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How to Choose a School for your Child

The question ‘how to choose a school for your child’ is an emotional one.  Their first day of school is one of the most important times in your child’s life. It’s the very first step in their journey towards the rest of their life – so, where your child goes to school matters. Here at ABC Day Nursery in Exmouth, we’re here to support you.

That’s why it’s essential that you choose the perfect school that’s right for your child.

There are more options out there than you’d think. With a choice of independent schools, state schools, preparatory schools and church schools (to name a few), it can be overwhelming to find the right fit.

That’s why we’ve compiled this guide on how to choose a school for your child.

What Do You Want for Your Child?

Before you even begin the search, you need to think about what you want for your child. This could be anything from universities you want them to think about in the future to how much nature they’re exposed to daily.

We recommend that you make a list of everything you want for your child. Don’t worry if you think your wants are frivolous; you can always reconsider aspects later.

For now, focus on the kind of school you picture your child spending the next few years.

Religion

An important thing to note when making your list is the role you want faith to play in your child’s education. Of all UK primary schools, 26.1% are Church of England, and 9.8% are Roman Catholic.

If you practise a religion other than Christianity but don’t want your child to go to a specialist school, make a separate list of exceptions (such as allocated time for prayer and holidays) that you need and look at schools that can accommodate them.

What Does Your Child Need?

Once you know what you want for your child, consider if your wishes reflect what your child needs.

Where Does Your Child Exceed?

Think about what your child enjoys doing and what they’re good at. A child will rarely love every aspect of their school life, but you can try and make the situation easier for them by picking a school that accommodates their interests.

If your child is particularly active, maybe a school with good sports facilities and provision would be a good fit. If they’re creative, an art school could be better.

Extra Support

There’s nothing wrong with needing a little extra support.

Think about anything your child may need a little extra help.

 For example:

  • Accessibility – does your child have mobility aids such as a wheelchair or crutches?
  • Learning difficulties – does your child struggle with numbers or letters? Do they need a little extra help with their reading?
  • Mental health disorders – has your child been diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or autism?

Make sure the schools you look at understand your child’s needs and can offer the proper support.

Boarding Schools

Another option available is a boarding school. If you move around a lot or believe your child could benefit from a boarding school, there are other things to consider.

These include:

  • Is the school full or flexi-boarding?
  • How do the school holidays fit in with your family life?
  • Are the fees all-inclusive, or are there optional extras?
  • What environment is the school in? Is it a bustling city or a countryside location?
  • Contact – how much, how often and how?

Be Practical

It’s all well and good to think big, but now you need to think practically. Every child is different, and schools can’t cater for everything.

It is important to look at the things you want in a school alongside the practical aspects and see if there is anywhere that matches your criteria.  

Distance

If you’re looking to send your child to a state school, then consider the catchment area that you’re in. This can affect your child’s chances of getting into the school, so it may be worth focusing on schools in your area.

Travel

Once you know the distance you’re willing to travel, you need to consider how your child will get to and from school every day.

Is the school within walking distance, and are you available to walk them? Do you have the time to drive them each morning, or is there the possibility of a car share? Does the school offer a bus or taxi service?

Cost

If you’ve decided that a private or a boarding school is the right fit for your child, you also need to consider the cost. 

You will need to pay for your child’s uniform and maybe their school meals. Some private schools also charge for additional help when requested as well as extra lessons for music.

Do Your  Research

With your wants and your child’s needs narrowed down, you can start looking in a more in-depth way at individual schools.

Most schools have a lot of information available to view online, so do your research.

Make sure the school can accommodate any extras you need and that their core values resonate with you.

Look at the school’s academic results as well as the school’s inspection reports from either ISI or from Ofsted.

You’ll also be able to see what other opportunities the school can offer your child. Things such as sports teams and afterschool clubs might be an excellent way for your child to make friends.

There’s nothing wrong with setting your sights high, but it’s a possibility that there isn’t a school that caters to every one of your specifications. Be willing to compromise, but don’t settle; this is your child’s future, after all.

Visit the School

Once you’ve narrowed your search, it’s time to go and visit the school.

This way, you can get a feel for the place that will have a considerable impact on your child as they grow and learn.

While you’re at school, think about:

  • The teachers – are you happy for them to teach your child?
  • The area – is it safe and accessible? Are you comfortable with your child spending five days a week there?
  • The Head – though they may not be the one teaching your child, the school is a reflection of them. Do you share their values of education?
  • If you can, try speaking with some of the children currently at the school. Can you see your child among them?

Some schools also offer open days for prospective parents. This may not fully reflect the day-to-day life at the school, but it will give a good idea of what the school values and promotes.

Remember to trust your gut. You know your child better than anyone and, if something doesn’t feel right, it is probably not.

The most important thing for you to think about when choosing a school is your child. All of this is for them, to help prepare them for a bright future.

Make sure you keep the big picture in mind. Your child is young and bursting with possibilities. Find a school that will nurture them, and you can rest assured that they will thrive.

Speak to our friendly team if you have any concerns or thoughts.  You can find a list of local schools many of our children join here.

See how our eldest children have prepared for school, this year, and visit our Facebook and Instagram pages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Home away from Home

We pride ourselves on being a happy home away from home, here at ABC Day Nursery.  It is important to ensure our children feel safe, loved and valued in everything they do.  We are a close-knit community at our nursery and we love to hear all our children’s stories.
 
The Adventurers have enjoyed the sunshine with some water play and looking after the baby dolls.  We encouraged them to talk about their family life.  They talked about who or what is special to them and we thoroughly enjoyed hearing all their lovely stories.
 
We pride ourselves on offering your children a second family here at ABC Day Nursery, so promoting their personal life is very important.
The children told us their mummies wash their hair, so we thought we would have a go with the baby dolls!
 
We know that supporting personal development builds self esteem in our children at nursery.  It builds their confidence, happiness, socialisation skills, emotional wellbeing and their attachments to family life.  
 
Come and see for yourself how we create a strong family ethos, a home away from home at ABC Day Nursery.  Contact us to book a visit and find out more.  Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages to see more pictures from baby washing week.
Home Away From Home

Teaching Self Care at ABC Day Nursery

We know how important teaching self care skills are ABC Day Nursery.  Encouraging children to be independent to do things by themselves is so important.  We believe it makes them more confident and resilient, ready for the challenges of ‘big school’…and life!
 
Coats in Summer?! Our Inventors have enjoyed the unpredictable weather and using their special self care dice to dress themselves.
They gave the dice a roll which decided the item of clothing they would attempt to put on by themselves.
 
They felt a huge sense of achievement when they successfully zipped up zips and tied shoe laces. It boosted their self belief and self esteem and shows that little things really do go a long way.
 
Read about how our approach to teaching self care at ABC Day Nursery and more about learning and development here.  Stay up-to-date with all our latest activities on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
Teaching Self Care at ABC Day Nursery

Making Maths Fun at ABC Day Nursery

We love making Maths fun at ABC Day Nursery and we did so this week by going all pre-historic!  It is important to engage children in their learning through imaginative and creative ways.  It makes learning enjoyable and not overt.  We aim to ensure that, when they leave us, our little ones have all the skills they need for primary school.
 
The Inventors put their explorer hats on and counted the number of dinosaur footprints in some playdough.   Maths through play is the best way to excite our Inventors.  It encourages them to use numbers in a sequence and they enjoy matching number amounts to the correct numerals!
 
It is not only Maths we make fun at ABC Day Nursery as we strive to engage our children in all key learning areas.  Read more about our approach to your child’s learning and development here.  Stay up to date with all our latest activities and visit our Facebook and Instagram pages.
Making Maths Fun at ABC Day Nursery

Puzzle Fun at ABC Day Nursery

We love having puzzle fun at ABC Day Nursery and we know that our children love tackling them at home, too! The Adventurers use puzzles to develop their problem solving skills and hand-eye coordination as they put the pieces in place.  There are many benefits to having some fun with puzzles and it’s never too early to start!
 
Some of the pieces were small and some were big and the Adventurers love to describe them!  They’ve practised using special words to describe ‘size’ and discovered which piece fits where.   Early Maths is so important, even in our youngest of children as it helps children problem solve.  It also teaches them to measure and develop their own spatial and number awareness.  They learn how to use and understand shapes. 
 
Next time you are out with your little one have a size and shape hunt. Who can find the biggest stick in the park?!  There are puzzles and shapes everywhere so why don’t you see how many you can spot and solve while out and about.  What shape is a roundabout?  Can your car fit in that space?  How big is that tree and what shape are the leaves?  Even your supermarket trolley contains items of different shapes and sizes. 
 
See all the other puzzle fun at ABC Day Nursery on our Facebook and Instagram pages.  If you would like to join the ABC Day Nursery family then simply contact us here.
Puzzle Fun at ABC Day Nursery

6 Summer Holiday Activities for Children

It’s finally the summer! That means you’re probably looking forward to weeks’ worth of quality time spent with the kids.

At our nursery in Exmouth, we know what a challenge it can be to keep children happy and engaged for weeks on end. That’s why we’ve made this list of 6 summer holiday activities that you can do with the kids this summer holiday.

SUMMER HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES AT HOME

If you love quality time with your little ones, then these at-home activities are the perfect choice for you this summer.

1. Summer Picnics

Nothing says summer quite like a picnic.

Grab a blanket and some sandwiches and head over to your local park to bask in the sun, or stay indoors and build yourself a den in the living room.

So long as you’ve got plenty of nibbles, this activity is sure to be a hit this summer that you can do over and over again.

2. Paddling Pool Parties

Paddling pools are widely available both online and in shops and are super easy to set up. Just inflate and fill it with water for hours of splashing summer fun.

You can always make it interesting with inflatables or toys that’ll keep the kids entertained for hours!

If you don’t have a garden, then don’t worry! Local leisure centres often host kid’s swims that are full of fun inflatables and water toys that are perfect for swimmers of all abilities.  However, don’t forget to check what restrictions your local pool still has in place.

CHILD-FRIENDLY HOLIDAYS

If you’re looking for a simple break that the kids will love, these activities are perfect.

3. Camping Trips

Whether it’s for a week break or a weekend, it’s time to make the most of the stunning countryside right outside your door.

Camping holidays are easy, affordable and available across the country. Whether you want to reconnect with nature or stay somewhere with some creature comforts, there’s something for everyone.

And if staying in a tent being beholden to the elements doesn’t appeal to you, there’s always cabins and pod holidays to consider!

4. Beach Holidays

In Devon, we’re extremely lucky in the fact that we’re rarely more than an hour away from a beach.

These locations are great for people who want a couple of days – or even weeks – away from their normal routine to just bask in the sun and sand.

Most beach towns will also have children’s activities, surf lessons and arcades that’ll keep kids occupied for hours!

FAMILY DAYS OUT

You don’t need days away to make a summer special. You can create amazing summer memories that’ll last a lifetime with great days out across the country.

Here are just a couple of the great attractions available in Devon.

5. Crealy Theme Park & Resort, Exeter

With rides, animals and 75,000 square feet of undercover play areas, this award-winning park is the perfect day out for the whole family no matter the weather.

Keep an eye on their calendar, as Crealy is also known to have action-packed events throughout the years, including special guests and appearances from kids TV characters.

6. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park

Paignton Zoo is the perfect attraction for the family this summer come rain or shine.

They have over 2,500 different animals spread out across 80 beautiful acres for you to roam and explore.

As well as educational animal talks, Paignton Zoo is also a registered charity and part of a network of zoos that care for and breed rare species.

We hope you enjoy trying out some of our 6 summer holiday activities.  Make some fantastic memories this summer!  We look forward to hearing all about your adventures from your child.

Want to join the ABC Day Nursery family in September?  Get in touch!  You can find all of the details of how to get in touch here.  Keep up to date with all of our latest activities by visiting our Facebook and Instagram pages.

6 Summer Holiday Activities for Children

Emotional Skills at ABC Day Nursery

Our children have been focusing on their emotional skills, this week, at ABC Day Nursery.  We think we have some actors in the making here in the Inventors…
 
We have made excellent use of our emotion mats, jumping onto each one and acting out the faces of each emotion represented.  Then, they talked about what things made them feel each emotion. 
 
Here at ABC Day Nursery, we think it’s really important to encourage the children to be confident in expressing how they feel.  We also teach them it’s important to understand the feelings of others. Building confidence and emotional awareness is vital in development to build confidence and relationships. 
 
So how do they feel? Being hot, running around and bedtime makes them feel tired.   When they are hungry or missing a loved one they feel sad.  Their mummies, daddies, siblings and grandparents make them happy, but not as happy as cake!  
 
Want to find out how you can support your child’s mental health and enable them to express their emotions?  Read our blog post on the importance of children’s mental health, which provides good tips on our to help your child develop their emotional skills.  View more images from our activities on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
 
Emotional Skills at ABC Day Nursery

5 Ways to Support Your Child’s Mental Health

We thought we would share 5 ways to support your child’s mental health.  It’s important to consider children’s mental health.  Parents and carers have an essential role in helping them develop and adapt to life’s challenges as they grow up. Mental health problems affect around one in ten children and young people.  This is often a response to what is taking place in their lives.

With mental health becoming more and more talked about in today’s society, we are looking at ways adults can help support children’s mental health in various ways.

SPEND TIME TOGETHER

Parents can become distracted with the requirements of everyday life. There are bills to pay, dinner to be made, work life and demands from children.  As such, it is essential to make time with your child one-to-one.  You can help put worries and distractions aside and listen to them. Just asking about their day; what happened at school and what they played with their friends can help you tune into their worries.

Carrying out a quiet activity together makes it easier to talk to your child without it becoming an interrogation and encourages your child to open up naturally.  Modern life is hectic and it can be difficult to find time to sit down together regularly.  However, it is important you do so, as it will benefit both you and your child in the long run.

STABLE RELATIONSHIPS

Children are very observant and will question everything that goes on around them. Adults are considered role models, and it is important our behaviour demonstrates how to deal with emotions, particularly anger and frustration. Providing a stable and consistent environment, particularly for younger children, helps your child feel secure and confident about the world around them. One way to build a good environment is through the relationships with the child and the relationships they see.

It is beneficial for young children to have people around them who support each other and don’t hide their own issues. An unstable relationship can be a risk factor to a child’s mental health. As mentioned above, children are observant and can pick up on issues even if they do not understand the cause. Being open with your children helps them understand what is going on and helps them deal with issues much easier.

PLAY

Children learn about themselves and the people around them through play. Particularly with younger children, playing can provide them with a way to express themselves if they can’t put it into words. Creative activities offer a bonding opportunity between family and friends, as children can tell a story through what they are doing. Role-playing games, either with dress up or toys can also offer insight into how a child is feeling.  We love role-play at ABC Day Nursery and make sure that our children have plenty of opportunities to express themselves.

PHYSICAL HEALTH

Physical health is often linked with mental health, and a physically healthy child is more likely to feel better about themselves mentally. It is important to keep your children active through activity.  This is even more important as they get older.  In addition to that, eating a balanced diet and staying away from indulging in sugary and fatty foods is part of a healthy lifestyle. If you notice your child is not eating well, not enjoying sports and not getting outside to do exercise, it could be a sign there are underlying mental health issues.

FINDING THEIR PASSION

One way to support your child’s mental health is through finding their passion and a hobby they love.  A passion or hobby can provide a much-needed outlet, no matter how young a child is.  It also gives them something they can control. 

At our nursery in Exmouth we take our children’s mental health seriously and aim to teach them ways of expressing and explaining their emotions.  We hope to ensure children leave us for primary school ready to tackle life’s challenges ahead.  Find out about how we approach children’s learning and development here.

Stay up to date up with all our activities by visiting our Facebook and Instagram pages.

5 Ways to Support Your Child's Mental Health

A Bug’s Life at ABC Day Nursery!

It’s a bug’s life at ABC Day Nursery!  There have been some exciting developments in the Inventors’ garden as a bug hotel has been created.  Our children have been very excited to see what creepy crawlies take up residence.  They have left vegetable scraps as food for the new arrivals.  We hope to see lots of different species about which to learn.

The new ABC bug hotel provided the perfect opportunity for the children to learn through play.  We encourage them to be naturally inquisitive, supported by our curiosity approach to their learning.  Read more about our approach to our children’s learning and development here.

See more pictures of our bug hotel at ABC Day Nursery on our Facebook and Instagram pages.  Now who wants to watch the film A Bug’s Life?!

Bug's Life at ABC Day Nursery

Sensory Story Telling at ABC Day Nursery

Our children love how we introduce sensory story telling at ABC Day Nursery.  This week, we’ve been helping develop the children’s role play skills using the ever-popular story ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’.  Our book shelves are packed with lots of exciting and lovely stories for our children to enjoy.  Our story corners certainly get lots of use!
 
Role play is an important part of child development.  It builds confidence, creativity communication, physical development and problem solving. It is a fun activity that also allows children to act out real life roles or fictional performances.  We take our children’s learning and development seriously…but make sure our children always learn while having fun!  Sensory story telling is just one of the many things we do at ABC Day Nursery to encourage our children to develop their role play skills.
 
Keep up to date with all of our latest activities and visit our Facebook and Instagram pages.  Why not also read our blog about Encouraging Imagination at ABC Day Nursery?
 
Sensory Story Telling ABC Day Nursery