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I'm confused

(8 Posts)
cheekychops03 Wed 19-Jan-05 21:10:44

Hi there

My son will be 2 in a few weeks and I've been told that in my area, if I want any chance of getting him in to a decent nursery at 3, I need to get his name down pronto. The only thing is, I am totally confused. Where do I go for his nursery 'education'? Do I go to a private day nursery, a state school nursery, a private school nursery or a pre-school group. Are they all the same thing provided in different places and where do these nursery voucher things come in to play?????
I feel completely and utterly clueless. In a vain stab in the dark, I have made an appointment to go and look round the nursery of a local school with a half decent Ofsted report next month but I don't know what to ask about, what to look for.......someone please help me!!!

Laylasmum Wed 19-Jan-05 21:15:35

i think its really important to see how the place feels how are the children interacting with each other and the staff do they seem happy. the staff will be keen to show you there reports and lesson plans etc but keep an eye out for what sort of equipment they have and how varied it is what condition its in. personally i'm sending my dd to our local school nursey so that she should find it easier to make the transition into school!

SenoraPostrophe Wed 19-Jan-05 21:15:57

Csan't help with the ins and outs of the british system, but if you visit the nursery at a time when the kids are there, you'll know if it's right.

Things to ask about depends on what you think is important really. I asked about how much structured learning they did (because I don't think there should be too much at this age), and about what happens for lunch but that's all. There's nothing in particular I wish I'd asked either.

PrettyCandles Wed 19-Jan-05 21:17:44

Contact your local council. They will send you a list of accredited childcare providers as well as (if they're anything like mine) a guide on the sort of things you might want to look out for or ask when you visit the nursery.

The nursery I found for my ds (and now my dd, too) is a community nursery, ie a non-profit organisation, looks very grotty and run-down, but the staff are wonderful.

Do it as soon as possible - sounds crazy, but it's true.

PrettyCandles Wed 19-Jan-05 21:19:35

And when you do visit your shortlist, take your ds with you. You can learn a lot from how the staff and the other children react to you and him.

littlemissbossy Wed 19-Jan-05 21:25:35

Have you any idea which school you would like yor ds to go to? if you do, then see if they have a nursery attached to the school or, the nearest pre-school that is the normal 'feeder' for that school.
The only things that really count to be honest is if you feel it's right for him, are the children happy there, is it a friendly place that sort of thing. Oh and as SP already said, make sure you go on a normal morning/afternoon session to see the other children in action. Good luck

Fran1 Wed 19-Jan-05 21:26:16

Ok Basically Private day nurseries provide care from 7.30am and 6pm, sometimes offering half day sessions, but these are expensive and normally used by parents who work fulltime and need those hours. Within the care the nursery provides the curriculum which all children get at other pre-schools too.

Pre-schools can be attached to schools or privately run and open for half day sessions, say 9.30 - 12.30. No meals will be provided only snacks, and again the curriculum is provided. Some people like there children to go to the nursery attached to the school their children will end up at in the hope they will move on with the same friends etc and may give them higher chance of getting a place in the school if they have already attended the nursery.

The vouchers can be used at all types of nurseries.

And as you are doing the best thing is to visit all the ones you have in your area and go with your heart!

hth

Gobbledigook Wed 19-Jan-05 21:33:42

Fran1's outline is spot on. However, in our area (don't know about anywhere else) the school nursery sessions are very short, around 2 hours I think (usually 9.30 to 11.30 or 1-3ish) but if a normal state school it will cost you nothing.

A private day nursery, as Fran1 says, is a nursery generally used by parents who do full days at work. It is possible to get half days but this will be expensive (around here it's about £17-20 for a half day) although you can use your nursery vouchers to reduce the cost.

My ds goes to a private sessional pre-school - not attached to any school. It runs from 9-1pm and they get a snack (milk or water plus fruit) and then if you like they can have lunch there (a packed lunch that you provide) or they can leave at 12.15 without lunch (e.g. for younger kids as they take them from 2 to school age). A morning there is £12 (or £9ish if no lunch). Again, you can use your nursery vouchers to reduce the cost.

With regard to the vouchers - here at least, they are not actual vouchers you receive or anything. You are entitled to funding for 5 2.5 hour sessions per week for 11 weeks of each term (so for 33 weeks of the year). If you pay for your nursery, then this is just deducted from your bill so you will still be paying for the remainder of the time your child is in nursery. We fill out a form at the start of each term which the nursery head submits to the council and she receives all the funding which she then just deducts from our bill. We don't actually receive 'vouchers'.

HTH!!

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