Nursery school breeds better friends

25th February 2000 at 00:00
Children who have been to nursery school are more popular with their peers than those who attended day nurseries or stayed at home, new research has found.

In a University of North London study, children between the ages of four and 10 were asked to choose the three best friends in their class and the researcher then related these choices to the type of pre-school provision those friends had attended. The children who had been to nursery school had the most "best friends".

Second most popular were those who had been to playgroup. The children with the smallest number of friends were those who had stayed at homeand children who attended nurseries.

The researcher suggests that the structured curriculum and guided play activities found in nursery schools and playgroups provide a firm foundation for later social development. While nurseries provide a nurturing environment, on the whole they don't emphasise social and educational goals to the extent that the other two categories do. And children who stay at home before starting school are likely to have far less contact with peers than the other groups.

Pre-school experience and sociometric status by Philip Erwin, University of North London. Tel: 0207 607 2789

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