Preschool wanting me to collect DS early

(64 Posts)
insanelycheerful Tue 03-Jun-14 17:30:10

I was hoping to get some advice/suggestions regarding DS2 who is 3. He started at a new preschool after Easter (having previously attended a day nursery 2 days a week).

He has settled really well into the preschool and seems very happy to attend, only just manages to say bye to me as he's so busy getting stuck into the activities etc!grin So far, for me, this is the only positive.....(albeit a very significant one).

He is an outgoing, confident character, spirited at times! (I am under no illusion that when the mood takes him, he can be a handful, eg he sometimes likes to think the rules don't apply to him, he has also been a biter although he has tended to bite out of excitement and when playing happily with a favourite playmate, rather than biting out of anger). At the same time, he is a very rewarding child, full of fun, cheeky (in a good way!), affectionate etc.

Although he is over 3, he has struggled a bit with dropping his nap. I haven't put him for a nap since well before Easter as I know he won't settle, but he struggles to get through the day without a cat nap of some sort. If we are out and about he will often drop off in the car, but since starting preschool he doesn't really have the opportunity as I have to make sure he's had lunch before he goes and the session starts at 1245 (it finishes at 345pm).

He has fallen asleep at the end of preschool on a few occasions (quite happily it would seem!), and because of this and the fact that they have indicated that his behaviour can tail off towards the end of the session, they suggested that I pick him up early.

I have to pick DS1 (aged 4) up from school at 3pm, so I explained that getting to preschool early would be tricky. They did suggest getting DS2 before the school run, but this would mean collecting him by 240pm at the latest, which hardly seemed worth the trouble of taking him. So I compromised by collecting him straight after the school run and collected him at 315-320pm for a period before half term. This was not ideal for DS1 as it meant we had to leave school the moment he came out, and he loves to have a 10min run around with his friends after school. It also means I can't walk DS1 home from school, which is important to me (we love really near school but 10-15min drive from preschool).

I've suggested going back to picking DS2 up at normal finish time (345pm) after half term as I am not sure collecting him early is the knot answer here. I feel we (me and the teachers) should be exploring some strategies to help DS2 cope with feeling tired, rather than just defaulting to me getting him early. We are only talking a difference of 20mins here, given that the school next door to preschool is finishing as I collect him early so it's chaos outside trying to park, get in etc, so even if I rush straight from school I tend not to get DS2 till 320ish. And preschool seem to like to chuck out early, so kids are getting picked up from 335-340pm (when I was arriving at 340-345pm - NEVER late though) they made comments to the effect of can you get here a bit earlier please!

I picked up at 345 today but was called in for a "chat" as DS2 did not have a great afternoon behaviour wise (despite being pretty good overall during half term) and they asked again about picking up early.

I think what I am looking for is:
1. AIBU to push back on picking up early and asking to discuss strategies to help DS2 cope with tiredness, the full session (given that the main reason for sending him is to prepare him for school and the future)?
2. What strategies would you suggest I discuss? I'm wondering about quiet time (eg he LOVES books and I wondered about sitting him in the cubby hole with some books for the last 15mins?) If he drops off, so be it?
3. AIBU to feel like the preschool are copping out a bit by resorting to telling me to collect him early, rather than exploring other options first? I do feel like his old nursery would be doing the latter....I feel like he's missing out on part of his entitlement, all for the sake of saving the staff the trouble of dealing with him for the last 20mins of the session.

I'd be grateful for any comments/advice anyone might have here smile

insanelycheerful Sat 07-Jun-14 11:08:09

Thanks ghoul smile

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Sat 07-Jun-14 00:04:53

I'm glad the nursery are taking a more positive approach smile

insanelycheerful Thu 05-Jun-14 09:49:02

You might be right Hatty about him doing too much. He is a very active child though, loves to be on the go, very much a typical boy (to go along with the stereotype!) unlike his brother.

I suppose because historically he has had to do 3 full days at nursery (when I was at work), and they were long days due to my commute, and an activity in the morning and often something in the afternoon has been the norm for us (with both boys) and I've not observed any particular problems as a result of that, I hadn't realised 5 afternoons might be too much.

I should perhaps point out that he has only actually fallen asleep at nursery 3 or maybe 4 times. I do understand this is not great, but also it is not like he has been dropping at the end of every session, which is what made me wonder if it was more about his behaviour than him falling asleep, and the falling asleep is a handy reason for the nursery to push for me to get him early?

Having said all this, I dropped him yesterday expecting to have a chat about early pick up etc and instead they have prepared a really lovely good behaviour chart for him. Basically if he does 4 good things (nice sitting, good listening, playing nicely) he goes up the chart and gets a special reward. I was so pleased to see this, as it seemed a really positive thing to me and I have told them before that he responds very well to things like this. They have also personalised it for him to something he is really into, which is fantastic.

They didn't even mention pick up, so I brought it up and they said just pick him up at normal time, that's fine. Like it had never really been an issue! So I said how about we do that for this week and next and review at the end of next week. We have parent consultations at the end of next week so it works perfectly to discuss it more then. I made it clear I was more than happy to get him early if it still seems too much for him as I (like they) want his experience to be positive.

Well he came home at the end of yesterday's session with his special reward and the teacher said he'd been great! I think Tuesday had been a bit of a blip as it was first day back after half term (and he'd been great over half term). He'd also earned a sticker yesterday.

I just feel much happier and more positive generally that the preschool seem to be acting in a supportive manner and had gone to the trouble of the reward chart for him. Also the teacher who spoke to me yesterday and has been a bit off and not given off good vibes to date had a very different manner both with me and DS yesterday, just much nicer overall. I also feel happy that we are just giving it a go for a couple of weeks, but if needs be I will just get him early as I understand that may be the best answer in the short term, and things from September will be quite different. And if all else fails (including discussions next week re my concerns about treatment of DS vs other children - see incident about name labels) we can always consider the old nursery again smile

insanelycheerful Thu 05-Jun-14 09:28:58

Rogan you do get the funding at the old nursery, but as it's a private day nursery, open all year round, the funding is spread across the year so basically it's about £370 a month for 2 days a week rather than £470 a month (rough figures from memory).

It is not really about cost or the funding though. I was trying to put him in the best/most appropriate environment ahead of starting school next September.

RoganJosh Thu 05-Jun-14 07:51:13

I'm guessing you can't use your 15 hours at the old nursery? It sounds like the ideal would be doing a full day and a morning or two there?

hattytheherald Thu 05-Jun-14 07:36:11

Perhaps he is doing too much? Personally at that age my children did one activity a day. Going to toddler group in the morning then pre school in the afternoon is a very long day for a 3 year old. I would consider only doing toddler groups on those days and pre school on the other days. Also 5 afternoons at pre school is a lot for a 3 year old. They're still babies really and will get tired.

I work in early years and we have asked parents to pick up early if we feel that the child is too tired. However we do mornings only and it would only be for a little one (2 year old) for a little while to enable them to build up their stamina. Having a sleepy child is pretty much 1:1 especially if you're not geared up for sleeping.

insanelycheerful Wed 04-Jun-14 10:21:55

Thanks Ghoul. He has only bitten once at preschool (his best friend), so I am not sure this is the key issue.

Perhaps you are right he is just not suited to this setting. DH and I had a good chat last night and are certainly not ruling out moving him back to his old nursery as he loved it there, we were very happy with the staff and the setting, and they never once gave us a moment's qualms about how well cared for he was. Has made me wonder why we moved him, but I honestly thought this would be better for him!

insanelycheerful Wed 04-Jun-14 10:17:08

Do you mean did they really reprimand him for something they have praised other children for? If so, then yes. No doubt about it.

Children have to put their name on the board when they arrive. I have seen other children find their friends' names and give them to them. The children have been praised by staff and parents for being clever at recognising someone else's name and for being helpful. When I saw DS do exactly the same, a teacher snatched the name off him and said "no that isn't your name, find your name" and put it back. The name he had picked up was his best friend, who already attended the preschool before him and this was another reason to send him in the afternoon so he already had a friend. You will have to take my word for it that her tone was not particularly kind/encouraging, but rather snappy and impatient. I left it as I thought she could have been distracted/busy trying to help all the children, get them settled etc and it was an isolated incident. I didn't much like witnessing it though. Add this to a general feeling that this teacher and also one other seem generally impatient/short with DS (I could give more examples) and it's not great.

Another parent has commented she has generally had positive interactions with this particular teacher, but also commented "I think she seems to prefer girls" sad

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 04-Jun-14 10:16:36

The more I read of this the more it seems like your DS is just not ready for this more formal educational environment. Not surprising really as he's only little. If you think he'll be ready by September, especially with the morning sessions, then take him out for a term and then start afresh in Sept. If you don't think he'll be ready then either it's probably better to go back to a nursery environment where they tend to be a bit more nurturing.

For what it's worth my DS is 4 and due to start school in Sept. I kept him doing two long days at day nursery as I felt that suited his personality and the fact we both enjoyed his non-nursery days. It is more expensive but you can offset the cost with the 15 funded hours. It did also mean that he could nap for as long as he needed to.

You haven't asked for specific advice on the biting issue but I do wonder if this is what the pre-school assistants are finding hard. Biting is a red line in most nursery (if you'll excuse the pun). Other parents hate it and the assistants have to come down hard on it. This is probably what's at the root of the pre-school's concerns I'd say. If you think you will continue with this pre school either now or in September then you need to go it and have a very frank discussion how things can improve going forward.

Uptheanty Wed 04-Jun-14 09:57:42

I think there are 2 seperate issues here.

You shouldn't make it about the pick up time when you talk to them, this will actually minimise your real concerns.

I would be very unhappy if I felt staff did not like my child & I would be seriously concerned if I witnessed any kind situation that singled my child out.

Questions you need to ask yourself, did they really to this or are you sensitive & defensive?

I would sit down after school & tell them my concerns.

I feel that because of a, b & c that he has been labelled & singled out, is this true?

If you feel that you've made more headway with your relationship & trust in the staff then you will feel more confident & invested in their strategies.

Fwiw I have never worked with a child I didn't like in 25 years. The more challenging children can be very rewarding to watch mature & develop. I wouldn't accept anything less for my dc.

insanelycheerful Wed 04-Jun-14 09:43:24

To clarify, when I say he usually bites his best friends in situations like this, I don't mean that he often does so in these situations, but that on the (thankfully now rare) occasion he does bite, it is in a situation such as this. And typically with a close friend, while happy/excited, rather than in anger at another child.

insanelycheerful Wed 04-Jun-14 09:39:58

Oh and re your Q what do I expect the preschool to do, as I have said SEVERAL times on this thread already (kindly read it), I expect them to discuss/consider other options with me when we have tried picking up early and it has seemingly not changed their view of the situation, or at least to explain to me more clearly why picking up early is the only solution here. So far they have done neither. I have not said I refuse to pick him up early, in fact I have been open to people who have pushed for that here. I just want to understand the situation better rather than just say yes I will get him early without any clear rationale as to why this is the only option.

insanelycheerful Wed 04-Jun-14 09:36:44

Floggingmolly are you a biting expert then?? As a parent of a child who bites (and one who doesn't), I have done a fair bit of research and I am fully aware that children bite for a host of different reasons. Some bite out of anger, eg when another child takes a toy. Some bite through excitement and a misplaced display of affection - this is typically the case with my son who I have seen playing happily with another child that he is particularly fond of, hugging together and laughing and then he has bitten them. He usually bites his best friends in situations like this. If you care to research yourself you will see that it is related to sensory issues and a means of releasing an urge which does in fact stem from excitement/affection, albeit it is demonstrated in a very bad way. Many thanks for the patronising and unhelpful comment, anyway.

Floggingmolly Wed 04-Jun-14 09:29:39

He's obviously not able for the full session, what do you expect the pre school to do? And children do not bite due to "excitement", actually confused

insanelycheerful Wed 04-Jun-14 09:20:21

Point taken. It seems the staff have already labelled him to be honest, so anything I can do to alleviate that is a good thing. Not sure I want him in a setting where they are so quick to do that though.

Will me getting him 20mins early really solve the problem? I was doing that for 2-3weeks before half term and it doesn't seem to have created any more positivity that I can see...

ThisBitchIsResting Wed 04-Jun-14 07:53:02

If I had to go to work something like 8pm-2am, I'd probably be tired and ratty. And the people I work with would naturally form an opinion on me based on that. And probably avoid me / treat me less patiently than people who are alert, on the ball and happy. It's not your fault, not your son's fault and not the staff's fault, but I think it's a probably quite common route to disaster. Worst case scenario is as a pp said, your son gets used to being 'the naughty one' and persists with bad behaviour even when not tired. The more I think about it the more important I think it is that you listen to the staff and collect him early. Persistently naughty very young children always have good reason to be so, ime. It's our job as adults and carers to try to steer the behaviour and put them in situations where they will thrive.

insanelycheerful Wed 04-Jun-14 07:41:29

ThisBitch - you are very wise to say don't over analyse, as I suspect this is what I am doing in some ways. I think I need to try and look at the early pick up/tiredness as an issue in its own right and try to sort that, separate from the other issues I have, such as feeling that DS is not liked/treated particularly nicely by some members of staff (as an example I have witnessed him be reprimanded in a very brusque manner for something that I have seen other children praised for. I let it go at the time but it has played on my mind).

3-6pm sessions for preschoolers seems crazy btw!!

ThisBitchIsResting Tue 03-Jun-14 22:45:10

It's not for long. He'll be fine in Sept, just be careful not to over analyse - he's too tired for preschool so he needs to be picked up.

As an aside - the first two nurseries I looked at only offered funded places from 3-6pm for the preschool room! Not sure how many children benefit from that or are prepared for school, as it is intended for. But the nursery can charge full price for morning sessions as that is what the majority of parents want.

SueDNim Tue 03-Jun-14 22:29:21

I'd give him lunch at 11.30 and then go for a drive. But I don't think that is a terrifically practical or cheap solution.

insanelycheerful Tue 03-Jun-14 22:20:32

Couple more quick points, on phone so hard to respond personally...
I am certainly not "blaming staff". I am just wondering if there are other avenues to look at or if collecting early is the only option.
Me picking up early literally saves them 20mins at the end of the session. So no great difference. But I am more than happy to do it if it makes a great difference to his experience and also helps preschool out as I am conscious my child is not the only one there! Will go into tomorrow open minded and take it from there. Been v helpful to read all responses.

insanelycheerful Tue 03-Jun-14 22:11:29

Thanks uptheanty, appreciate your comments and will take on board your tips re tomorrow. I do take issue with the suggestion I consider preschool to be a babysitting service, however! In fact I think I've made it clear I consider the opposite, ie it is a stimulating educational environment, as that is why I chose to send DS there as preparation for school. His interests have been central to my decision making, and will continue to be so. If this means picking him up a bit early, fine. If it means moving him back to his old nursery, fine. My short-term issue is that the preschool appear to have been quick to ask me to collect him early with no evidence of other avenues being pursued. My long-term issue is whether this is the best setting for DS, given that I have not been impressed with the manner/attitude of a couple of members of staff, and the way I perceive DS to be treated by them.

If I were to move DS it would be because I am not convinced this setting is right for him (weighing up all factors, including upheaval of moving him again) and I would only consider moving him back to his old nursery as I was always so impressed and happy with them. I wouldn't really consider a further new environment. I also have to bear in mind that DS so far seems very happy at preschool, but I am keen to understand more about his behaviour there and whether the setting potentially has an impact on this.

Uptheanty Tue 03-Jun-14 21:12:12

There is a difference between wrap around childcare providers and nurseries who model themselves on a school environment.

If your nursery only accept children from 2.8 months who are fully potty trained and keep school hours then they provide a different service than providers who accept children of all ages and abilities, with that comes expected standards that should be made clear to all parents front he offset.

These kind of nurseries do not provide napping facilities and they will expect the children to be alert and receiving the educational and social benefits of nursery attendance.

If your child doesn't meet that criteria they may feel that it is in his best interests not to continue his afternoon session if he's not awake as he is not receiving the benefit of the facility.

Pre school os not a babysitting service but an educational environment in place to stimulate your child.

You are well within your rights to challenge any suggestion they make to you and you as the dc's mother may be right in your evaluation!

There is the possibility they are to quick to implement a solution that is not in your ds's best interest long term, they are not god and may have made a mistake in their evaluation.

As you have had a positive experience so far it can be challenging to come up against difficulties and deal with them effectively.
I know, regardless of my knowledge that I have made many mistakes with my responses over both my dc's education because my response is one of a mother -- emotional!!!

My posts are only written with the aim to try to give you a different perspective upon which to view the situation.
I have had lots of great advice on here and have found it to be helpful to manage my responses to situations with a positive outcome.

Do you want to your ds to stay at this nursery?

If you do, think about the reasons why.

Go in tomorrow with some bullet point responses written down.
Be open to alternative viewpoints and try to understand the reasons why they think an early pick up will help, is this a long term solution? How long do they want it to continue? Will they keep you up to date communicate with you and discuss the matter again in the near future?

If you are still unhappy then maybe look into alternatives.

flowers good luck.

DeWee Tue 03-Jun-14 21:09:07

Ds tended to act up when tired, and personally I think taking him home before the behaviour deteriorates was actually better for him as well.

Because the other children won't label him as "the naughty one" (and they will), he won't feel that the session's been bad because he's finished on a bad note, and it won't become a habit that he's badly behaved at preschool.

As it's only half a term, I'd pick him up early.

ThisBitchIsResting Tue 03-Jun-14 21:02:24

My son is due to start preschool in a few months. I have already discounted a couple of the good ones near me as they would only offer afternoon sessions. I know my son still gets tired in the afternoon if he doesn't get a nap - even if he does tbh, he's a bit past it in the afternoons! And he's the sweetest child, really quiet and sensitive, but morphs into a shouty screamy throwing-things-around out of control nightmare when tired. So I've gone for a place that offers 3 mornings, building up to 5 after a few months.

I appreciate you didn't realise your son would struggle with afternoon sessions - but rather than blaming staff, in your shoes I would pick him up early and be sweetness and light with them. It is as you say only for a few weeks, don't bite your nose off to spite your face. It will be far better for him that way, and moving him elsewhere will just further unsettle him.

I teach Reception and lots of them still want to sleep in the afternoons and are good for nothing learning wise, and need a lot more patience than in the morning grin

I think if you persevere with keeping him there, his experience of a school environment will become one of battle and misery, which is just the worst possible outcome IMO. It's preschool not childcare, so it is different to nursery - if the staff feel he's not getting anything out of it, there isn't much point in him being there and it's detrimental to his and others' experiences.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 03-Jun-14 20:58:28

Could you take him out / drop him down to a couple of afternoons this term and then up him to 5 days once he's doing mornings in Sept? Pre-school may be amenable to this if they are finding him hard to deal with when tired.

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