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Has anyone not used nursery to pre-school before reception?

(19 Posts)
eurochick Sat 06-May-17 23:23:57

Out daughter is very settled with her nanny. She goes to lots of toddler groups and activities. Do you think not attending nursery or pre-school before reception is a problem? Has anyone done this? How did they find Reception?

AgentOprah Sat 06-May-17 23:33:05

I don't know that it would be a problem, but it seems a shame to stop a child from having that experience. Something like 99% of children take up their free entitlement and ime there are very few 4 year olds at toddler groups.

Strikhedonia Sun 07-May-17 07:28:30

I am sure some children go directly to school, but I wouldn't have done it for any of mine. They are in classes of 30, with 2 adults at most, so you can imagine how little one-to-one they have. Nursery is a good transition, with smaller groups, but still plenty of adult attention. It's a good transition and they get to experience school diner (or pack lunch), older kids, to follow a school routine, PE sessions in some nurseries. For example, I have never seen a nanny or even a childminder letting a child go to a "public" toilets alone (in toddlers group) - which is great, but it doesn't hurt to practice in the nursery.
I think it makes starting school less of an issue.

Ecureuil Sun 07-May-17 07:31:19

Mine is 3 and already quite a lot older than the other children at toddler groups (she's at pre school 3 days a week but I have a 1 year old too so we go to toddler groups on the other days). I found she was getting bored at groups and needed a bit more in terms of learning and structure.
I'm sure she'd be fine but like a PP I do think it would be a shame for her to miss out on pre school. Mine absolutely loves it. Could she just do 2 mornings a week or something?

PandasRock Sun 07-May-17 07:38:23

I did it with ds.

He is summer born, and just wasn't ready for preschool. He stayed at home, we had a nanny 3 days a week, he got loads of experience and preparation.

He does have ASD, very high functioning, and he would not have coped with the social side at all when younger.

Having that extra year at home meant we (his nanny and I) could do a lot of groundwork on the social side at a pace he could cope with.

He didn't really go to groups, but did have a lot of outings. Whenever there was a social side, he got full 1:1 support, which he needed at that time.

He started reception last September, and has been absolutely fine. A bit quiet and shy for the first term, but nothing extreme for a very young 4 year old starting school.

He is at an independent school, so only 18 in the class (with full time TA plus teacher) which does also help.

famousfour Sun 07-May-17 07:46:45

I haven't done that - probably few do given the free hours. Personally I doubt it's necessary to go to pre-school but might have benefits in terms of a gentle introduction to group learning / activities etc. My daughter has an excellent nanny who does loads of trips etc and home learning but I will put her in pre-school for 3 hours 3x per week as I think she would enjoy it and she will be almost five by the time she starts school. It's pre-school though rather than day care iyswim.

Xmasbaby11 Sun 07-May-17 07:51:37

I think it's important for the children to get used to being in a big group with lower ratios, and following instructions.

As pp says, they aren't so many 4 year olds at play groups and activities. My dd is 3.3 and she's often the oldest there.

You don't need to use all the free hours in most places. I'd get the nanny to take her to pre school at least 2 mornings a week.

NataliaOsipova Sun 07-May-17 07:57:09

ime there are very few 4 year olds at toddler groups.

This is your problem. When your daughter gets to 3/4, all the children her age will be at preschool and the toddler groups will be full of, well, toddlers. My DC had quite an aversion to doing things which were "for babies" (ie anything where they were with only much younger children), so I suspect that she simply won't enjoy any of these groups anymore in a year or so.

The other thing about preschool is that it gets them used to an institutional environment. I'm a SAHM so, like your DD, mine had only ever had one to one care at home. Preschool means they are in an environment where they aren't the centre of attention and where they have to function within a group. They also learn to deal with children that they don't like or find difficult. I suspect that, if you are working anything like full time, you'd need the nanny anyway, as preschool for us was 9-12. She would still have the "settled with nanny" experience even if the nanny took her and collected her a couple of mornings a week.

I honestly think school - and Reception is "proper" school, if that makes sense, would be a heck of a shock to a child who had only ever been in a one to one environment. To some degree, because almost every other child will have been to preschool or similar, Reception teachers just aren't expecting to have to make allowances for that when the children join.

ShowOfHands Sun 07-May-17 08:01:36

I did it this way. And my dd was at home with me, no toddler groups.

She settled into school perfectly, no tears or worries and she thrived. Her brother went to preschool and struggled with settling into school, crying every day for a term.

It depends on the child.

OhDearToby Sun 07-May-17 08:05:16

I think it could cause problems. At nursery they learn independence, following instructions from a teacher, socialisation skills etc. Even just simple things like how school toilets work can be very daunting if you've never experienced it. In my experience they all adore it too, a good nursery is a really fun place to be!

At 4 years old they aren't toddlers so taking them to toddler groups isn't going to gain much really.

loverlybunchofcoconuts Sun 07-May-17 08:08:13

I think she needs to experience bigger groups, with other noisy children her own age, not be always with a nanny, and, as she gets older, with much smaller children. She is likely to be quite shocked by being left in a loud classroom of 4-5 year olds, and a playground of up to 11 year olds charging around, if she's never been out of the sight of either her mum or nanny.
My friends DD didn't do preschool, and once at school tried to hang around the teacher all the time, I think because it felt wrong to be sitting at a table with random kids, when she'd always had an adult watching her on a 1:1 basis.
I think it would be a lot kinder to send her to a nice pre school to prepare her for school - people talk a lot about what they will learn, and while that may also be useful in making sure she's on a par with other DCs, I think the social side is far more important.

RedStripeIassie Sun 07-May-17 08:19:38

Dd went from never having anyone look after her (no childminders, no nursery and no family nearby to help) except me and sometimes her dad to going into a pre school with 30 children per class last September. She was three and a bit.

It was a bit of a shock for her and she's struggled so with hindsight (and money for childcare) I'd have paid for her to go to nursery or even a childminder with exposure to other kids earlier for just a couple of mornings a week.

She's almost 4 now and is in a much smaller preschool and is getting the support she needs.

insancerre Sun 07-May-17 08:24:54

I work in a pre school and work very closely with the reception teacher
She says it's always easy to tell the children who have never been to nursery because they need more support
Obviously there are always exceptions but the children that have experience of being independent in a bigger group are going to find the transition to school easier than those who haven't had that experience

AgentOprah Sun 07-May-17 11:22:03

Reception teachers just aren't expecting to have to make allowances for that when the children join.
I think this is also worth noting. In have taught preschool and reception. In R I wouldn't expect to explicitly teach lining up, walking in a line, fetching your own coat and bag from a peg, going to the toilet alone, sitting cross legged on the carpet, raising hands etc whereas in preschool we do spend a lot of time developing those skills. They might sound like quite minor things but they are pretty different expectations from being at home or toddler group. Similarly playing/working alone or with other children and not trying to monopolise the adults' time and attention is often a big change from home.

jannier Mon 08-May-17 14:31:38


The reason you have never seen a childminder allow a child to go to a public toilet on their own is safeguarding we are not allowed to let the child out of sight and or hearing and we don't know who is in the public toilet and their intentions. What we do is allow the child to go into the cubical and self toilet wash own hands and dry them without instruction just observing. In my experience this is something most 1 to 1 carers like parents/ grannies don't do.

jannier Mon 08-May-17 14:34:21

Op I think it depends on your nanny if she is concentrating on school readiness.....self dressing, self toileting, finding own name sitting in groups like at story time and listening as well as lots of chances to separate from her and seek help from other adults then its not as important ....if your child is confident and happy....if they are clingy when left I would think about sending her somewhere that has a larger group and less one to one.

Strikhedonia Mon 08-May-17 14:35:27


I didn't mean it as a negative at all!
I just saw the difference between nurseries when the kids go completely on their own, which is what happens at schools. By definition a nursery/ preschool is much closer to a school set up, which is why I think it's good for a child to spend at least a couple of half days a week before starting school.

redcaryellowcar Mon 08-May-17 14:36:40

You know your child best, so you are best placed to make that decision. If I were in your shoes I would go to visit a few as you may find they are not what you are expecting. You could also just do two or three mornings at some nurseries, it's not an all or nothing thing.

jannier Mon 08-May-17 19:01:58


The thing is your not seeing how a cm works at home where children will go on their my home they all put on and do up own shoes and coats with most achieving this at around 2 and zips and buttons by around 28 months...they all self serve drinks and drink from open cups even the under 2's from a pump water dispenser...the all not only pick out their name from 20 name cards but can all write their name before starting school nursery, They recognise their numbers up to 10 and more some can double numbers up to 10 and know their number bonds (trough play not flash cards) which exceeds school readiness. they all socialise with up to 20 children regularly and will seek help from 4 other familiar adults (we attend groups and man areas between us to replicate a nursery setting every morning) then go home for small group work. My 3 year olds will stand and sing to 20 plus children and their 15 plus adults and they start to request their favourite song at song time much younger. They know basic sign along too. There is nothing that they don't get from me they could get at nursery. I have so much equipment I loan out items from the basic threading to dark dens bubble tubes and projectors. All children are enrolled in the traffic club and we go out and practice every day. But at toddler groups I step back and observe what they are doing and allow them to distance from me.

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