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Wednesday, 22 December, 1999, 13:27 GMT
Nursery children more popular

Nursery Researchers say nursery helps social development


Attending nursery school can make children much more popular in later life, claim psychologists.

Research presented to the British Psychological Society's conference in London has claimed that the early socialising in nursery schools will make children five times more likely to have friends in later years.

The study of friendships in primary school found that socially successful children were more likely to have attended nursery or playgroups than those who stayed at home.

Researchers from the University of North London studied the patterns of friendships among 200 pupils in Warwickshire - with children asked to name their three best friends.

The children named as best friends were given points for each nomination, with the highest-scoring pupils taken to be the most popular.

Comparing the results of children who had been in pre-school classes and those who had not, the former pre-school pupils were seen to be more popular in all primary age ranges - with the most pronounced gap among 10 year olds.

This latest research adds to the debate over when children should begin to be attend schools or formal playgroups.

There have been claims that the move towards encouraging children to begin learning at an early age is "too much, too soon" - and that it can be counter-productive.

Scandinavian countries are often cited as examples of how a late start in formal lessons can still lead to high standards and levels of socialisation in later years.

But the report's authors say that the findings show that classes for early years groups can make a positive contribution to social development.

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See also:
05 May 99 |  Education
Nursery curriculum 'too much too soon'
19 Feb 99 |  Education
Targets for nursery children
15 Oct 99 |  Education
Call for shake-up in pre-school admissions
12 May 99 |  Education
Warning against stressed-out toddlers

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