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(27 Posts)
compo Tue 19-Apr-05 19:45:15

Can anyone tell me how play group works? My ds is currently one and goes to nursery one day a week. I know that there are play groups for when he is a bit older. Are these for 2 or 3 year olds? How much are they and are they ever free? TIA

cod Tue 19-Apr-05 19:47:03

Message withdrawn

zebraX Tue 19-Apr-05 19:48:00

Most start around 2.5-3yo. They are free the first (school calendar) term after your child turns 3. 2.5-3 hour sessions, morning or afternoon session to coincide with school hours. Before 3yo the charge is around 2.5-5 quid/session -- depending where you live. Sometimes they will run 2 sessions together with a small break for lunch, they may charge you for that time, but it can mean effectively, 6 hours of cheap/nearly free childcare. No more than 5 sessions/week, though. hth.

cod Tue 19-Apr-05 19:48:49

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zebraX Tue 19-Apr-05 19:49:00

Oh, and depending on where you live, playgroup may means the same as "Mother + Toddler group" or it may mean the same as "nursery"/"preschool". I was describing what we called "playgroup" in Leicestershire, but gets called "preschool" here in Norfolk!

compo Tue 19-Apr-05 19:49:19

thnaks Cod. It's just I was at mother and toddlers today and a lady there told me the same place also held 'playgroup' Monday to Friday mornings only. She said the kids had to be potty trained. So I wonder how much would that cost and would you get help with it iyswim. Is preschool more when they are 3? (so confused!)

coldtea Tue 19-Apr-05 19:49:38

Assuming you mean playschool. It can differ from area to area. Where i live your child can go from 2 & 10months(must be dry!) & you would usually start them off with 2 mornings looking to increase. The times are roughly 9.30am-12pm. You pay for this until the term after their 3rd birthday & then you are entitled to all 5 mornings free.


compo Tue 19-Apr-05 19:50:48

aha I like the sound of 'it will get clearer as he gets lder' does that mean things drop through your letter box telling you wheat the heck you're supposed to be doing?

coldtea Tue 19-Apr-05 19:51:47

If only! I had to keep my eyes peeled in the local paper for when to put ds's name down!

compo Tue 19-Apr-05 19:51:55

oh god now there is play group/ play school/ pre school?!

compo Tue 19-Apr-05 19:52:59

also she was telling me her dd (who is 2.5) has got her name down already for a school. does that kind of thing drop thru the letterbox? when are you mean to investigate schools fgs!!!

zebraX Tue 19-Apr-05 19:53:24

What we called playgroup in Leicestershire, what I was describing, you leave the child (in theory) & come back later. Oh, and it's called "playschool" in other parts of the country, too!

coldtea Tue 19-Apr-05 19:53:45

It does sound confusing i agree. My ds went to playschool then to school nursery 1 year before he was due to start school.

I have to agree with cod it does become clearer as they get to 'that' age. I was petrified i was going to miss something!

zebraX Tue 19-Apr-05 19:54:07

schools -- the rule has been you didn't have to register until the January before they were due to start, but I don't know if that might change. Your Health Visitor could help explain all this to you, btw.

compo Tue 19-Apr-05 19:58:25

really? That would be excellent but I bet she hasn't got a clue

jollymum Tue 19-Apr-05 19:58:54

Pre-school around here is what I used to call playgroup. You leave them there, from 2yrs six months, provided they are toilet trained, for 2-5 sessions a wekk, depending on your luck! You should automatically get a letter from your Council about Nursery places. These are usually attached to a school, well, they are around here. Your child can attend from the September after they are three years old. It's hard sometimes if your child is born late Sept/Oct because they miss out and have to wait until they're nearly four to go, hence being nearly five when they start school.

compo Tue 19-Apr-05 19:59:13

ok another quick question (I promise), with schools do you automatically go to the nearest one unless you apply to another school?

compo Tue 19-Apr-05 20:00:09

jollymum thanks - loving the sound of automatic letter from council

cod Tue 19-Apr-05 20:34:37

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zebraX Tue 19-Apr-05 20:53:55

NO, you don't automatically go to the nearest school. Someone at the county council has a catchment area map, and the catchment map may be a funny shape. They use the map and a long list of other criteria to decide if you can get a place. All you do is fill in the form saying which school you'd like as 1st choice, 2nd choice, etc.

zebraX Tue 19-Apr-05 20:54:57

A lot of preschools/nurseries/playschools have to take non-toilet trained children now, too, if the child is over 3yo, they can't turn them away even if the child is still in nappies.

compo Tue 19-Apr-05 20:55:15

thanks you're a star you know what its like when you go to one of these groups and people are rabbiting on about one thing and another and you're like 'whoa what was that' sort of thing?!!

compo Tue 19-Apr-05 20:56:04

that was to zebra and cod

throckenholt Wed 20-Apr-05 07:45:06

I also live in Norfolk - in our neck of the woods they are called playgroups (as opposed to toddler groups which are for younger ones and parents).

My DS1 goes to 2

1. starts at age 2.5 - you leave child there for 2.5 hours (up to 5 sessions per week). Parent goes along for the first session of 2 to get them used to it. They have sessions 4 mornings and 2 afternoons I think. They were not concerned about children in nappies - DS1 was when he started but always lasted without needing changing.

2. starts any time after 2 (if they have space), but have to be accompanied by parent until at least 2.5. Again 2.5 hour sessions - only have 3 morning sessions per week. Also said would like parent to accompany until potty trained because they have no real facilities for nappy changing.

Both cost about £5 per session until the age of 3 and then you get something like 55 free sessions per term.

Both also link in with the local primary school by having sessions there for older kids in the term before starting school. Playgroup 2 also does a session at the school for the whole playgroup once per term.

Best thing to do it arrange to go along to any in your area and see if you like it and find out how they work.

throckenholt Wed 20-Apr-05 07:46:36

also forgot to say both are in the local village halls.

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