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playgroup or state nursery?

(4 Posts)
sasa Sun 14-Dec-03 09:59:21

My son has been at playgroup since August and enjoying it but I have the chance of a place at state nursery when he turns three next month. I would like to accept this but am worried he is not mature enough in the social skills side. He is very sociable and would have no problems starting a new group as he adapts very easily to new environments but he still seems a bit unruly and it is still a problem getting him to co-operate at times. The class he would be joining only have five kids at the moment including one of his friends and if I leave it until next August there is every chance the class would be bigger (I think at max the class could have 20 kids) and because I live outwith the catchment area I am not necessarily guaranteed a place then. Should he stay or should he go? Do state nurseries differ greatly from playgroups and do they expect more from a child regarding behaviour and conformity? Could they "expel" him if they felt he was too disruptive?

kmg1 Sun 14-Dec-03 10:27:48

Sasa - the best thing would be to go along and have a look to see what the atmosphere is like. It differs a lot according to the local area policy. DS1 went to a state nursery, where there was no uniform, lots of freedom of choice about routine and play choices, virtually no schedule. i.e. for the first hour they were inside with free choice, for the second hour the doors were open and they could choose to play outside in the garden as well if they wanted.

DS2 went to a different state nursery class - there was a strict uniform, a very strict routine/schedule, a bit of choosing - but not much 'free choice', a lot of emphasis on behaviour, politeness, walking around school silently in single file, that sort of thing. A scheduled 30 min slot compulsory outside play. Also they did a lot of singing, PE, formal letter-learning, weekly library sessions, attending assemblies ... school sort of things. DS1 did none of these.

IME the less mature children actually do better in the second sort of class, where the rules are clear and strict, and they don't have to make choices and value judgements about behaviour. In theory I like the first class, in practice it was a dreadful place for ds1, who was emotionally very immature at this age, but academically very bright.

In the end though both have done/are doing exceptionally well at school, so I'm not sure the choice of class is that crucial anyway. So if I were you I would go and have a look, see which appeals most to you, and also which is practically most convenient for you too - location, timing of sessions, etc. Will he be at this nursery for 5 terms? Some playgroups allow older children to do a full day and stay for lunch, which is usually not possible at state nursery classes, and this may be helpful.


sasa Sun 14-Dec-03 12:32:56

thanx for reply. at present he attends playgroup 3 mornings a week but I usually drop him into a gym creche and a shoppers creche the other two mornings as he really needs the stimulation and company of other kids that I can't offer him at home. The nursery sessions are five afternoons a week which would be brilliant for him. I feel really inclined to put him to nursery but I think the playgroup leaders would disagree and say that his attention span was poor or something lke that but he is a bright wee thing, knows colours and numbers etc and loves playing on the computer, etc but yes perhaps I should go along and see what sort of environment it is.

mumeeee Tue 16-Dec-03 19:31:46

I work in a playgroup and am on a course to update my qualifications so that I can be a playgroup leader.
Playgroups now have to follow the same early learning guides that state nurseries do.So you will probably find a lot of the same things happening. Playgroups have to have a larger staff ratio to children. 1 adult to 8 children.
Talk to the playgroup leaders and ask what they do with the children. Everything in the foundation years (3 -5 ) is done a lot through play altough some state nurseries are more strict with routines. Could you son attend playgroup in the morning and go to nursery in the afternoon? I know a few children who do this

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