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Idly curious: who do nursery hours / opening times suit?

(10 Posts)
BipBippadotta Tue 14-Feb-17 21:17:39

I'm expecting a baby soon and for various personal reasons I have left it quite late to think about nursery places for the autumn.

Not a single nursery near me has spaces available until late 2018. There are some further afield with spaces this year, but they either require babies to attend totally full-time (9-5 Mon-Fri), or mornings every weekday (9-12 Mon-Fri). No possibility of 3 full days, which is what I'm after.

The full-time spaces would be perfect if I had a job with normal office hours. But I'm puzzled by the morning-only sessions, and why so many nurseries offer this as the only option. Can they possibly have much take-up of this? Whose schedule does it suit to have only 3 hours between nursery drop-off and pick-up? Home-workers? SAHP who need some childcare so they can get things done / would like their dc to be in a sociable nursery environment a few hours a day? It just seems like a massive ballache: once you've got there and back and there again you really only have about 2 hours to do whatever it is you needed childcare for.

Are there parents out there for whom this is the perfect set-up? Or is this a convention that mainly works for nurseries (though I can't see how this would be the case either!)?

Letyoufly Tue 14-Feb-17 21:24:39

It helps to know definite numbers in a nursery- i.e. How many staff will be required at any given time. Maybe the three mornings is to free staff up in the afternoon for other age groups although admittedly it doesn't make a massive amount of sense to me. In the nursery I worked in years ago we required babies to be full time as it was a small room (6 babies, 2 staff) and we couldn't cater to demand of various part time requests. Once the child moved to a bigger room they were able to cater to part time places. Good luck finding somewhere lovely for your little one!

CactusFred Tue 14-Feb-17 21:26:43

The morning hours are usually for the free places at DS nursery.

And 9-5 would be no good either as that's too late start too early finish!

I think they're getting busier as they have to offer 30 hours free to working parents from Sept which is why getting a place might be difficult?

littleducks Tue 14-Feb-17 21:29:46

I have a nursery place for ds 3 days 8-6 when I work.

I was a sahm when I had my dd and she went just for mornings (though not 5 days). Nursery home for lunch then nap.other worked well.

Redkite10a Tue 14-Feb-17 21:31:05

Round here nurseries offer full days (8 until 6 ish), half days (8 until 1, 1 to 5) or school days (9 to 3). Dh used to work a compressed working week so had every Friday afternoon off and so DS only went in the morning, although it was obviously much longer than 3 hours.

I'm now on maternity leave with dc2 and we've started DS at preschool one morning a week, 9 to 12, to give me a break. I pick him up, give him lunch, and then he goes for his nap which lasts until 3 ish so there would be no point in paying for an afternoon session. Lots of 3 year old with 15 free hours go 5 mornings a week at his preschool. The people I know personally doing this are SAHP, like you I can't see a job it would work for. It also seems a bit off a nursery offering 3 hour mornings for a baby?

BipBippadotta Tue 14-Feb-17 21:31:48

Thanks! Yes, the full-time thing made economic sense to me but the mornings-only policy seems weird. I wonder whether this is a factor in why these particular nurseries still have spaces available when everyone else is booked up. Hm. Puzzling!

smilingsarahb Tue 14-Feb-17 21:33:32

It's the free hours thing, but before free hours and most women working there were play schools and school nursery classes. I think the 3 hours suits the children - Lots of youngsters have an afternoon nap. So they get up, do school run with older children, have 3 hours play and socialising and learning, come home for lunch, have their nap then pick the older one up from school. We all work now so the children have their nap at nursery instead.

BipBippadotta Tue 14-Feb-17 21:42:29

Whoops, x-posted with lots of people there. So seems half days work particularly well for younger siblings & where there's a parent / carer at home I suppose. And lots of nurseries offer slightly longer sessions than the places around me, which makes more sense.

The free hours don't kick in when they're tiny babies, so I wonder why this would be having so much pressure on baby places (though of course thinking about it, younger siblings get waiting list priority, so I guess if more free childcare means more older children in nursery, it may also mean more baby siblings hopping ahead of me in the queue).


chocoholic1234 Tue 14-Feb-17 21:52:33

They may have staff who work school hours, so work 9-12 in the baby room, then cover staff lunches (always a logistical nightmare to cover), then finish at 3pm in time to pick up their own children from school.

I can't believe the lack of childcare in your area, around here, most people start looking a few months before they intend to return to work. I would have thought you were early to start looking rather than late!

insertimaginativeusername Tue 14-Feb-17 22:03:22

The only children I know that do half days are picked up by grandparents, I assume parents work full time but can't afford/don't want big childcare bills and grandparents don't want to do early mornings. Win/win!

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