DD is 14mo. DH & i currently share care of her, both working 3 days a week and looking after DD 3 days a week. I am thinking of going back to work an extra day and putting DD into some form of childcare, but I don't know what is best, a childminder or a nursery. Can someone talk me through the pro's and cons or each? I only want one day and want to be quite specific about which day it is due to DH's and my working hours.
The other thing is, I don't really understand the difference between nursery and playgroup and preschool. When DD turns 3 and we get vouchers how does that work, if she was in a nursery would I have to move her. Also, I remember reading a thread on here ages ago about a mum complaining about her childminder who wanted to use the free sessions herself, i.e. the mum still paid the childminder while the childminder got the session free from the child. Is that the norm? Sorry, I should probably have put this in the CM topic, but I'll see what responses I get here. Thanks
If you use a cm then they will offer more flexible hours and you will pay for your agreed hours only i.e 9am-4pm. A nursery will charge for a standard space i.e 8am-6pm regardless if you use the space or not. cm will still charge while your 3yr old is at nursery withen their minded hourd because we are needed for that child and would not be able to fill the space while mindee was at nursery iyswim. Both will give as good care as each other, so it is what suits your family, although you will have more input in your childs care with a child minder. As its more intimate home from home type of thing and most cms I know view mindees as one of family whilst there and have a strong relationship with their mindees. Playgroups and pre-schools are usually paid for and give children social time with other kids (and mums a break) Nursery is availsble for three to fives and is funded by government (not really childcare)and sometimes linked to a school. Daycare (nursery for 3mths plus) Cms will provide all the same educational requirments and record keeping as daycare.
If you plan to use the vouchers than not many childminders qualify for them so you would have to move then to a nursery in order to utilise them.
Personally, I'd go with a nursery. There is always cover for holidays and sickness, there is a good range of activities, plenty of other children the same age etc. Also nurseries offer security in that you wont lose the place by using using them one day whereas a childminder can terminate if a better financial mindee comes along - ie a full timer etc.
I use a childminder 2 days a week as I prefer the more homelike setting that narkymum describes. She has also been v flexible as she has spaces atm which means she has been able to do extra days for me when I am working on days outside my regular ones.
I will reconsider childcare when DS turns 3, as it may be cheaper for me to put him into a day nursery and use the vouchers. If he was with CM I would still have to pay for the 2.5 hrs that he was at the pre-school session - which is reasonable as they will prob be doing pickup/drop-off and also because they cannot take on another mindee for that time.
I knew that I wanted to use a CM (as that is what I was used to as a child), but you really have to look around at nurseries and different CMs to get an idea of what they offer and what works for you.