Tag Archive for: preschools

Inspirational Quotes About Nature in Childhood

Inspirational Quotes about Nature in Childhood

While writing a recent post relating to the benefits of nature in childhood, we came across some profound quotations about the topic. Inspired and, at times, touched by some of these, we decided to gather some of our favourites together for today’s post. We therefore share with you today Inspirational Quotes About Nature in Childhood. We hope you, too, are inspired by them — perhaps enough that you encourage your little one(s) to spend even more time with you outdoors, closer to nature. It’s incredibly good for them. Take a look, bookmark the page, and perhaps even save the quote images to print and display at home.

TIP: Click Ctrl+D on your keyboard to bookmark this post

Some of the quotations are touching, aren’t they? Clearly, many of the great poets, scientists, educators, academics, and scholars recognised the hugely positive impact that nature has on children — and indeed people of all ages. And, as we head towards summer at the time of writing, the weather should soon allow families to spend more time outdoors, so they can reap the many important benefits that nature and outdoor play have to offer. Perhaps start by downloading our free posters for a bird spotting activity, a minibeast activity, or a butterfly spotting session. Children will love to see what (or rather who) they can find in the natural world!

We hope you enjoyed and were inspired by today’s batch of quotations. We’ll publish more quotes relating to childhood in due course, so perhaps click Ctrl+D on your keyboard to bookmark this post or our blog area.

Nature Education at Little Acorns Nursery, Hindley Green

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School in Hindley Green, near Wigan, Bolton & ManchesterChildren at Little Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green are very fortunate to have access, when appropriate, to extensive grounds. These are subdivided into several zones, which include nature and wild areas as well as sensory zones, sand and water play and much, much more. The gardens and outdoor play zones are places where children can explore, discover, and learn in a highly stimulating environment, all under the safe supervision of our nursery practitioners.

Weekday Nursery & Preschool Places Near Wigan

If you would like to explore a possible childcare place in an exceptional Hindley Green nursery near Wigan, please get in touch using one of the options below. We support various Government-funded childcare schemes too, meaning free childcare hours are available for eligible families. Please choose an option to get started:

Little Acorns is a high-quality nursery & preschool in Hindley Green, near Wigan. As such, we may also suit families that require childcare services near Bickershaw, Leigh, Atherton, Westhoughton, Ince-in-Makerfield, Platt Bridge, Tyldesley, Bolton and Greater Manchester.

A Guide to April’s National Offer Day for Primary School Places

A Guide to April’s National Offer Day for Primary School Places in England

Starting school is a huge milestone for families. If you’re a parent or guardian of a child who will soon reach the age of 3 in the UK, you’ll need to make an application for your child’s primary school very soon. Today’s guide is designed to help you understand just about everything you need to know about the process of obtaining a school place for your child and what to expect on National Offer Day — specifically for primary school places.

Primary School Offers Day: 16 April*

There are two key ‘school offers’ days each year. The first arrives usually on the 1st of March* and is for secondary school places. The second, which we’ll focus on in today’s guide, usually arrives on the 16th of April* each year and pertains to offers for primary school places in the UK.

* The exact date may be slightly later if the usual ‘offer’ date coincides with a public holiday or weekend. In such cases, the offer date will be delayed until the next working day. Note, too, that applying late, by post, or ‘in-year’ (for a start date other than in the September term) is likely to result in offers being received at a later date.

Apply for a Primary School Place at the Right Time

Whether you want your under-five child to start school at 4 or 5 (see below), you should make the application for a school place when they are 3 or, at the very latest, when they have just turned 4.

Should Children Start School at 4 or 5?

Starting Primary School at Age 4

Most children in the UK start in ‘Reception’ year at primary/infant school at the age of 4. This is before the age required by law and usually starts in the September term. For these children, families will need to have applied for their place between September of the previous year and the 15th of January in the year they begin.

Deferring until Age 5

However, children born between the 1st of April and the 31st of August can legally begin school a little later if their parent/guardian/carer so chooses. This could be, for example, if the child’s parents believe the child is not yet ready for the challenges associated with school.

What Does the Law Say About Starting School?

The law states that children reach what’s known as Compulsory School Age in the UK on the 31st of either December, March or August following their fifth birthday (whichever arrives soonest). It’s worth noting, however, that schools and admission authorities have the right to decide whether children starting at five (rather than four) will begin in Reception year one year later than most other children of their age, or skip Reception completely and go straight into Year One with their matching age group. The child’s best interests will affect the decision, including factors like their individual needs and abilities. More information about deferring until five is available here.

Applying for a Primary School Place

You can register an interest directly with your primary school of choice and indeed they can usually give you information about how to apply. However, registering an interest does not guarantee your child a place even if the school is attached to the nursery/preschool your child already attends. Ultimately you normally need to make the formal application through your local authority and this is usually best done online, as outlined below.

To start an application for primary school for your child, go to this Gov.uk address, enter your postcode, and click the green ‘Find’ button. The site will then match you with your local authority. For example, for those near our nursery in Hindley Green near Wigan, it resulted in a button linked to Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council’s ‘Primary School Admissions’ page. This, as per its equivalents for other areas, gives lots of information about applying for a primary school place together with all the appropriate hyperlinks for applications, appeals, further information, and suchlike.

As part of your application, you will have the opportunity to confirm, in order, your topmost preferred primary schools. Subject to there being available spaces, the order of your preferences will be taken into consideration when places are allocated. However, other factors outlined later in this guide are also likely to affect your child’s offer.

Applying Late

If you miss the 15th of January deadline for standard primary school places with a September term start, the local authority’s site will give you access to a ‘late application form’. Note, however, that applying after the 15th of January means your application will be processed after those received on time. The effect this will have on your application is that you will have a lower chance of getting a place at your preferred school — as many places are likely to have been allocated before the local authority came to process your (late) application.

Changing Your Mind

For anyone who changes their mind about their preferred school choice(s), your local authority website will also give you options and guidance. This may include online options but some may also require the use of a late application form which, if used after the 15th of January, may also give you a lower chance of receiving an offer for your child’s preferred school.

Criteria Affecting Primary School Offers

Local authorities will first process applications made on time, so those stand the best chance of success. Late applications will be processed after all the ‘on time’ applications have been allocated places.

Either way, the criteria affecting whether a child receives a primary school place at their preferred school may also include factors like the following:

  • Their home’s proximity to the selected primary school;
  • Whether your child has a sibling already at the school;
  • Whether you, the parent, have worked at the school (2+ years);
  • Whether it’s a faith school matching your child’s religion;
  • Whether the child is eligible for the Pupil Premium or Service Pupil Premium.
  • … and other potential factors.

If, for any reason, your child is not offered a place at any of your preferred primary schools, your local authority will have to offer you a place at an alternative school. This will usually be the closest available school to your child’s home. However, it’s worth noting that such a scenario is quite rare, with only 1.4% of applicants not receiving offers from one of their ‘preferred’ schools in 2023.

Primary School Offers & National Offer Day

The majority of applicants, particularly those who applied on time, will receive primary school offers on National Offer Day, which arrives on 16 April or soon afterwards if that falls on a weekend or public holiday. Those who included an email address as part of their application will receive offers during that day while those who are informed via post may receive offers via 2nd Class post a couple of days or so later. However, some local authorities also allow parents to log into a portal to view primary school offers.

Accepting, Rejecting or Appealing a Primary School Offer

Primary school offer confirmations will include a deadline by which the offer must be accepted if that’s the parent’s intention. Failure to accept an offer by that date may mean that the primary school place is instead offered to someone else, for example, a child on a waiting list for that school (we’ll come to waiting lists shortly).

If you are one of the small proportion of families who did not receive an offer from a preferred primary school, you can appeal the decision and offer confirmations will include details about the appeals process. Learn more about appeals here.  However, it’s usually wise to first accept any offer provided so that, if your appeal is rejected, your child has a school place to fall back on. Doing so should not affect the outcome of your appeal.

Waiting Lists

Waiting lists are an option for those families who:

  • don’t receive an offer for a preferred primary school, or;
  • receive no school offer at all (rare), or;
  • decide they simply want to switch to a different primary school for one reason or another.

To apply to be put on a school’s waiting list, contact your local authority and perhaps also register your interest directly with the school itself, so they are aware. Having an existing school offer/place does not preclude you from going on an alternative school’s waiting list, by the way.

Good Luck from Little Acorns Nursery School, Hindley Green, Wigan

We hope you receive the ideal primary school place for your child when the offer day finally arrives.

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool in Hindley Green, near Wigan, Bolton & ManchesterLittle Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green is rated as a good childcare provider by Ofsted.

The staff at Little Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green wish all families with children starting primary/infant school the best of luck on primary school offers day. We do hope everyone receives an offer for their preferred school.

We’re convinced that all preschoolers leaving Little Acorns to begin school will have the very best start, having become as ‘school-ready’ as possible during their time with us. This preparation will help them to really hit the ground running from the moment they arrive at school. For tips on how best to prepare your child for starting school, don’t miss our guide Tips for a Smooth Transition to Reception.

Meanwhile, if you have a baby, toddler or preschooler that requires high-quality childcare and a good ‘early years’ education near Hindley Green, Wigan, get in touch:

As well as offering a high-quality childcare service in Hindley Green, Wigan, WN2, we are also conveniently located for families in Bickershaw, Leigh, Atherton, Westhoughton, Ince-in-Makerfield, Platt Bridge, Tyldesley, and Bolton.

A Beautiful Make-Over for Little Acorns Nursery, Hindley Green

A Beautiful Make-Over for Little Acorns Nursery, Hindley Green

The start of 2024 saw the commencement of a wonderful new refurbishment at the nursery. Little Acorns Nursery’s owners and management organised some significant improvements, which are already well-progressed upstairs and will continue on the ground floor of this Hindley Green childcare setting. Today we take a closer look and share with you some images of the progress and remarkable facelift that’s taking place. We’ll update you again in later months when the work is complete. Enjoy!

Why the Refurbishment?

As many will know, we took on the existing premises fairly recently and, before that, it had not been significantly updated in probably 20 years or more. In view of this, a refurbishment project was designed to update the overall aesthetics of the setting, tidy things up, and give the nursery a more modern, fresh look. While doing so, lighting, storage, flooring and other facilities are also being improved.

Work Started Early in January

Following a thorough risk assessment, work began right at the start of January this year. Initially, the focus has been on the classrooms upstairs. The structure to the ceiling there was totally renewed to both improve it and create extra storage in the loft area above. A method of easy access was installed to facilitate the use of this new storage space by staff. While working on the new ceiling structure, downlighters were spaced around the new ceilings and these vastly improved the lighting. Walls have been freshly plastered, skirtings were renewed and all painted in a lovely, fresh white. The spaces now have a lovely light, spacious and open feel about them.

For the flooring, luxury vinyl tiling was laid and, as you can see in some of the photographs, this is a high-quality floor that gives the rooms a modern, warm, and spacious feel. It will also be easy to keep clean. We’re also aiming for the spaces upstairs to be clutter-free once complete.

As you can see, the upstairs classrooms are already looking calming and inviting. We’re sure it will look even more fabulous once it’s all decked out with new furniture. In addition, resources and other enhancements will be added for the children. These will be things that they will find exciting, engaging and, in turn, will promote development. We can’t wait to see it all finished and it’s going to be wonderful for the children!

New Bathroom, New Hallway

The bathroom for the children was also renewed completely to bring things up to date.

In addition, the hallway and stairwell were completely overhauled with a lovely new carpet to the stairs, newly plastered walls and fresh new paint on all surfaces.

Next Steps

We’re currently sourcing new furniture in readiness for the newly refurbished nursery, particularly now that the upstairs is so far advanced. Some of the photographs also hint at some of the lovely interior design elements that are already beginning to bring the spaces to life.

Next on the agenda is an equally thorough refurbishment of the downstairs areas. We will have new flooring, a lovely new downstairs bathroom, spotlights throughout, new plastering, fresh paint, and refreshed skirting boards.

The ‘archways’ will also be sealed off and essentially removed. This will minimise noise ingress from one room to another.

An existing flat roof will be completely taken down and replaced with a new one. That will occur during the forthcoming Easter break, so as to avoid disruption to the day-to-day workings of the nursery. We will also install modern bi-fold doors that will give flexible and free-flowing access to the outdoor areas when appropriate.

Eventually, we’ll also renew the external signage, although this is likely to follow after the more involved improvements to the interiors are complete.

The Nursery Remained Open Throughout!

Incredibly, the childcare nursery remained – and will continue to remain – open, right through the refurbishment process. That’s accomplished through careful planning, regular health and safety risk assessments with sign-off by all relevant parties, and careful control over which areas children and workmen have access to. It’s rather like conducting a well-practised orchestra! Families were and still are, of course, also kept informed via verbal communication, signage, and also through updates sent out to families via our “Famly” smartphone app. Rest assured, the health, safety and well-being of our children is our topmost priority throughout all changes occurring at Little Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green. Once complete, the day-to-day lives of both staff and children will be hugely enhanced.

We’ll publish updates on the further progress of the refurbishments over the coming months, so watch this space!

About Little Acorns Nursery School, Hindley Green, near Wigan

The best start for babies and children under 5 with a comprehensive Early Years education

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool in Hindley Green, near Wigan, Bolton & ManchesterLittle Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green is rated as a good childcare provider by Ofsted.

At Little Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green, babies and children under five receive a high-quality early years education in a wonderful nursery and preschool. Here, they are nurtured, feel valued, and are exceptionally well cared for. The setting is warm and inviting too — a real home-from-home for little ones — with highly professional childcare practitioners on hand to bring out the very best in them. We have fabulous facilities and resources too, both inside and out, and are a ‘good provider‘ — and that’s official according to Ofsted. We also support many Government-funded childcare schemes, thereby being able to supply free childcare hours for eligible local families.

Contact Little Acorns Nursery today and we’ll be delighted to explore with you the opportunity for your child to attend the nursery:

As a nursery/preschool located in Hindley Green, Wigan, WN2, we may also suit families looking for childcare services conveniently close to Bickershaw, Leigh, Atherton, Westhoughton, Ince-in-Makerfield, Platt Bridge, Tyldesley, and Bolton.

 

Funny Quotes About Parenthood: a Collection of the Funniest Quotations from Parents

Funny quotes about parenthood: a collection of the funniest quotations from parents.

We regularly stumble upon funny quotes about parenthood and have been saving some of the best into an archive. This week, we have gathered some of our favourites and, today, share with you our curated collection for your entertainment. Every one of them made us chuckle and indeed that was our ‘acid test’ for inclusion in this post. We hope you find them as amusing as we did! We’re sure that many of the quotations will resonate, particularly if you’re a parent. So, with that said, why not have a short break and take a look?

Our Favourite Funny Quotes About Parenthood

Aren’t they funny? We’ll also follow up in the future with a similar post which showcases funny quotes by children. Little ones can say the funniest things, so look out for that in due course.

Little Acorns Nursery School: High-Quality Childcare in Hindley Green

A Complete Early Years Education for Babies & Children Under 5

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool in Hindley Green, near Wigan, Bolton & ManchesterLittle Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green is rated as a good childcare provider by Ofsted.Little Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green offers a first-class early years education and high-quality childcare for babies and children under five. Ours is a warm, welcoming, home-from-home environment where children feel loved, valued, and well cared for. With a learning and development programme that’s tailored to each child and a team of outstanding early years practitioners overseeing their care, we bring out the very best in every child. So, if you would like to give your child the very best start in life, consider Little Acorns Nursery for your child’s early years education and weekday childcare. Ofsted rates us as a ‘good’ provider and we support many different childcare funding options. At Little Acorns Nursery, your child will be in safe and capable hands.

Get in touch today to explore a possible nursery/preschool place for your child. Please select an option below to get started:

Our nursery may also suit families looking for a childcare service close to Hindley Green and the WN2 postcode. For example, the nursery is very near Wigan, Bickershaw, Leigh, Atherton, Westhoughton, Ince-in-Makerfield, Platt Bridge, Tyldesley, and Bolton.

 

Creating a Winter Storytelling Corner for Your Child

Creating a Winter Storytelling Corner for Your Child

An enchanting children's activity that's a great antidote to winter is storytelling.Once winter arrives in December and cold winds start to breathe the landscape to sleep for a season, little ones will be less inclined to venture outdoors. Parents, too, will no doubt appreciate them avoiding the rain, cold, and inclement conditions that may occur. As such, winter is the perfect time to transform dreary days and dark evenings into a haven of warmth and cosiness indoors. An enchanting children’s activity that goes hand-in-hand with this is that of storytelling. With that in mind, today’s post guides you through the delightful process of creating a Winter Storytelling Corner tailored for the youngest members of the family. A storytelling corner is a wonderful way to make these winter nights cosy, magical, and filled with high-quality shared moments. Shared reading time is also highly beneficial to children‘s overall learning and development.

Setting Up a Winter Storytelling Corner

Select a cosy corner or nook in your home, then make it comfy and inviting for your child.Start by selecting a cosy corner or nook in your home – for example, a secluded and quiet space somewhere that’s away from busy activity, cold draughts and suchlike. It will need to have somewhere comfortable for you and your child(ren) to sit or ‘nest’ once you get to the storytelling part. Once you’ve found somewhere suitable, it could be adorned with soft blankets, plush cushions, and perhaps even a few twinkling fairy lights. The goal is to create an inviting spot that beckons little ones and you, their parent or caregiver, to snuggle up and feel the warmth together as the winter tales unfold.

You could even go so far as to enhance the ambience with winter-themed decorations that will further engage your little one(s) and attract them to this magical new space — so long as they’re safe, of course. For example, perhaps get creative together by making paper snowflakes to dangle from the ceiling or gather images of snowmen and friendly animals to adorn the walls. If you have any stuffed animals or winter-themed ornaments from Christmastime, these will also add to the winter theme. This approach not only adds a personal and engaging touch but also makes the storytelling corner visually appealing and inviting.

A Winter’s Tale or Two

For the tinier tots, perhaps introduce interactive board books with textures to touch and flaps to lift.Curate a collection of timeless winter stories that capture the spirit of the season. Consider classics like “The Snowman” by Raymond Briggs or “The Mitten” by Jan Brett. These stories, with their simple yet captivating narratives, are perfect for engaging young minds and sparking their imagination. These are just a couple of examples, though, and there are lots of winter-themed books to choose from, whether online, in book stores, in charity shops, or swapped amongst family or friends.

For the tinier tots, perhaps introduce interactive board books with textures to touch and flaps to lift. Titles like “That’s Not My Snowman” or “Baby’s First Winter” provide a sensory experience and keep the youngest listeners engaged.

Storytelling Techniques to Engage Your Little One

Books and stories can be brought to life through expressive storytelling. When you’re reading to your little one, try varying your tone and using different voices for characters. Don’t be afraid to add a sprinkle of theatrical flair by fully ‘committing’ to your characterisation — just like an actor might do. Children will love this — little ones are totally captivated by animated storytellers who make the tales come alive.

Creatively Extending Stories

You can even enhance the storytelling experience in a number of ways.

Reading with your child regularly is like giving them superpowers!Perhaps incorporate simple props that relate to the story. If the tale involves animals, have soft toy animals on hand for little ones to interact with as the story unfolds. Other alternatives are hand puppets and finger puppets. Try using them to act out characters from the stories as you read them, or get your child to do so. Adding an interactive and visual element in this way will encourage children to participate actively and immerse themselves in the storytelling process. This approach can be creative, captivating, and sometimes even comical. As such, this is very entertaining for children and will help to make the whole activity enjoyable and fulfilling.

Another example of extending storytelling time is to encourage children to participate in crafting activities inspired by the tales. For example, after reading about snowmen, engage in a hands-on activity of creating snowmen using cotton balls and craft paper, or simply embark on a themed drawing or painting session. This not only reinforces the story but also provides a creative outlet for little hands together with an extra layer of engagement.

A Magical Antidote to Wintery Weather & Dark Evenings

A Winter Storytelling Corner is more than just a cosy nook; it’s a gateway to shared moments, deeper bonding between adult and child, stimulated imaginations, and the joy and escapism of stories. It opens up whole new worlds to children and, as such, is a magical antidote to some of the colder and more dreary days and dark evenings of winter. So, snuggle up and let the winter tales weave their spells this winter — and make the season a time of warmth and wonder for little ones.

Little Acorns Nursery, Hindley Green

High-quality Childcare & Early Years Education for Babies & Under-Fives

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool in Hindley Green, near Wigan, Bolton & ManchesterLittle Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green is rated as a good childcare provider by Ofsted.We also love reading with children at Little Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green. It’s not only fun for them but we know how much reading also enriches children’s lives, supercharging both their education and future prospects. So, we encourage parents to read with children too, when at home. Parental involvement in children’s educations is hugely important, accounting for a massive, positive impact on their success.

Little Acorns Nursery is a ‘good’ childcare provider and supports various childcare funding options, making childcare more affordable for eligible families. To apply for a childcare place, arrange a guided tour, ask a question or for anything else, please get in touch:

Our nursery is also close to Wigan, Bickershaw, Leigh, Atherton, Westhoughton, Ince-in-Makerfield, Platt Bridge, Tyldesley, and Bolton, so may also suit families in those locations.

Tips for a Smooth Transition to Reception Class

Tips for a Smooth Transition to Reception Class

A smooth transition from nursery/preschool to primary school requires careful planning, practical strategies and emotional support.The transition from preschool to Reception marks a significant milestone in any child’s life. It can be emotional for parents and, for children, it can be a period filled with excitement, curiosity, and perhaps a bit of apprehension. Ensuring a smooth transition involves a combination of careful planning, practical strategies and emotional support. With that in mind, today’s guide outlines more than twenty simple, actionable ways to ensure your child has a seamless transition and a positive start to school life.

Emotional Support Strategies

Talk About Feelings

Discuss emotions related to starting school. Encourage questions, answer honestly, and address any concerns your child may have. Doing so will reassure your child and create a more positive perception of the upcoming experience.

Positive Reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement to create a positive association with the idea of school.Use positive reinforcement to create a positive association with the idea of school. For example, highlight the exciting aspects of learning, making friends, playing new games, and discovering new things.

Celebrate Small Achievements

Acknowledge and celebrate small achievements. Whether it’s successfully completing a puzzle or putting on shoes independently, recognising these accomplishments builds a positive mindset and boosts children’s confidence.

Visit the School Together

Arrange visits to the school — take a guided tour together and explore the classrooms and play areas. This will make the environment less intimidating and more welcoming and familiar when the time comes.

Building Skills

Build Social Skills & Make Play Dates

Organise play dates with future classmates to build social connections before the first day.Organise play dates with future classmates to build social connections before the first day. Encourage interactions with other children to develop essential social skills. Attending a nursery, preschool, or playgroup will provide excellent opportunities for this.

Practise Listening Skills

Engage in activities that enhance your child’s listening and attention skills. These will be essential once they begin at school.

Promote Independence & Responsibility

Promoting independence in your child will help them adjust once they start school.Foster self-reliance by allowing your child to perform simple tasks like dressing themselves, tidying up, using the toilet, and organising themselves. Also, assign small responsibilities to them at home to instil a sense of accountability and responsibility. Such skills will serve them well once at school.

Encourage Decision-Making

Provide simple choices to empower your child and foster decision-making skills. You can perhaps teach them how to weigh up the pros and cons of each choice they face, so they get a feel for how best to approach a final decision.

Read Together

Instil a love for reading in your child through interactive reading sessions. This will pay dividends.Read age-appropriate books together, particularly those that introduce topics they’ll be introduced to in Reception class. This not only sparks excitement and teaches them new things but also helps children understand what to expect. Instil a love for reading through interactive reading sessions. Visit the library too and explore a variety of books.

Educational Games

Incorporate fun and interactive learning activities into daily routines. Simple mathematics games, storytelling, and creative arts and crafts can enhance cognitive skills and nurture a love for learning.

Fine Motor Skill Development

Strengthen fine motor skills through activities like drawing, cutting, and building with blocks. These activities not only aid in academic readiness but also contribute to overall coordination.

Nearer the Time

Introduce the Concept of Time

A consistent daily schedule that mirrors that of the school will help children become familiar with the structure of the day and adjust more easily.Ensure that your child understands basic time concepts, such as morning, afternoon, and evening. This, in tandem with our next tip below, will help your child better understand the structure of the school day.

Establish a Consistent Routine

In the run-up to leaving nursery/preschool to begin at school, introduce a consistent daily schedule that mirrors the school routine. This will help your child become familiar with the structure of the day and help them to adjust more naturally.

Create a Homework Station

Designate a comfortable and quiet area at home where your child can engage in reading and other learning activities. This can later transition to become a natural place for school homework and be a tool to promote a positive attitude towards learning.

Introduce Uniforms

If applicable, gradually introduce your child to the concept of wearing a school uniform and get them used the the process of getting dressed.

Teach Basic Self-Care

Familiar faces at the start of Reception will help children settle in.Ensure your child can manage basic self-care tasks independently. Such skills will be invaluable to them once they have started school.

Practise Sharing

Emphasise the importance of sharing and taking turns through play. This is not only good manners but will also help them make and keep friends.

Encourage Expressing Needs

Teach your child to communicate their needs effectively. Good communication is an essential tool for any child. Explaining their needs to teachers and peers will ultimately result in happier outcomes and contribute to children’s well-being.

Establish a Bedtime Routine

Give children lots of reassurance when they begin at Primary School.Ensure sufficient sleep by establishing a calming bedtime routine. This not only gets them used to a pattern but will also help them to maintain focus and energy levels once at school.

Create a Visual Schedule

Use visual aids to help your child understand and anticipate daily activities. This could be a simple colour-coded timetable, or a series of drawings depicting activities they will be undertaking during their school day.

Create a Consistent Drop-off Ritual

Develop a consistent and reassuring routine for dropping off and picking up. This will foster a sense of security for the child and be key to minimising any separation anxiety that may otherwise occur.

Reception & Compulsory School Age

Reception is the first year of primary school in England, coming after nursery but before Year One. Children joining Reception class usually begin there in the September after their 4th birthday. Compulsory School Age, however, begins later — at the end the December, March or August that follows their 5th birthday (whichever is soonest).

By incorporating strategies into your family's daily routine, you can help to ensure the most successful start to their school journey.The journey from preschool to the first day of school is a significant milestone for both parent and child. Preparing children for school involves a holistic approach that addresses emotional, social, and practical aspects. By incorporating these strategies into your family’s daily routine, you can contribute to a positive and confident transition for your child and set the stage for the most successful start to their school journey.

School-Readiness at Little Acorns Nursery, Hindley Green

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool in Hindley Green, near Wigan, Bolton & ManchesterLittle Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green is rated as a good childcare provider by Ofsted.Here at Little Acorns in Hindley Green, we also follow comprehensive strategies to build children’s skills, knowledge, independence and confidence in the run-up to beginning primary school. Indeed, we ensure they have hit personal bests in every area and are school-ready by the time they leave us for Reception. It’s magical to see how each and every child grows, in so many ways, during our time with them. It’s always sad to see them go when they leave to begin school but, when that time comes, we wish them every success in the knowledge that they leave superbly well-equipped for their journey.

A High-Quality Childcare Nursery for Your Child in Hindley Green

Are you looking for a really good childcare nursery in Hindley Green, near Wigan? Please get in touch with us at Little Acorns Nursery if so. We offer a superb childcare service and early years education to babies, toddlers and preschoolers aged under five. We support many Government-funded ‘free childcare’ schemes too, meaning childcare will be more affordable for eligible families.

Little Acorns is also near Bickershaw, Leigh, Atherton, Westhoughton, Ince-in-Makerfield, Platt Bridge, Tyldesley, Bolton and Greater Manchester, so may additionally suit families in those areas.

Under-5 to Superchild — the Power of Reading With Your Child.

Under-5 to Superchild! The Power of Reading With Your Child

Reading with children is a powerful tool that supercharges learning, imagination and even life outcomes.In the journey of childhood development, there is a simple yet powerful tool that supercharges learning, imagination and even life outcomes: reading with your child. While a magical connection with books is a cherished tradition in many families, it is also a proven way to optimise a child’s cognitive and emotional development — and even to give some a social boost. With that in mind, we explore today the incredible benefits of reading with children in the early years and learn how study after study has proven how transformational it is to their lives.

Enhanced Cognitive Development

Numerous studies have demonstrated the profound impact of reading on cognitive development in young children. The studies found that reading with children between the ages of 3 and 5 results in significantly improved cognitive skills, including attention span, memory, language development, logical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

This cognitive enrichment is not just confined to early childhood. Long-term studies have revealed that children who are read to regularly during their early years are more likely to perform well academically throughout their school years. We’ll explore more about how reading in the early years prepares children for school later in this article.

Transformed Language, Vocabulary, Spelling & Literacy

Children who are exposed to a diverse range of words in books tend to perform better in language assessments, spelling, and overall literacy development.One of the most notable benefits of early reading is the rapid expansion of a child’s vocabulary. Indeed, research suggests that children who are exposed to a diverse range of words in books tend to perform better in language assessments, spelling, and overall literacy development. With reading to children opening up whole new worlds of information and vocabulary to them, this positive outcome makes total sense.

Academic Preparedness

Early reading provides a substantial head start in academics. A 40-year study by the Nuffield Foundation in the UK tracked the development of children from birth to age 7. Results revealed that children who were read to several times a week at a young age had a significant advantage in literacy skills when they started school.

The language skills of children aged just 3¼ years old were found to receive a 20% boost when they were regularly read to by a parent or carer. That’s an 8-month improvement!

Children who experience shared reading activities with their parents in their early years also tend to have a more positive attitude towards learning. They therefore perform better in school. Indeed, many enter formal education with increased confidence and a love for learning.

Advanced Emotional Intelligence

Reading with children also contributes to the development of enhanced empathy and emotional intelligence.Reading with children also contributes to the development of enhanced empathy and emotional intelligence. Stories often feature characters experiencing a variety of emotions, and by engaging with these stories, children learn to empathise and connect with the feelings of others. That’s because exposure to complex characters and their emotional experiences in books helps children better understand and relate to the emotions of people in their real lives.

Social Mobility

Remarkably, the benefits of reading with young children also have the potential to break the cycle of socio-economic disadvantage. Several studies have found a strong correlation between early reading habits and positive socio-economic outcomes later in life. Specifically, children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds were found to be more likely to surpass the usual limitations of their circumstances when exposed to regular reading sessions with adults at an early age. This positive effect was found to extend well into adulthood. Individuals who were avid readers during their childhood were found to be more likely to achieve higher levels of professional success, with better job prospects, higher incomes, and greater job stability.

Read our tips for effective reading sessions.

Tips for Effective Reading Sessions

Note that, at the start of this article and throughout, we have talked about reading with your child as opposed to simply reading to them. That’s an important differentiation because reading with children means involving them, so they’re fully engaged throughout. That’s another huge factor in unlocking the most potential for the child. So, how do we go about that?

Make it Fun!

Reading in a monotone voice is a sure way to get children to switch off and disengage from your reading sessions. Instead, make it fun by immersing yourself, as the reader, into the different characters and situations, using different volumes, voices, accents, cadences and tones as appropriate. This will naturally captivate your child, bring the story to life, and make it fun!

Encourage Interaction

Engage your child in the reading process. Ask your child questions about the storyline and characters. See if they can guess what happens next and discuss the story generally. This interaction enhances their attention, comprehension and critical thinking skills.

Encourage Questions

When your child asks questions or wants to talk about the story, embrace those moments. It shows their active engagement and curiosity. Encouraging discussions will help to deepen their understanding in so many ways.

Quality Time Spent Together

Reading is also about quality time spent together.Reading is not just about the words on the page; it’s also about the quality time you spend together. The connection you build during reading sessions is priceless, fostering stronger bonds between you and your child.

A Positive Example

Children often mimic their parents’ behaviour. By showing them that you value reading, they are more likely to embrace it as a positive and enjoyable activity. So, why not become a reading role model and let your child see your enthusiasm for books? It’ll not only be fun and engaging for them but is also likely to result in a love for learning and a huge number of profoundly positive benefits.

Quality Childcare & a Good Early Years Education at Little Acorns Nursery, Hindley Green

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool in Hindley Green, near Wigan, Bolton & ManchesterLittle Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green is rated as a good childcare provider by Ofsted.As we’ve said before, parental engagement with children’s education is incredibly beneficial to little ones and that’s particularly true in the case of reading with them. So, we take every opportunity to read with children and encourage interaction at Little Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green. Reading with children is not only giving the gift of knowledge but also a key to unlocking future opportunities and even social mobility. As such, it is an incredibly powerful tool that effectively supercharges children’s education and future prospects. And don’t forget, of course — children simply love it!

If you are seeking the best childcare nursery in Hindley Green for your child, please get in touch. We offer a first-class weekday childcare service and early years education for babies and children under five. We also support all Government-funding childcare options, making childcare more affordable for eligible families. Please select an option below to further explore a place for your child at Little Acorns Nursery:

Little Acorns is a nursery near Wigan, Bickershaw, Leigh, Atherton, Westhoughton, Ince-in-Makerfield, Platt Bridge, Tyldesley, Bolton and Greater Manchester.

Spooktacular Halloween Activities for Children

Halloween is a great time to lay on some fun activities for children to take part in.Autumn’s arrival means that Halloween is just around the corner, coming on the 31st of October each year. The run-up to that date is a great time to start preparing for some fun Halloween activities for children to take part in. Whether dressing up for Halloween-themed parties, putting carved pumpkin lanterns and spooky decorations out at night, or playing Trick or treat locally, children of all ages will find Halloween a time of unique fun! It’s also a great opportunity for children to strengthen bonds with friends and for families to start getting creative! With that in mind, here are our top picks for spooktacular Halloween activities for kids!

First, Though, What Is Halloween?

Halloween is a widely celebrated and highly festive milestone that occurs each year on October 31st. It has its origins in both Celtic and Christian traditions with both secular and religious roots at its historical heart. These included observances like All Hallows’ Eve, which is the night before All Saints’ Day in Christianity when people would remember and pray for the deceased. However, in more modern times, it has evolved into a time of festive activities and customs, particularly in the United Kingdom, USA, and other Western countries. Today, it is a time for creativity, community, and entertainment, with a focus on costumes, sweets, and — above all — spooky fun for children!

Halloween Activities: Great Ideas for Kids

Here are our top suggestions for children at Halloween. Bear in mind that younger children may need some reassurance around concepts like spiderwebs, ghosts, masks and suchlike and adults would be wise to supervise kids of all ages when it comes to the safeguarding of their wellbeing. That said, take a look at these wonderfully spooky Halloween activities and ideas…

Fancy Dress — Halloween Costumes

Dressing up in Halloween costumes is hugely popular and encouraging children to make their own is even more fun!Dressing up in Halloween costumes is hugely popular amongst children. While purchasing costumes from stores is quick and easy, encouraging children to make their own Halloween costumes (with adult supervision) is likely to be not only cheaper but also much more fun. They’ll also be able to get creative and learn new skills in the process.

  • Bedsheets are perfect for making simple but effective ghost outfits – all that is needed are a couple of eye holes.
  • Witch or wizard outfits can be made from any type of black clothing that’s no longer needed, particularly if it’s baggy in shape. Adults can help children make it look more realistic by making edges ragged and perhaps even helping to make a broom from twigs and a long stick.
  • Pointy witches’ or wizards’ hats can be added too. Create from card and tape, then paint them black — or indeed make them from black card.
  • Children can also dress up as pumpkins if they can obtain (or dye) a t-shirt orange and paint on the eyes and face.
  • Witch or wizard outfits can be made from any type of black clothing and pointy hats can be made using black card and tape.Kids will also love dressing up as spiders. All they need is some black tights — or a pair of skinny trousers — and a black top that’s belted at the waist and then stuffed to make the ‘spider body’ fat. Extra spider legs can be made by stuffing more black tights and attaching them to the belt.
  • Children can also use their imaginations and creativity to dress up as characters from books and movies. Costumes based on Harry Potter, Ghostbusters, ET and characters from various horror flicks are obvious choices.

Spooky Halloween Decorations

Halloween-themed decorations are great fun for children too. Whether shop-bought or home-made, dangling spiders, fake spiderwebs, skeletons, atmospheric pumpkin lanterns and ghost-themed decorations will go down a storm with little ones. There are so many ways to make your own Halloween decorations too and all it takes is a little imagination and creativity.

Make Halloween-Themed Food

Halloween-themed cookies are always popular with children and are pretty easy to make!Your children can take this a step further and add Halloween-themed food into the mix, so there’s something to nibble too!

  • Ghost, spider and bat-themed cookies are always popular with children and are pretty easy to make. Children will not only enjoy eating them but will love making and decorating them too.
  • Pumpkin soup is also an obvious choice, particularly for those families making their own carved pumpkin lanterns (more about those later).
  • Parents can also help children make edible ‘mini pumpkins’ from bell peppers that are hollowed out and stuffed with something delicious like rice, mushrooms or a mixture of the child’s favourite foods. They’ll not only taste great but will look spooktacular too!
  • Drinks can also be themed by children — they can decorate paper cups with all manner of ghoulish imagery. Local supermarkets may also stock Halloween-themed cups, swizzle sticks and suchlike around October and early Autumn.

Trick or Treat?

Children in Halloween fancy dress costumes knock on neighbourhood doors and say Trick or treat?The Halloween tradition of ‘tick or treating’ has its roots in Medieval times. It is a playful remnant of the practice of “souling,” where the poor would go door-to-door during what was then known as ‘Allhallowtide’ (around All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day) asking for food in exchange for prayers for the deceased. Over the years, this evolved into what we now know as Trick or treat. Children, usually in full Halloween fancy dress, knock on neighbourhood doors and say Trick or treat? Then, homeowners typically give them sweets or other treats — or become the target of a playful trick from the children! It’s great fun for little ones, especially if one or more neighbourhood parents can organise the evening in advance. By doing so, the neighbours are warned and can opt out if they prefer. In this way, lots of fun, laughter and treats will ensue and nobody gets a trick that they weren’t expecting!

Go Pumpkin Picking

Pumpkin patches often have wonderful photo opportunities where children can pose in amongst pumpkin displays.Many towns and villages will have ‘pumpkin patches’ during October. These are typically found on local farms and similar that set a field aside, chock-full of pumpkins. Families can come along and children will be able to scour the field and pick their favourite pumpkin. They can take it home in exchange, usually, for an affordable fee. Such pumpkin patches often also have wonderful photo opportunities where children can pose amongst pumpkin displays. In this way, children enjoy a morning or afternoon activity at the farm and end up with a hand-picked pumpkin too.

Pumpkin Lantern Carving & Decorating

Hollowing out and carving spooky and creative faces into pumpkins is a classic Halloween activity enjoyed by thousands of families each year.Hollowing out and carving spooky and creative faces into pumpkins is a classic Halloween activity enjoyed by thousands of families each year. For safety purposes, supervising adults will need to do any carving, though, as it’ll likely involve the use of a sharp knife. They can also loosen the seeds and flesh and then, if able, children can help to scoop it out. Once hollowed out and eyes, nose and mouth have been carved, children can have great fun decorating the outside and turning the pumpkin into a lantern using tea lights (again, under adult supervision or using LED lights for safety purposes). Nothing quite says ‘Halloween’ like a pumpkin face that glows in the garden at night. Children will naturally love the whole experience, end result, and feeling of accomplishment associated with this activity.

TIP: Why not also save the flesh to make pumpkin soup? Seeds can also be saved to grow new pumpkins next year.

Host a Halloween Party!

Halloween parties are a wonderful opportunity for children and families to bond with friends and make an evening to remember.Families can combine all or just some of these Halloween activities into one event by hosting their very own Halloween party for friends, relatives and neighbours. With spooky fancy dress costumes, Halloween-themed decorations, flickering pumpkin lanterns, and themed food and drinks, it’s sure to be huge fun and a spooktacular evening for everyone! Ghostly music and ghoulish games can be added to the event too, perhaps along with a period where children and adults can tell spooky stories and ghost tales. What’s not to love?

Nursery & Preschool Places in Hindley Green Nursery, near Wigan

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School in Hindley Green, near Wigan, Bolton & ManchesterLittle Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green is rated as a good childcare provider by Ofsted.This article was brought to you by Little Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green near Wigan. We offer the highest-quality weekday childcare — and a full early years education — to babies, infants, toddlers and preschoolers under five. As well as offering an outstanding childcare service, we also support all official Government childcare funding schemes for eligible families, making affordability easier for struggling households. To enrol your child for a nursery/preschool place, organise a free guided tour, or ask any questions, simply get in touch via one of the following options — we’ll be delighted to help.

Little Acorns is a wonderful nursery & preschool located in Hindley Green, also being convenient for those needing high-quality childcare near Wigan, Bickershaw, Leigh, Atherton, Westhoughton, Ince-in-Makerfield, Platt Bridge, Tyldesley, Bolton and Greater Manchester.

Ofsted Report: Little Acorns Nursery is a Good Childcare Provider

Ofsted Report: Little Acorns Nursery is a Good Childcare Provider
Little Acorns Nursery passed its first Ofsted Inspection with flying colours, following the inspection in April 2023.We’re delighted to announce that Little Acorns Nursery, Hindley Green, has passed its first Ofsted Inspection — and with flying colours! The Ofsted Report was published recently following the Ofsted inspection in late April this year. It is our first since we took over the nursery from Kate’s Kindergarten in 2022. So, it’s now official — Little Acorns Nursery is a ‘Good Provider’ of childcare and early-years education. Let’s take a look at the Inspector’s findings and some of her lovely comments. We’ll see why the nursery/preschool achieved such consistent, positive feedback and good ratings in every area. Doing so is incredibly important to the children under our care and, of course, to their parents and caregivers.

Great Ofsted Report Ratings for Little Acorns Nursery

Little Acorns Nursery was judged by Ofsted to be ‘Good’ in every category:

Little Acorns Nursery was judged by Ofsted to be ‘Good’ in every category.Overall effectiveness — Good
The quality of education — Good
Behaviour and attitudes — Good
Personal development — Good
Leadership and management — Good

We’ll cover some more detail and commentary from the Ofsted Inspector below.

Glowing Feedback About What it’s Like Attending the Nursery

We're way more than just a crèche, playgroup or a group of nannies or childminders.Opening comments in the Ofsted Report are particularly positive. Not only are the findings welcomed by nursery staff, who work so hard and so professionally — as evidenced in the report — but they’ll also be welcomed by parents/caregivers of children attending the setting. After all, it’s good to know children are in good hands and that their choice of childcare provider was a good one.

Our High-Quality Staff Positively Impact Children

Here are a few of the comments from the Ofsted Inspector, describing how professional staff are and what it’s like for children who attend the nursery:

“The stable and highly skilled staff team promotes children’s care and learning effectively. Many long-standing relationships help staff to know the needs of the children and their families very well.”

It’s good to note the words, “stable” and “highly skilled” in reference to the staff. Our staff are exactly that and it’s good to see those qualities recognised. More importantly, though, such qualities clearly benefit the children, their parents, and families as a whole.

The Ofsted Report then goes on to describe how, “Staff’s gentle, nurturing approaches” help children to “settle and fully engage in what the nursery has to offer.” That, too, is incredibly important.

“Children arrive confidently and they are ready to play and learn.”

The confidence and enthusiasm to learn extends to babies and toddlers too and Ofsted’s comments make the reason for this clear:

“Babies and toddlers explore with intrigue. They are inspired by items which stimulate their senses and are provided in response to things which specifically interest them. Staff build on children’s interests well to provide meaningful activities which enable them to practise their skills and extend learning further.”

Children are happy at Little Acorns Nursery, Hindley Green.As you can see from the comment above, staff are methodical and strategic in their approach to activities organised for the children. Activities are tailored to each child’s individual interests, making playing, development of skills and learning of new knowledge all come naturally.

Happy Children

The Ofsted inspector recognised that children are happy at the nursery. The nurturing of good social, communication and language skills clearly leads to deep friendships being formed and enjoyable play taking place.

“Children develop firm friendships. They collaborate and have fun together as they play.”

Good Progress for Children with SEND

Ofsted recognised the expertise of our Special Educational Needs Coordinator (‘SENCo’) and provisions for children with special educational needs and disabilities (‘SEND’) in their report:

“The special educational needs coordinator (SENCo) successfully uses her comprehensive knowledge of local arrangements for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). She links closely with other supporting professionals, accurately assesses need and identifies precise targets for learning. Through strong relationships with staff, children with SEND progress well”

Good Relationships with Parents

Ofsted recognised that staff have good relationships with children’s parents/caregivers and remarked, in their report, on the cooperation between them:

“Staff work closely with parents right from the start to assess and plan how to meet children’s individual needs.”

Ofsted said that this works particularly well when children have health or medical needs, commenting “Leaders use what parents know to establish specific care plans, training for staff and detailed risk assessments.”

Parents are also encouraged to come “into the nursery to experience the curriculum in action.”

“Parents speak highly of the staff at the nursery and develop high levels of trust.”

Effective Safeguarding Arrangements

Comments in the Ofsted report about safeguarding were particularly positive and confirmed that measures at the setting are effective ones.

“Leaders have ensured that staff are well trained and knowledgeable about matters relating to child protection. They have provided clear procedures for staff to report any concerns that they may have about children’s welfare.”

They went on to confirm that, “Leaders and staff use their strong relationships with parents and other professionals to help ensure that the children and families who need it, get the right support.”

Staff Plan Well for the Future

Staff are methodical and strategic in their approach and activities are tailored to each child's individual interests.Ofsted also recognised that leaders and staff plan improvements for the future. In their report, they describe how leaders “plan how they can make the quality of education even better […] working closely with staff to design building improvements that will have the most benefit for the children”.

They also ensure that they too are learning and improving all the time:

“The high priority given to continuing professional development has resulted in a team of many skilled and experienced staff. This has a positive impact on the quality of education for all children, including those who are disadvantaged.”

Full Marks for School Readiness

One of the key goals of any good nursery, preschool or childcare provider is to ensure that every child is prepared, equipped and ready to begin school by the time they leave the early years setting. Little Acorns Nursery’s approach to the curriculum, activities and tailored learning and development plans, ensure this outcome. Ofsted’s comments, in their latest report for Little Acorns Nursery, totally back this up:

“The carefully thought out curriculum helps children to gain the kinds of knowledge and skills they need in readiness for their future move to school.”

A Place for Your Child at our Hindley Green Nursery, near Wigan

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School in Hindley Green, near Wigan, Bolton & ManchesterLittle Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green is rated as a good childcare provider by Ofsted.If you have a young family that needs high-quality childcare in Hindley Green or close to Wigan and Greater Manchester, we’d love to hear from you. As you can see from the latest Ofsted Report, we offer a wonderful weekday childcare service for babies and children aged up to five. Come and take a look by arranging a free tour of the setting. We’ll show you around and answer any questions that you may have. Be sure to bring along your child and you’ll be able to see how well they fit in!

Little Acorns Nursery offers a great start for little ones and also supports free childcare through Government childcare funding schemes for those who are eligible. Please choose an option below to get started:

Little Acorns is now officially a good nursery & preschool in Hindley Green. We’re located near Wigan, Bickershaw, Leigh, Atherton, Westhoughton, Ince-in-Makerfield, Platt Bridge, Tyldesley, Bolton and Greater Manchester.

The Benefits of Learning a Musical Instrument in the Early Years

The Benefits of Learning a Musical Instrument in the Early Years

Today, we look at the profound benefits of learning a musical instrument for young children.With free tutorials available on YouTube and inexpensive instruments available in charity shops, phone apps and online marketplaces, there has never been a better time for children to start learning a musical instrument. It’s something for every parent to consider because such a pastime will benefit their child in an incredible variety of ways. Not only will they learn a new skill that will stay with them for life, but their lives will be enriched in many additional ways too. So, today, we take a look at the often profound benefits of learning a musical instrument, especially for young children. We’ll start with the three most obvious benefits before coming to many others that may surprise you.

Playing Music is Great Fun

Firstly, let’s not forget the obvious: learning to play a musical instrument can be great fun. It’ll give children hours of entertainment and sensory enrichment. That’s a good enough reason to learn to play music all on its own!

More Opportunities

The ability to play music is also a skill that often stays with children for life. So, once they grow older, the skill may well lead to participation in bands, orchestras, theatrical performances or even a career in entertainment. Composers, stars of the screen, pop stars and theatrical entertainers all started somewhere. Indeed, many such careers will have roots in having learnt to play a musical instrument as a child.

Boosted Coordination & Fine Motor Skills

Playing notes, chords, rhythm and progressions will do wonders for a child's coordination and fine motor skills.Playing all these notes in a certain order, sometimes in isolation and at other times as chords and progressions, will do wonders for a child’s coordination and fine motor skills. Although perhaps tricky at first, with practice and ‘muscle memory’, children’s ability to master the playing of musical sequences, chords, melodies and rhythms will gradually become easier and easier. Before long, it’ll become second nature to them.

As well as those very obvious benefits to learning to play a musical instrument, children will benefit in other, perhaps less obvious, ways. We’ll take a look at those next.

Enhanced Maths Skills

Music, the structure of songs and rhythm are all rooted in mathematics. So, when learning to play music, children will give their brains a maths workout, ensuring that note length, tempo and rhythm all sound correct and combine correctly. It’s also a great way for children to learn real-world applications of things like fractions (for example, half notes, quarter notes, double note length and so on). At the same time, each musical bar usually remains the same length overall. There’s real-world addition in practice for you!

Enhanced Reading Skills

Learning to play music helps children improve reading and mathematics too.In a similar way, children who learn a musical instrument will usually, of course, also be learning to read printed music. While this comes in different forms, it all encourages children to concentrate on the reading process. Specifically, they’re learning to read from left to right, to analyse the printed music detail and to make sense of it. It’s another great workout for the brain, and we’ll say more about that next.

“…there is little doubt that regular exposure to music, and especially active participation in music, may stimulate development of many different areas of the brain. Takako Fujioka and her colleagues, for example, looking at children with a single year of violin training (compared to children with no training), recorded striking changes in activity in the brain’s left hemisphere. In terms of brain development, musical performance is every bit as important educationally as reading or writing.” (Oliver Sacks, Neurologist & Writer)

Boosted Cognitive Function

All this attention to detail, concentrated effort and intricate movement will also have a profound effect on the child’s developing brain. Reading and playing music is a complete, cognitive workout that’ll deeply exercise the brain, in particular boosting the development of the left side. This will spark the generation of millions of new neural connections, or ‘brain synapses’, which will permanently empower the child going forwards. With the left part of the brain also influencing skills like language and reasoning, these are also going to be boosted.

“Research shows that at least some musical education has a positive impact on [the] social and cognitive development of children. And these effects are long-lasting – better hearing, better motor skills, improved memory, better verbal and literacy skills.” (Alan Harvey, Musician and Neuroscientist)

A Boost for Social Skills

Collaboration instinctively comes from playing music, so it's a natural socialiser, bringing children of all ages together.Playing a musical instrument often goes hand-in-hand with collaboration. Whether it’s forming a band, taking part in a school orchestra, writing songs with friends or simply jamming out together, children of all ages will naturally play together given the opportunity. As such, it’s a natural socialiser and one that brings children of different ages together, with new friendships being formed through a common interest. That is a very healthy thing. It also teaches children a wide variety of social skills including communication (e.g. speaking and listening at appropriate times), collaboration, being mindful of the needs of others, waiting your turn and so on.

Creative Self-Expression

Playing a musical instrument is a wonderful outlet for children’s creativity. Give them just about any instrument and they’re sure to express themselves in some way. Their musical or rhythmic expression is also likely to vary depending upon the instrument being played, showing just how powerful a tool it is. Playing an instrument opens up all kinds of creative possibilities to children and they can experiment however they choose. It can also lift their mood or give them the means to express it. Creating music is hugely empowering.

Greater Self-Confidence

With abundant new skills and even new friendships forming because of their musical endeavours, children will naturally get a healthy boost of confidence. Praise and encouragement from adults and peers around them will naturally help boost their self-esteem too. That’s important, especially when they’re very young and unsure of themselves and their place in the world.

Improved Listening Skills

When children learn to play music on a musical instrument, they learn quickly the importance of listening intently at the right time. Through attentive listening, children will learn to compute and formulate the appropriate response to important information, instructions and requests. This is an essential skill and one that will benefit them at home, in nursery, preschool, at school and ultimately in the workplace. Indeed, knowing when to be quiet and listen is one of the key skills of any good consultant!

Enhanced Well-Being

Music is not only great fun but also a great antidote to stress and anxiety.Music itself is also a great antidote to stress and other emotions. Giving children the tools to appreciate music — and even involve themselves in it — will help with their mental well-being as it can calm them when they’re stressed, relax them when they’re tired or even give them an energy boost when they need to get active. Ask any runner! All they need is the right piece of music and half the mental battle is already complete.

Insights into Different Cultures

Music is the common language of the whole world and, as such, is a great bridge between different cultures. Hearing and playing different types of music, from different cultures, countries and even eras will give children an insight into those other people, places and beliefs. Different music genres (rock, blues, pop, etc.) will also be something they’ll find interesting as they grow older, teaching them even more about their own country. For example, the music history of Britain has been hugely influential over the fashion and culture of the nation and this influence is integral to our identity in the world — amazing when you think about it.

The Teaching of Life Lessons

Through learning to play a musical instrument, children learn so many important life lessons; the importance of persistence, for example, and the value of trial and error. Children learn about teamwork, leadership, critical thinking, collaboration and so much more. The following quotation brings the value of this into perspective:

“The things I learned from my experience in music in school are discipline, perseverance, dependability, composure, courage and pride in results… Not a bad preparation for the workforce!” (Gregory Anrig, President, Educational Testing Service)

It Supports Children’s Education

With all of the above benefits, learning to play a musical instrument is clearly going to help many areas of children’s education. For the youngest, all 7 key areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum will be supported through musical endeavours. For example, it’ll help boost creativity, communication, language, reading, maths, social development, personal development, physical coordination and so much more. This can only stand them in good stead as they progress from nursery, through preschool, into school and beyond. It’s amazing when you take a closer look like we have done today.

Starting Children Young

With so many benefits, it's worthwhile for children to start learning a musical instrument as young as possible.With all these benefits, it’s highly worthwhile for children to start learning a musical instrument as young as possible. It’s easy to start them, for example with simple instruments like drums, triangles, and tambourines initially. With these simple instruments, very young children can learn to keep time to music or a beat a rhythm demonstrated by adults. They can then progress to more advanced instruments such as recorders, keyboards, and stringed instruments. They have to start somewhere, though, but it’s never too early to start! Mozart was just 3 when he began to learn piano playing. By 5 he had composed a whole concerto! Who knows; perhaps your child could be a star in the making!

Your Nursery & Preschool in Hindley Green, near Wigan

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School in Hindley Green, near Wigan, Bolton & ManchesterIf you have a child under five and require weekday childcare in the Hindley Green area near Wigan, do consider Little Acorns Nursery. We give babies and under-fives the very best start in life. At Little Acorns, they’ll receive a wonderful early years education and a personalised learning and development programme that includes sensory and creative activities through music and rhythm. It’s a wonderful, safe, loving, home-from-home environment for little ones too. We also support a wide range of childcare funding options for those that are eligible. Get in touch to register your child for a place, arrange a guided tour or simply ask a question. We’ll be happy to assist.

Little Acorns is a wonderful nursery & preschool in Hindley Green near Wigan. We’re also suitably close to those in Bickershaw, Leigh, Atherton, Westhoughton, Ince-in-Makerfield, Platt Bridge, Tyldesley, Bolton and Greater Manchester.