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childminder vs nursery views in particular from those who have used both

(9 Posts)
Pavlovthecat Sun 25-Sep-11 08:58:51

I know this has been done to death but, can all you parents with children in both types of childcare give me your views? Are there any of you who have swapped from one to the other, which did you prefer?

DD now 5 was in nursery, was more convenient for us and we struggled to find a good childminder who was local to us and she went to a fantastic nursery near my work. She is a very independent child, always has been and eager to learn so enjoyed the 'school' type environment of this. So, I guess with DS, I never considered anything other than nursery.

DS is due to start nursery/pre-school aged 2, in Jan, the one attached to DDs school. it is a lovely small nursery, friendly, happy, good ofsted reports. No concerns with this. There is wrap around care in term time only, 9-3 hours, the children can use the school before/after school care if needed (DDs private nursery was open 8-6). It is significantly cheaper than DDs nursery too.

However, DH is about to start a new job, so he will no longer be doing childcare before Jan as planned. I have found a lovely childminder who is going on maternity leave in Dec, for a short time, and this works perfectly for us and her, she will be able to drop DD at school (her children go to same school) and collect afterwards if needed, will be happy to do this at short notice if needed (ie that morning). She is also available to just do school holiday cover when DS goes to nursery (for both the children), and has said that if DS does not get on well at nursery she will look after him once she returns to work (after around 6-8 weeks max).

So, it has got me thinking. Why am I sending DS to nursery and not just keeping him with a childminder, providing of course he likes her. In this instance, it is just as convenient to use her services before/after school as it is the school care provision, it is the same cost (couple of pounds difference). DS is less independent/suffers more from SA than DD ever did, but also the nursery is small and more able to accommodate, but so is childminder.

So, all views of both options are welcome!

Michiem Sun 25-Sep-11 09:41:12

My DD Has just started nursery (4 in dec) and I was adamant that she would go to a Childminder until she started nursery at the local school. My childminders (2 since I returned to work) have been amazing and I truly believe that they have helped her confidence and social skills. I did work experience at a church nursery and a commercial nursery while at school which is why I'm anti- nursery as I saw the other side. I absolutely understand other peoples opinions towards nurseries but for me finding excellent childminders is the first step.

DirtyDawg Sun 25-Sep-11 10:44:07

My DS has been with a CM since he was 9 mo but I now feel it's time for him in interact with other children as my CM has only ever had 3 children at a time, he's going to a montersorri nursery which is on the way to work and looks fab, also has outstanding Ofsted reports.

I didn't want him to go to a nursery before now because the nurseries I visited just had the babies in one room, I wanted DS to go out and about and thought the CM home environment was good for him.

Now I want him to start getting used to other children so he'll be ready for school, when that finally happens HTH smile

Pavlovthecat Sun 25-Sep-11 12:03:39

dirtydawg how old is your DS now? DD went to nursery at 10months, and possibly a CM would have been good for her. However we have not needed to put DS into any form of childcare before now.

We had initially felt he would go in Jan whether we 'needed' him to or not, as it would be good for him to interact with other children. They do not have a 'baby room' as they take children from 2 onwards and they all get involved with all the activities, including Forest School a couple of hours a week. CM currently only has DS due to imminent maternity leave, but will have more children on her return, but not as many as nursery. However, maybe DS would benefit from CM first to integrate him with other children.

DirtyDawg Sun 25-Sep-11 12:22:32

DS is 18 mo now, but it's whatever you feel really, I just thought the babies looked unhappy (I'm sure they didn't care one jot though grin)

DS is at an age now, where he loves other kids so nursery it is, I'm glad I did the CM thing though smile

mamadoc Mon 26-Sep-11 21:15:48

I am of the opinion that CM is much better for babies and young toddlers but at 2 it is a harder decision to make as they will just be starting to get something from the company of peers by then. DD had a CM until she was eligible for the free nursery hours the term after she was 3 and by then she was a bit bored with the CM and ready for nursery. Not sure what I would do at age 2 though.

ChildrenAtHeart Mon 26-Sep-11 21:33:47

I am a Childminder so a bit biased lol but I am also a parent who has used a day nursery, pre-school & childminder for my own children.

As your lo is only 2 and struggling with SA a bit I would stick with the childminder if you can. He will benefit from the close family environment and personal attention and will find it less disruptive overall. If she is a good childminder he will also gain plenty of experience in larger social settings such as toddler groups & childminder drop-ins which will help to develop his confidence, social skills & ability to separate. Once he is 3 or 4 (depending on if he is an Autumn/winter or summer baby) I would consider doing 2 or 3 sessions at the nursery as I think the more structured environment you tend to find there is good at supporting children preparing for starting school (i'm not saying the structured thing is good btw as I believe in self directed play, but sadly unless our schools change too...), but don't feel pressured into doing this or increasing the hours as childminders are very skilled at supporting children in this too and we all follow the same curriculum as nurseries & pre-schools anyway.

Good luck in whatever you choose.

Pavlovthecat Mon 26-Sep-11 22:06:44

children thank you for that post in particular, and others who have posted too. The childminder appears very involved, she does specific activities with her mindees in the day, seems very structured in what she does and follows the birth to three matters (is that what it is called?) structure to ensure they are stimulated properly. Has her home properly catered for in terms of her mindees, not just her home, but organised to be a caring environment.

Dh agrees we will see how the next 6 weeks go and consider our options. She might not be ready to return to work as quickly as she thinks after ML so we can't rely on her, but it is good to think of different options as he is a ver different child to DD.

ChildrenAtHeart Mon 26-Sep-11 22:57:09

Glad to have helped. I think you have a sound plan there. As you say, she may not be ready as there can be complications, but she does sound lovely.
By the by, it should be the Early Years Foundation Stage she is following as this replaced the Foundation Stage & Birth to Three Matters in 2007 (& is due to be replaced/updated again next year...) but for the under 3's it is very similar to Birth to three & all early years settings have to follow it by law, unlike Birth to Three which was just guidance.
You don't need this information, but I wanted to share it lol.

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