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Montessori nursery vs childminder

(19 Posts)
Guitargirl Tue 05-Jun-07 20:50:47

Am after some advice re childcare please.

I will be going back to work in September when DD will be 8 months. If my work accept my flexible working request (here's hoping...) then we will be needing childcare for 3 mornings a week.

Am torn between sending DD to a Montessori nursery or to a childminder's. The nursery does look lovely and I don't think it can be beaten as a nursery really BUT it is very expensive and I also quite like the idea of 1-1 more personal contact that a childminder could provide. Was then thinking about a CM to start with and then maybe the nursery next year when DD is a bit older and better able to interact with the other children. Any advice?

twinniemum Tue 05-Jun-07 21:02:17

I think it depends on each person, I know I would prefer Montessori Nursery. They are two completely different choices of childcare. Are you sure you dont really know what you'd prefer? Have you met a childminder that you would use? I'd meet nursery and childminder along with dd and you will know which one to choose.

beansprout Tue 05-Jun-07 21:04:31

I think that children under 2 tend to do better in a home environment. Ds started with a CM when he was 11 months, and she is basically his other adult. They go to play group but he can just sit on her lap if he needs to (and he needed to at first).

Once they are past the age of 2, they benefit more from what a nursery has to offer.

MadamePlatypus Tue 05-Jun-07 21:09:05

DS goes to a Montessori pre-school (he is 3). I am not sure how Montessori would work for a baby - how would it be different to a normal nursery? I think Montessori is great, but I almost think that a baby would get more of a Montessori start at a CM where they were in a home and got 1 to 1 attention than at a nursery, even if it was Montessori.

Before going to Montessori pre-school, DS went to a 'day-care' nursery - very good, staff well trained but not Montessori. My instinct with DD now would be to use a CM. The reason is that for me the big down side of nursery was the turnover of staff.

At the end of the day though, you have to go with your gut instinct and accept that any choice will have negatives as well as positives. (And that you can always change your mind).

moodlesoup Tue 05-Jun-07 21:12:19

i think it really depends on your baby and her personality. mine loves being with other children, and so i think nursery is the best option for her, rather than one to one. so far, nursery has only made her more confident and sociable. but different babies, different reactions and needs. i'm with gut instinct! good luck deciding.

Guitargirl Tue 05-Jun-07 21:13:23

Twinniemum - yes, they are very different choices aren't they?

I have been to look at a few local nurseries and the only one I liked was the one that happened to be Montessori (not sure if it's because of the philosophy but the staff seemed kinder). I haven't been to visit any childminders yet. In a way the nursery seems the better option because it seems as though what you see is what you get whereas a CM is a bit of an unknown, some are fab and some not so. I think deep down though am edging towards searching for a fab one, basically for the reasons beansprout mentioned - home environment.

Twinniemum - why would you prefer Montessori?

twinniemum Tue 05-Jun-07 21:20:51

I once worked within nurseries, one which was Montessori. I really like their philosophy, and although being in a home environment can be good I prefered my children to be able to experience more than they would at home - after all when they are not in childcare they are at home, Particulary when it is only for 3 mornings.
Hope I have explained well enough!

twinniemum Tue 05-Jun-07 21:22:12

What I would definately say is visit the 2 prospective settings with dd, it will most def help with your decision.

Guitargirl Tue 05-Jun-07 21:25:00

Thanks and thanks to everyone for advice!

Yes, I should go and visit both with DD. Keep putting the whole thing off tbh as I don't really want to go back to work at all [sigh].

weepootleflump Tue 05-Jun-07 21:29:43

Does the childminder you have in mind not have any other mindees?

It makes me when people say they prefer childminders because they get 1-1 care, if the childminder has 3 or 4 other mindees it's hardly 1 on 1 is it?

If you can afford the Montessori I'd go for it, I've always wanted to send dd to one but never had any within a reasonable distance.

Guitargirl Tue 05-Jun-07 21:37:11

The 2 CMs have spoken to over the phone only look after 1 child at a time, I don't know if that's all they're registered for? Didn't ask any more questions as they both live a bit far away.

hifi Tue 05-Jun-07 21:54:09

my daughter attends montessori, the youngest there is 2.5, are you sure they will take them at 8 mths? also in a class of 11 there are 4 teachers. my dd loves it.

Guitargirl Tue 05-Jun-07 21:57:41

The age range is 3 months to 5 years.

tkband3 Tue 05-Jun-07 22:28:48

My DD1 went to a Montessori daycare nursery from 9 months and both she and I absolutely loved it. The staff were wonderfully caring and she had no problems settling in at all. She stayed there until we moved out of the area and I cried when she left (as did her teachers!). She didn't really understand what was going on (she was 2.6 at the time). But I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it - well certainly the one we went to anyway (in East London).

The Montessori education doesn't really kick in till the children are pre-schoolers, but the principles are applied from very early on. In the baby room there was always 1 staff member to 3 babies, same in the next room (15 mths ish to 2ish) then I think it changed to 1 staff member to 4 children.

lilyfire Tue 05-Jun-07 22:39:40

I really struggled with this choice. I have a 3 1/2 yo ds whom I sent to nursery from 9 months, 2 days a week. He's fine and I think it probably improved his social skills in some ways, but I don't think it was the best choice for him overall. His nursery was good in lots of ways, but had a high turnover of staff which he found v hard. I think I also didn't have the confidence as a first time mum to choose a childminder, because it seemed like putting so much faith in one person. I think he found it stressful not having one particular person that he could attach to and know that they would be responsible for him during the time that I was away. I now have a 10 mo DS and am going to put both boys with a CM in 3 months time when I go back to work 2 days a week. It feels like the right decision, because CM goes to playgroup every morning so they'll get socialising and stimulation, but the security that I think small children need. If you google Penelope Leach's research on the best way for small children to be cared for, she says childminders are better than nurseries for v small ones (can't remember but think maybe under 2 or 2 1/2) - think they even come out better than gps. I know in the years I was sending DS1 to nursery there always seemed to be lots of research in papers saying CM better than nurseries - so went through lots of guilt (although think most of studies were nursery care for longer than 3 mornings a week). That said, I guess you have to find the right CM which seems to be tough.
Whatever you choose, good luck.

MadamePlatypus Thu 07-Jun-07 08:34:29

I agree Lillyfire. It seemed a bit daunting to find a childminder when I was looking for childcare for DS - atleast with a nursery lots of other parents have chosen it too!

However, thinking about it, I don't think its so much 1-1 care you get at a childminder, but consitency of carer. With DS he would change rooms every 6 months or so, and although the room leader would stay the same for the 6 months, there was alot of coming and going with the other staff, and the other children were always moving on to the next room.

I suppose atleast that means that you never get stuck with a really bad nursery worker, however, on balance I think next time I would be more confident about finding a good CM.

Having said, that, I think a big factor is that Guitargirl is only looking for care 3 mornings a week, so thats not really the same as being in nursery for a full day like DS was.

LittleMissMuffett Sun 12-Aug-07 04:54:37

Message to: Guitargirl

My child is starting a Montessori soon, after being in childcare. Montessori schools are pretty good in the sence the kids learn social skills inc. curriculm subjects like French, Maths and English. It is expensive, but you can ask your employer to give you childcare vouchers, which are provided to employees before tax, and there is a great saving on your tax benefit. If you are married then your partner can apply for them. The current amount is £243 for each person a month. type

alipiggie Sun 12-Aug-07 05:24:34

Both my boys have been in a Montessori pre-school. These schools educate the "whole child" giving them not only social skills but teaching them about the world around them. Respect for each other is also key. They become very independent and socially adapt. I believe in the phisophy so much that I seriously considered undertaking the teacher training until my own personal circumstances changed.

I cannot recommend Montessori enough .

Good luck with your choice.

Guitargirl Sun 12-Aug-07 08:41:47

Just as an update: I have now found a lovely childminder and DD starts with her in a month when I go back to work .

We've decided to try nursery when she's a bit older. Thanks to everyone for their input!

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