Nursery Schools

These are relatively rare since little new building has taken place and they are not likely to be increased in number.

A separate building with its own outside space. Most often the building will be an old war-time nursery building.

The school will be in the charge of a headmistress who is a qualified nursery-trained teacher. Each separate class is supervised by a nursery teacher who has a trained nursery nurse to help or perhaps nursery nurse students in training. In some schools an experienced nursery nurse may be in charge of a group under the guidance of the headmistress. There will also be a caretaker and, where meals are served, kitchen staff.

The number of children will depend on the size of the premises but two or sometimes three’ classes’ of about twenty children is the most likely situation, The ratio of adults to children is one to ten.

Most nursery schools offer part-time places although some still have a proportion of full-time places and serve meals for these all-day children. Children will attend either five mornings of two-and-a-half- to three-hour sessions or five afternoons.

It is very rare for formal teaching to be carried out in the nursery school. They offer carefully structured activities and opportunities for play.

The age range is usually from three to five years and the separate groups will consist of a cross-section of these ages.

Parents are not responsible for any aspect of the nursery school. It is possible but unlikely that an individual parent is a member of the Board of Managers.

This varies enormously. There may be a Parent-Teacher Association; some schools have a ‘Mother’s Club’. It depends very much on the views of the headmistress which can range from ‘Parents are a great nuisance- let them in and they want to run the school’ and’ They are always useful for washing aprons’ to ‘Parents are always welcome but we take care to organize this or there could be too many at any one time’ and’ I don’t know what I’d do without my parents.’

No fees are charged except dinner money if a child stays for lunch. Sometimes there will be a toy fund, very often there will be fund-raising activities of one kind or another.