When to start
The classroom at Netherton is designed for children between the ages of 2 and a half and 6 years. All children are different, and some are developmentally ready before others. The following are a few examples of behaviour a child must display to be developmentally ready to begin our school:
• will take suggestions from the teacher of work s/he is ready for. A child who is not ready will pull away from the teacher when she takes his/her hand, or will display unwillingness to go with the teacher by lying on the floor, running away, etc.
• will allow teachers to show him/her how to use the activities on the shelf. A child who is developmentally too young will not be able to wait, watch or take in the process for doing the work. •able to follow simple directions like lining up, washing hands, putting on coat to go outside. The child doesn’t have to be able to do these things perfectly, but has to be willing to listen to and follow instructions.
• able to communicate needs to the teacher and other children appropriately. Children who are too young will just cry when they need something, and will be very frustrated in an environment that is not meeting their needs.
• happy to sit at circle time and listen to stories and engage in activities. A child who is too young will not be able to attend to group situations, sit for stories, participate in games, etc.
• able to sit quietly at home and complete an activity. Children who are too young for this type of classroom will take many activities out, work on them for only a very short amount of time without completing anything, and then move on to something else without putting the previous activities away.
• able to go to the toilet and willing to accept help if necessary. When considering accepting a child, we at Netherton have not only to consider the readiness of the individual child but also the needs of the whole classroom.
Children who are too young take an extraordinary amount of the teacher’s time to the detriment of the classroom as a whole. We want every child to be happy in the classroom which means that he or she needs to be developmentally ready for the experience.