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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

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 09:36:44

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.

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 09:43:24

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

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.

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?

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.

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

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

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

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

Thanks ghoul smile

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