A pre-school which breaks new ground by using the performing arts to help children learn and develop self-confidence has opened in the centre of Castletown. Market Square Pre-School, based at Manannan House, is the result of a long-held ambition by owner and founder Jane Subachus. She has more than 13 years experience in childcare, which includes seven years managing a nursery in Douglas, and earned an NNEB (National Nursery Examination Board) qualification at Isle of Man College. For more than 30 years she has been involved in theatre shows and has performed in local productions including Chess, Sweeney Todd and Evita. For years she had an idea to combine the performing arts with a well structured educational programme for pre-school children, and with the opening of Market Square Pre-School her ambition has now been realised.
She says: “There is a lot of research which shows that the performing arts can promote many benefits for young children in terms of developing self-confidence and social skills, and enhancing their capacity to learn. Children who lack confidence can fade into the background in a conventional pre-school environment. What I wanted to create was an environment in which the power of theatre, music, and dance could be harnessed to nurture self-confidence in children and let them have a lot of fun at the same time. Of course, the education children receive here is centred upon the Early Years Curriculum, but we continually encourage development with subtle activities through dance, drama and music.”
The pre-school has themed rooms with a fairytale cottage in one, a donkey in a stable mural in another, a dedicated arts and crafts room, and a spacious purpose built dance studio upstairs. Even going to the loo becomes an adventure for the children with a jungle themed WC! However, when children want somewhere quiet to read there’s also a library with a cosy nook which is ideal for when they want to lose themselves in a book. There’s also a kitchen and dining area where children can tuck into freshly prepared meals.
But Jane is keen to point out that all of this is just the beginning. She’s full of imaginative ideas and has lots of plans to add even more facilities – and the space available in Manannan House gives Jane and her experienced and qualified staff plenty of room to be creative. One plan on the agenda is to create a mini Gaiety Theatre stage where children can perform their own shows. She adds: “We want this school to be continually growing and offering the very best education to pre-school children. Tapping into children’s natural curiousity is a great way to encourage their desire to learn so we try and make every day different for them.”
The first intake of children are already attending the pre-school in their smart new uniforms and Jane says there has been an overwhelmingly positive reaction from them and their parents. “We’re offering something different and I think parents can see that as soon as they walk in the door. And the children love it – and seeing their reaction just inspires me to think of more ideas to make this an even more magical place for them to learn and have fun.”
For more information go to www.marketsquarepreschool.co.uk or call 212650, or drop in to the pre-school at Manannan House, Market Square, Castletown.