The UK Education Act, for example, makes it a law that all children must start full-time education at the age of five. However, although there is no law that requires younger children to attend school, many educators and parents consider the time they spend in a nursery school to be of great value to younger children.
That is why there is a kindergarten, that is, a school for children up to five years old.
Some of these nurseries are maintained by the local authority and are day or residential. Others are part of a large school, particularly private schools, that is, there may be a nursery department for children aged three to five, from which pupils enter the school proper. In some cases, a children’s residence has a nursery within its walls for residents who are not yet old enough for elementary school.
These are not schools in the sense that children receive formal lessons. What they gain from attendance is the opportunity to “socialize.” It is recognized that young children need to spend time in the company of their age peers; learn to be part of a group; participate in active group games, sing, act, paint, play with sand and water, tell stories, etc. share available adult care and learn to accept group discipline. However, very young children remain largely individuals; Although they can be members of a group and derive value from that membership, they still need the opportunity to behave in a very individual way.
Older children also need this opportunity to behave individually, of course, but it is especially vital for those under the age of five. They are unable to behave “selflessly”, to accept rules that go against their inclinations, as easily as the older child can.
A good kindergarten teacher is capable of caring for a group of these children, providing discipline and group activity and, at the same time, meeting the individual needs of the children in the group. A potential nursery teacher then must be a person with an adventurous spirit, an open mind, and an acceptable disposition.
You need to be able to organize the work you do for the group of children you teach in such a way that you can give much of this important individual attention to each child.
It will be seen that, because this work is so demanding on the person doing it, it is also very satisfying, both intellectually and emotionally, and of course covers a wide and varied area or field of interest. The kindergarten teacher is a highly specialized pedagogue and must have a very confident and balanced personality. There is a growing demand for trained teachers, specially trained to work with very young children, that is, both for the nurseries already described and for foster classes in nursery schools.
The training courses offered train a girl, or a young man, to teach children up to the age of seven. It will be seen, then, that there is a wide margin for the trained nursery teacher, since he can work in the infant department of the primary school with children from five to seven years old.
Although this job generally appeals more to girls than boys, there is no reason why a boy should not do this job very successfully. Work offers considerable financial security because there is a continuing demand for teachers (and many educators hope that in the future all children around the world will be able to enjoy the full benefits of early childhood education; to this end, efforts are made. is doing to provide more nursery schools, for which, of course, teachers will be needed).