Jackson Emongot, a self-employed elec-tronics technician in Mbale ,used to take his children straight to primary one. He thought there was no point in going to kinder-garten at such an age, especially considering the fact that it came with an extra cost."But I noticed that my children would reach primary five classes without mastering the English language which greatly affected their classroom performance and examination results since they were not able to express themselves in English, the language of instruction," explains Emongot.
He thus decided to take his other two children to a nursery school where they spent three years in baby, middle and upper nursery classes."After completing kindergarten, the children progressed well in primary school and their performance is far better compared to my elder children who did not attend nursery school at a formative stage," he adds.Emongot reveals that one of the advantages of going through Pre-primary education is that it teaches a child how to associate with others.
He says introduction to early child education out-side the home lays a firm foundation for a child's education development, among other important attributes.Apart from teaching a child how to count, make drawings, know colours, read and speak English, a kindergarten prepares a child to ap-preciate a learning environment.
Since most rural children do not attend nursery schools before joining primary one, their per-formance is usually poor when it comes to doing national examinations like Primary Leaving Examinations.
Emongot says nursery school exposes a child to organised early childhood education develop-ment and he therefore argues that the Ministry of Education and Sports should come up with a policy on early childhood education that would benefit all children all over the country especially in rural areas where there is most need.
Emongot's daughter Noelina Adeke ,9, now a P.2 pupil of Joyce Primary School in Mbale town says the time she spent in the ECD centre helped her learn how to play and make friends with her peers."Going to nursery taught me confidence so I easily learnt to associate with other children at school. I did not cry when I was taken to P.1.
I Interacted with my fellow pupils freely," Adeke said.In nursery school little Adeke learnt how to communicate in English. She got used to an environment away from home and so was ready for primary school by the time she was six years.