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to be totally and utterly confused about '15 hours free' nursery for 3 year old?

(28 Posts)
wonderingifiam2013 Fri 19-Jul-13 12:49:01

on a few levels!

1 - if I don't 'need' to send DC ... should I? (interacting with other children/give me time with new baby when it arrives/is it the done thing if I'm lucky enough to have family support etc ?)

2 - Am I being PFB not sending DC to nursery until it's the pre-school one?

3 - Is it a good thing as will be mixing with children who DC will eventually go to school with (local nursery)

4 - DC born in September, therefore will DC be 'ready' at 3 before going to onsite primary school nursery at 4/5?

5 - Am I beating myself up by thinking I should do all (except for when I'm at work part-time) the childcare myself?

Would love to hear your views/experiences please thanks

TheOrchardKeeper Fri 19-Jul-13 12:52:13

1.) Up to you. I found it was good for my DS socially, despite having my own reservations but it's up to you at the end of the day smile
2.) " "
3.) I thought so smile
4.) Not sure
5.) YES smile

InTheRedCorner Fri 19-Jul-13 12:54:07

It's a personal choice, you could just use one afternoon for a bit of me time and an added activity your DC does.

I didn't use these and just went straight n to pre school because I didn't find any benefit in doing them but I now others who thought they were great.

I'm sure you're socialising with DC now anyway so no harm done in what ever you choose.

wonderingifiam2013 Fri 19-Jul-13 12:54:19

Thanks Orchard - especially for number 5, as that's the answer I wanted grin

wonderingifiam2013 Fri 19-Jul-13 12:55:13

Good idea RedCorner about one afternoon - then I can ease DC (--me--!) into it slowly wink

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 19-Jul-13 12:55:29

I think you would be mad not to. My daughter started at 3 and came on leaps and bounds- the change in her confidence was unbelievable. Definitely worth doing if you have access to a good nursery.

sillyoldfool Fri 19-Jul-13 12:55:30

it's up to you!
My two went from the term after they turned 3 for 3 mornings a week, then 5 mornings the term after that.
I've always had another baby at home to look after, so it's nice to have a bit of time to be just with them, DC3 might well stay at home ft longer.
Both mine have loved it, and DD1 had a nice bunch of friends from preschool when she started school.

InTheRedCorner Fri 19-Jul-13 12:56:09

Know not now - I'm in the sun!

ZipItShrimpy Fri 19-Jul-13 12:57:16

I think it gives them a good bit of social interaction, a good set up for school and you get 2.5 hours a day to eat cake and drink coffee in relative peace knowing that your child is being stimulated and having fun!

I am actually excited about my dd starting her nursery in August! grin

Pootles2010 Fri 19-Jul-13 12:58:42

Your post all seems to be about what 'should' you do/'need' to do, so yes you are beating yourself up!

There's no hard & fast rules, think everyone does such different things but they all turn out ok in the end.

On a more practical note - ds goes to nursery, I think when he eventually goes to school it'll be lovely because he's got all his little friends that will be going too, so less daunting for him but especially me blush

I only have one ds but imagine it'll be very good when your new baby arrives, and even before when you're heavily pregnant and knackered you can have a few naps!

TheOrchardKeeper Fri 19-Jul-13 12:59:00

Glad to help smile

I was a bit unsure as I was worried he wouldn't like it/would act out but he's loved it, his speech has come on miles and he's much more socialble and capable of sharing, taking part in a two way conversation, approaching other children his age etc so I'm really glad he went.

You can always pull DC out if it's not working for you so it's worth a try smile

(Plus the break is very nice...even if I do mostly use it for uninterrupted housework/studying)!

CloudsAndTrees Fri 19-Jul-13 13:00:37

1) if you think your child would enjoy it, which they probably would, then yes.

2) no, it's your choice.

3) yes, but it's not just about that. It's about early years education too.

4) no, totally depends on the child, but the EYFS (early years foundation stage) caters for children right up to the age of five.

5) Yes, you are being a bit silly with this one. It's not childcare, it's education and it's a very positive, enjoyable experience for most children. You wouldn't question yourself for sending your child to school, this is no different. You don't have to use the full 15 hours, you could just use three mornings a week, which is what many people do at three.

jollygoose Fri 19-Jul-13 13:01:11

yes go for it - I was a bit reluctant my dh wanted dd to go to learn to be more sociable as she was a bit of a pusher and being a large child I was very worried she would b disliked. However its turned out really well she used to try and push others about but thanks to nursery she has learned to always have "gentle hands" hooray!

maja00 Fri 19-Jul-13 13:04:33

Something like 96% of children take up the free nursery hours, so unless you really don't want him to, I would - most if not all the children he eventually goes into Reception with will have been to nursery or pre-school.

If your child is 3 in September, then they will be eligible for their free hours from the January term. However, some nurseries, especially state nursery schools or nursery classes in primary schools will only take children in the September, so your DS would be 4 when he starts. A private nursery or pre-school might be able to take him from the January though.

He will start Reception class the September he is 5.

Babouche Fri 19-Jul-13 13:06:30

DS who has been in a pre-school since just 3(August born) has loved it.He usually wants to go at the weekend.
He has made loads of friends,70% of them are going into reception with him at the same school so the transition will be easy.
The activities that they do are better compared to the alternatives like toddler groups and although he likes being with me he would rather play with children his own age.There are only so many meet-ups and play dates you can organise.
During the time he has been there I've had another baby and it is great to have that 15 hours a week .

wonderingifiam2013 Fri 19-Jul-13 13:08:53

Thanks for all the replies - I've just made an appointment to go and see one I've had my eye on for a while smile

PandaG Fri 19-Jul-13 13:12:45

If you decide to send your child, please send them more than 1 session a week - I work in a pre-school and we find the child can find it really hard to settle if they only come once a week, it is a long time to remember the week round for them to attend again, and it can be harder for staff to really get to know your child if they only see them once a week.

CockyFox Fri 19-Jul-13 13:15:23

I took the free hours for DD at a church pre school rather than a day nursery. She only did 2 mornings a week and did wonders for her. You don't have to use all 15hrs.

ihearttc Fri 19-Jul-13 13:23:52

Totally agree about the more than 1 day but I really wish school nurseries in particular could be more flexible?

There is basically 2 options where I live a private nursery or a school nursery. DS1 had his free hours at the private nursery which was fantastic but its completely the opposite direction to the school where he now attends so was going to get DS2 into the school nursery in Jan (he is 3 in November) but seeing as he is going to be there for 18 months as he won't start reception until Sept 15 I wanted him to do 2/3 mornings first and build up from there but have just spoken to school and its not possible. They "have" to take all 5 sessions and the younger ones are in the afternoon as they do phonics work in the morning.

DS2 in tiny as was prem and has a speech delay...he still sleeps for over an hour in the afternoon everyday and there is no way he could cope with 5 afternoon sessions unless something drastically changes between now and september. I offered to take 5 morning sessions so they got the funding but only send him in for 3 but apparently they can't do that either.

Can't send DS2 to the private nursery as I then couldn't be there to pick DS1 up from school so looks like DS2 will be at home with me until nezt september.

ShowOfHands Fri 19-Jul-13 13:24:51

I asked dd if she wanted to go. At 3.8 she went along for one day (9-3) and two afternoons (12-3) a week at her request. She loved it. Before that she was at home with me and we lived in the middle of nowhere. She saw family but I didn't bother with the whole nursery/toddler group/infant socialisation thing. She slotted right in and was very happy.

It's not about what you should or shouldn't do but what's right for your family. I suppose given a straight choice I wouldn't have bothered sending dd but I asked her what she thought, showed her what preschool was and she wanted to go. She had 2 terms there before starting school at age 4.

I won't have such freedom second time round as ds will need to go to preschool so that I can return to work. You're lucky to have the choice, just make the one that suits you as a family. smile

NoComet Fri 19-Jul-13 13:26:33

DD1 needed the social interaction, to learn social skills, at 15 she's still learning.

DD2 needed the social interaction to stay sane and at 12 she still does. Off at a sleep over with her friend tonight.

That said there is absolutely no reason to blindly do 5 mornings a week if you don't want to. Except just before school my girls did 3 or 4. DD2 kept a whole day at a nursery she preferred until she went to school too.

Five mornings a week is as tying as school and lunch time puck ups are in the middle of nap time, do can be a total pita.

Think very hard what you want to do and what fits in with Your life and Your child not the nurseries.

As I say one days full child care and one day off suited us way better than 5 mornings. DH and me even sneered the odd adult pub lunch with DD2 at nursery and DD1 at school. When you have no babysitting that alone was worth the preschool teachers irritation grin

NoComet Fri 19-Jul-13 13:27:38


HorryIsUpduffed Fri 19-Jul-13 13:31:23

DS1 went to the preschool on the school site. I was a SAHM so didn't need the childcare.

Around half of his Reception class came up from preschool with him. Socially it was a big advantage and those children are still very close. It was noticeable at first that the children who had done the equivalent of three days a week on site already settled into school more easily than the others, even though the exact setting and staff were completely different.

He is a summer baby so qualified for three terms of funding, ie the year before school started. Sept-Dec babies get five terms funded and Jan-Mar four terms.

DS2 does two sessions a week (ie 5h) to save my brain from atrophy and to broaden his range of experiences. They do more messy craft than I can face at home, and have a good outdoor area with sandpit and slide, and other toys we don't have at home.

DS2 isn't funded yet, but when he qualifies we will build up from two sessions to six. He asks to go when it isn't "his day" so I'm confident he enjoys it.

HorryIsUpduffed Fri 19-Jul-13 13:35:02

And yes, when DS1 started sessions DS2 was still ebf and demanding; I am pg with DC3 and need those five hours childfree either to get jobs done so I can go to bed early, or indeed for a siesta, particularly in this weather.

It's very useful to be able to give your new arrival some 1-to-1 time, otherwise you blink and suddenly the first birthday has come round.

brightpurplecow Fri 19-Jul-13 13:35:09

I think its totally 100% up to you whether you want to send your child to Pre School at 3 (you are under no obligation to send them anywhere until they are 5)

Things to bear in mind (many already mentioned!)

- Use it at a child care provider you want to send them to - neither of mine have gone to the one attached to their primary school as I preferred other settings.
- Its great to help them develop their social skills without you there to negotiate on their behalf - probably the most useful thing for me before they went to school.
- They have a lot of fun (mine both loved it!)
- You don't have to use all of it or in the 5 morning/afternoon arrangement (we did 5 mornings for my daughter and frankly 3 hours at a time became tedious for drop off/pick up so with my son we have a couple of full days and a half day)

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