While compulsory education starts for children in the year that they reach the age of five, there is also an opportunity for funded pre-school education too. This is available in approved nursery schools, some pre-schools and those primary schools with nursery classes – but parents have only until 14th January to submit their forms to the Department of Education for the forthcoming year’s places.
Priority is given to children born between 2nd July 2011 and 1st July 2012 as it targets those in the year before they are due to enter the primary school reception class. Although almost all applicants were granted a place last year, it is important that the admissions criteria are fulfilled, including naming three choices of pre-schools in order of preference.
It is felt that children benefit enormously from the experience of attending a good quality pre-school before starting primary school. Not only does it give them social interaction and play opportunities but it also prepares them for group learning and listening and introduces the concept of formal education in a fun and relaxed setting.
Studies have shown that children who experienced a high standard pre-school education are more academically able at the age of 10 than those who were not given the experience of nursery education.
- Application forms are available from pre-schools or from the relevant district council departments.