. The rest of the morning will follow that cycle of energy spikes. For example, a typical morning may look like:

  1. Learning time – High intense activity to match with the highest level of concentration in the child’s day 
  2. Relaxation time – A lower energy spike is reached in the cycle
  3. Playtime and snack time – Another wave of high energy that is met with time to use their imagination, explore and utilise that energy in a physical way
  4. Reading or Interactive Time – Some relaxed and gentle activity to match a lower energy point

How should a child’s day be structured?

Children doing Creative Activities at the Nursery

As well as working with a child’s natural energy spikes, the most important element to the structure of the day here at Little Land Nursery is freedom of self-choice and self-directed activity, under the guidance of the teacher. “The liberty of the children is a guided liberty”. That means working with what the child needs whilst under the guidance of the teacher, in “her position of observer”.

Under other timetables, when a child is given a very specific task to perform in a very precise timeframe, as well as limiting their freedom to choose and learn, it can also create a very chaotic and interrupted structure. A child may have barely started an activity before they are being scurried off to the next.

So instead, whilst within the boundaries provided by the energy cycle of the child, the ‘liberty of the pupils in their spontaneous manifestations’ remains the guiding principle of the classroom and therefore the structure of the day within it.

What is the after school “creative class” option?

Our Creative Class runs from 12:30 pm until 2:00 pm and is run by Sylvia, one of our long-standing members of staff. It’s a small group of children, between two to eight, who remain after the nursery day is done. Due to the smaller number of children in the class, there are often some lovely friendships developed amongst these children.

Keep your child engaged and happy at home

Receive free fun activities and learning material for your toddler.

The usual structure of the class involves snack time, playtime, outside time and, of course, some creativity activities. The class will sometimes revolve around a theme, for example creating crafts around an upcoming event such as Father’s Day.

We recommend the Creative Class for children over 18 months old, as children younger than this would often not benefit due to being too fatigued.

If both parents work, how should they approach day care and the fact they may be limited in picking them up at an earlier time?

In these circumstances, we often find that parents will create a ‘taxi’ system – either within the family or with close and trusted friends. So, for example, the father will drop their child off in the morning and then another family member will pick the child up at 12:30 pm. Or it may be a nanny or close friend who will do the end-of-day collection.

Again, we re-emphasise that there are many benefits to keeping to the ‘Golden Time’ schedule and that it would be in both the parents and most importantly the child’s best interest to find a solution that works for their schedule.

All day at nursery vs being with a nanny at home

Alfred Adler, psychotherapist and founder of Individual Psychology, said:

“We also find a buffalo herd massing itself together and thus defending the group successfully against individual enemies of far greater power…

Education is a necessity because of the child’s physical immaturity, and the goal of education is provided by the fact that the overcoming of the child’s immaturity can only be had by relying on the group. Education must necessarily be social in purpose.” – The Education

In other words, just as in the animal kingdom, humans fare better when part of the ‘herd’. This is especially important during our formative years and in education.

Social interaction teaches children so much. There are skills learnt from their peers that cannot be taught at home with a nanny, such as the reasonable expectations from society on how to act and react. For example, at nursery a child will learn how to share toys with others – and, of course, they will also experience children who choose not to give over their own toy at that particular minute! This helps the child begin to learn about how sharing works and also how to be patient.

Nursery socialisation teaches children other valuable and essential skills such as:

  • Leadership
  • Negotiation
  • Resilience
  • Routine
  • Structure
  • Creativity

Most importantly, it is not just through a teacher that the child is educated in these skills but that it is children teaching other children these skills. As Dr. Montessori said, “There are many things which no teacher can convey to a child of three, but a child of five can do it with the utmost of ease.”

If you want to learn more how we do it at Little Land Nursery, book a personal tour today.