Please talk to me about pre-schools...(2 Posts)
I'm a first-time, SAHM to DD who is almost 21 months old.
Didn't do any baby classes with her and have only in the last few months started taking her to parent-and-toddler groups etc. I'm happy to be a SAHM, so things like nurseries/pre-schools etc haven't been on my radar. Until this morning when I was chatting to some other mums at the toddler group about pre-schools.
They said that waiting lists in our area are really long (I checked on our council's website - it says that you should consider putting your child's name down before they are a year old, and one of the pre-school's websites said they have a 12-18 month waiting list).
DH and I really wanted to avoid getting caught up with the parenting "arms race" - if no-one put their child's name down until shortly before their child is old enough to start pre-school, then there wouldn't be a panic about "leaving it too late".
So - I have no idea whether I'll even want to start DD at pre-school as soon as she is 2.5 years, but should I put her name down now just in case??
What are your experiences of pre-schools?
I'm all confused and slightly flustered now!
There is probably no rush to put your child's name down for a preschool, providing that you don't have any real criteria about where/when she goes. Many parents are very fussy about their choice of preschool and many have restrictions about the days that they need (i.e. they are working or have other commitments). Hence why parents rush to put names down.
You may well find that people have put names down speculatively and through change of mind or circumstances, places do open up nearer the time.
We signed DS up for preschool at 1.5 years old (to start just after his 3rd birthday), although I had been looking at them for some time. There is a huge variety in approaches, facilities and staff at preschools - so it was important for me to get it right for my child.
There is really no need to send your DD to pre-school: you could keep her at home until she has to start proper school - it is about working out what is right for her and you (doesn't matter what anyone else does or doesn't do). I looked at nurseries a while ago (when DS was about 1.5 years again), but felt he was too young. Now I think (in 3 months, when he is 3) that he will be ready for preschool (well, 3 mornings a week).
The best thing to do is to get out there, go to the preschools and find out what they are like. Do you like any of them? Would any suit your DD (would she benefit from a few mornings a week)? Out of those, do they have places? But don't feel any pressure in any direction.
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