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Nursey vs childminder

(25 Posts)
Bumperlicious Wed 03-Sep-08 08:56:13

Sorry, don't know where to put this so sticking it here.

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?

Bumperlicious Wed 03-Sep-08 08:56:45

D'oh! Title should read nursery [idiot]

RubySlippers Wed 03-Sep-08 09:00:28

i have used a nursery for DS for 18 months but i think the essential rule applies to a childminder too and that is - find the childcare you and your DD are happiest with

At DS's nursery (when he turns 3) you can use your free sessions so i assume this is the same for a lot of other nurseries

cockles Wed 03-Sep-08 09:04:25

I think a childminder would be easier to settle with if it's only one day a week. Tho depends very much on your LO. Our nursery has two days a week as a minimum I think.

WideWebWitch Wed 03-Sep-08 09:08:47

I went for nursery and can tell you why:

lots of other children
HUGE garden
lots of workers so if one was sick, it didn't matter, nursery was still open
we found a truly wonderful nursery, in the woods, with excellent ofsted etc
nursery is more expensive than a childminder though.

The way vouchers worked at our nursery were twofold: the govt paid for sessions ones the nursery reimbursed us so we got a cheque for £240 odd now and again and the childcare vouchers from your salary (salary sacrifice scheme) work by making a payment direct from your employer, via a third party, to the provider. This means the provider is paid BEFORE you have paid tax on it, thus saving you the tax on it. You then pay the provider the rest.

Bumperlicious Wed 03-Sep-08 10:02:13

One thing that a friend said to me was the thing about a CM is that you can build up a relationship and later when LO goes to school they are there for wrap around care. Has that figured in anyone else's decision?

anniemac Wed 03-Sep-08 13:41:31

Message withdrawn

anniemac Wed 03-Sep-08 13:44:15

Message withdrawn

ellideb Wed 03-Sep-08 13:50:31

As a Childminder myself I wiil give you my perspective:

For young children I believe a Childminder is better for the following reasons:

1. More individual care as the CM cannot have more than 6 children in total, some much less due to the size of their home or personal preferences.

2. Home from home environment so it is more cosy and familiar.

3. More 'personal' than a nursery which has lots of other families and childrens needs to accomodate.

4. Your child will be taken on outings regulary such as to the shops, walks, playground, park, beach, mother and toddler groups, library etc.

5. Possibly able to cater for more individual needs and take on the parents individual preferences.

6. As safe as can be as CMers, like nurseries, are regularly inspected and are first aid trained.

6. No changes of carer. Just one consistent carer so your child can build up a close relationship with that carer.

kerryk Wed 03-Sep-08 14:43:08

my opinion based on my own children at that age would be nursery one day a week. that way they would be mixing with so many children and hopefully doing loads of messy play that i would not provide at home.

also if a member of staff was ill it is up to the nursery to provide cover, if your childminder was ill you would have to find someone.

Sidge Wed 03-Sep-08 15:00:06

I have used both CMs and nursery, and now prefer using a nursery. For me it's more reliable as I don't have to worry about my childcare being unavailable due to sickness, holiday etc (I don't have the sort of job where I can take time off at short notice, or anyone I can call on to help out).

We use a wonderful nursery, the children are so well cared for, they do loads of activities, spend a lot of time in the garden and go for walks, on trips, and they get 3 meals a day freshly cooked on site. There is a low turnover of staff and the cost is very reasonable (£140 for a full time place).

AlexanderPandasmum Sat 06-Sep-08 09:18:55

I would also say nursery (if you can get 1 day per week) because your baby sounds like she has plenty of time with her parents who give her the home environment and going to shops etc. Maybe the nursery will provide something different (mixing with other children and lots of messy play, etc).

I know what others are saying about her maybe not settling 1 day a week but then the same could be said of using a childminder.

My DS uses a nursery 3 days a week (I work PT and have no family close by to watch him in an emergency, so needed the reliability of nursery) and he enjoys it (although I'm sure obviously he'd prefer being at home with mummy). He is 18 months but has been going since 10 months.

giddybiddy Sat 06-Sep-08 11:21:12

I also would go for nursery for the following reasons.
All the activities are done on site while a childminder might drive your child to local activities and I would worry about that. Also, there will be a key worker for your child so they will have consistency, but there will not be illness issues. What happens when the childminder gets ill?
A child minder will have a range of children up to school age and after school may also have school age children, while a nursery a child will be with their peers.
A good nursery will constantly be reviewing their procedures, training their staff and ensuring your child has the best possible care.

The most important thing is feeling really happy with your choice though,otherwise you will worry. Why don't you go and visit both?

jvs Sat 06-Sep-08 11:35:13

ds goes to both, childminder is a friend so the decision to use her was easy, ds loves going,loves her and has 100% one on one attention. The down side is that he does not mix with other children.
At nursery he gets less adult attention but is learning to share and play etc. The down side is he gets every bug gong and is sick more often (that said he will have to go through that when he starts school anyway).
He started pre school at 2 1/2, both child minder and nursery pick him up from there (i drop him off) basically from age three pre school is slightly more structured childcare that is free.
If she is only going once a week she ight find a child minder easier to settle into, ds did not really enjoy nursery until he was going more than once a week and got used to all the routines etc.
Good luck finding somewhere!

KT12 Sat 06-Sep-08 11:46:05

I have had a very bad experience with a CM and found another to be completely inflexible. CM are often the only adult around so with a small child who can not tell you what has actually happened in a day, you have to be able to absolutely trust the CM. CM also often have children of their own. In my situation the daughter was about 10 and completely intimated my little one. I found a fantastic flexible nursery where there have not been staff turn over problems so good relationships have been built. The children also go on lots of outings and have firemen/women, police and other folk in the community visit. I have been very happy with the nursery. They have been very flexible about our needs and we put in monthly requests to the days we need each month as long as we book one day a week. It's really just a stroke of luck whether you find a nursery or a CM better or more suitable in your area. In my case it has definitely been a nursery.

pudding25 Sat 06-Sep-08 20:34:54

I am in the process of sorting out childcare for dd who will be 8mths when I go back in Jan. I am in N London and have been told that minimum for nursery is 2 sessions, ie 1 day or 2 mornings.

I have decided to go with a nursery for the following reasons:

DD will be in a baby room with activities geared towards babies.
She will have one person looking after her and 2 other babies.
She will have a key worker.
There are loads of other members of staff around if there is a problem or someone is sick.
The nursery can stick to my routines if I want.
She will mix with lots of other children.
There is an outdoor area for her to get fresh air and outdoor activities.

What put me off her going to a cm was:
If there is a problem, there is only one adult around.
There will be children of all different ages. DD might not get activities geared at her. CM might not be able to stick to dd's routines if she has to do school pick-ups/drop offs
If CM is sick or on holiday, I am stuck.

I just really don't like the idea of her being in a house with only one adult who I don't know (no offence to CMs as I am sure there are tons of good ones).

Saying that, I hope I can get a place at the one I want for Jan.

KT12 Sun 07-Sep-08 08:18:08

Also want to make the point that the comments about a CM being able to give more individual attention is not quite true as CM follow the same ratios as nurseries and it is rare that a CM will only take one child at a time as at on ave £3.50 per hour, it is hardly worth it.

Scarfmaker Sun 07-Sep-08 16:52:50


Just like to say all the points you pointed out applying to nursery would apply to me also (registered childminder).

Hope this helps.

PavlovtheCat Sun 07-Sep-08 16:58:13

DD did one day a week until last month when she went up to 2 - at nursery.

We made this decision as we could not rely on a childminder for sickness, holidays, personal crisis etc.

We liked the fact that she socialised with others her age (although this would happen at a childminders potentially) and that it was in an environment that was not trying to 'replace' home.

I like the structure and that she has several carers that she knows, although one that is 'her' carer.

I found it easy to add another day, and they are flexible with me chopping and changing hours as I need.

Firepile Sun 07-Sep-08 17:07:25

Our childminder is excellent, and I would recommend a good CM over a good (or mediocre) nursery. Our CM never drives with mindees, takes them to a variety of local playparks and museums, does painting and other educational activities. I'd absolutely trust her judegement over that of the wee lassies we met staffing the baby rooms in the dispiriting nursery vists we made while looking for childcare.

I think it's great for my child to have a strong - and consistent - relationship with a single carer, and with his fellow mindees (and the CM's two older daughters, who are just brilliant). She's also more flexible with times and days than a nursery would be, and much better able to focus on the individual needs of the kids she looks after.

DontCallMeBaby Sun 07-Sep-08 17:17:21

Hi Bumper. I have a little experience with both nursery and childminder, but much more with the former. We opted for a nursery mainly because we had no personal recommendations for a childminder, and I wasn't prepared to leave DD in someone's home with no oversight.

Having used a friend's childminder to fill in some gaps when DD was a little older, I saw a few other advantages of nursery, mainly not relying on a single person to provide care. The childminder had some health and personal problems which left my friend in the lurch on occasion, plus having a school-age DS she took leave in school holidays, hence my friend had to do the same before she actually needed to (ie when her DD started school).

On the plus side, now that my friend's DD is at school, the childminder does some of the school runs, leaving my friend better able to work (she has two younger DCs, and the school/nursery combo seems like a nightmare).

Contrary to Pavlov's experience, nursery has been very inflexible for us, as they are extremely popular and the only way you get an extra session temporarily is if someone has taken their child out to go on holiday, and to change permanently takes months of notice. The childminder was far more flexible, taking DD when I went on courses and couldn't get a session at nursery.

The big advantage of having been to nursery (and this would be the same if a child was with a childminder but also a more conventional preschool setting) is that DD has acquired lots of essential skills for school - not reading and writing, but sitting still, listening, lining up, taking turns, asking to go to the loo, etc.

Finally - vouchers. You don't get them, the preschool setting (nursery, childminder, preschool) gets the funding. They kick in the term after DD turns 3 - she's a summer baby, isn't she, so it'll be September 2010? You declare what settings she is in, and depending on that the nursery/childminder would either get the full amount (two session's worth, if she was just in for a day) or it would be split with the other setting(s). Oh, and don't forget work do salary sacrifice for childcare, will save you a bit of money.

<retires exhausted after writing essay>

KT12 Sun 07-Sep-08 17:22:39

Firepile, re your last comment, I found quite the opposite. An inflexible cm who was unable to meet my child's individual needs, but a nursery who was. Like I said before, the childcare you choose depends entirely on what there is available in your area and what suits may well be a cm or a nursery.

Firepile Sun 07-Sep-08 17:34:19

A bit of a tangent this - but does anybody else find the rush to institutionalise our kids - advantages outlines by DCMB - a bit sinister?

This is not an attack on DCMB, btw. A lot of parents seem to find this stuff important. TBH it was a very extreme version of this that really put me off nurseries - the idea that my ds would be in a "nursery routine" at just 18 months old (and from very young indeed if I'd chosen childcare then).

Plenty of time to learn to be a compliant cog in the machine later, I thought. The idea of crushing children into boxes at such a young age made me shudder...

DontCallMeBaby Sun 07-Sep-08 19:41:43

Nobody else think I'm sinister then? I've been on tenterhooks.

AlexanderPandasmum Mon 08-Sep-08 23:42:57

Well I don't...but then again I've had to put ds in nursery (P/T) since he was 10 months. They might have a routine of sorts, but I don't think it involves crushing him into a box or anything like thatwink. If it did I might have to inform Ofsted.

I often read on MN about people 'shuddering' (or similar) at something which I have chosen to do, which can be quite upsetting given that I would love to stay at home with ds but haven't got the option really given the financial situation sad. Oh and please don't start saying that we can cut down etc - we have already got a mortgage in negative equity and in the current climate have been offered a new mortgage that is for £30k less than the amount we owe, and are stuck with monthly payments that are hideously high.

By the way, I think DCMB was not particularly meaning younger children gaining these skills, but rather children being already used to that sort of environment by the time they are in school?

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