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2 1/2 or 3 for playschool? Opinions/advice please

(37 Posts)
ETsmum Wed 18-May-05 17:02:36

Hi We currently have ds (22m) down to start at playschool whhen he is 2 1/2, but considering waiting til he is 3 (and a couple of months.) "Educationally" wise (ie language, concentration etc) I have no worries, but he is still very clingy socially, esp in large groups of children. My instinct says not to rush him into a situation that I know at the mo will frighten him...... Can anyone suggest pros/cons for giving him another couple of terms just with me? We go to 3 groups per week already, and see friends as well so he is getting chance to practice social skills, and he is fine in a small group.

Pinotmum Wed 18-May-05 17:10:34

Most playgroups will allow the parent/carer to stay for as many sessions as they like until they feel their child is settled. At 2 1/2 they get only 2 am or pm sessions lasting about 2 1/2 hours. However it is really your decision. I work at a pre-school and some of the children are reluctant to leave mum/dad/granny at the door but they settle pretty quickly and they ALL enjoy themselves while they are there. No-one crys to go home - honestly There are plenty of laps to sit on if they feel a little lost.

HappyMumof2 Wed 18-May-05 17:13:23

Message withdrawn

ETsmum Wed 18-May-05 20:55:07

Thanks for the advice......still not sure, but appreciate having a couple more opinions toi mull over Whey are some parenting decisions SO hard? (Can you tell this is my 1st child)

roisin Wed 18-May-05 21:04:22

DS2 went at 2.5; he was happy to go and was absolutely fine.

DS1 went at 2.5 and it was a disaster. He was happy to be left, but he was invariably crying when we picked him up. And as the sessions went by he was spending more and more of the morning distressed.
After 4 weeks (8 sessions) we gave it up.

He went back 9 months later, breezed in, was fine, and never looked back.

In the meantime we enjoyed our time and our "freedom" together. I also arranged for him to go to a fabulous childminder just for one session a week to get him used to being away from me.

So what I'm saying is some children are ready at 2 or 2.5, some aren't. You'll be able to tell when you get there. But try not to worry about it today.

LIZS Wed 18-May-05 21:17:27

Do you have to decide now ? A lot can change in 6 months. dd was ready for playgroup at just 2 despite being very clingy, to the point of hysterical if I went out of sight, and was absolutely fine after a few tears at the initial two sessions. How big a group is it ? Could you arrange for him to go to less busy sessions to begin with and bceome familiar with the people, environment and routines.

foolysh Fri 20-May-05 22:10:17

Subject is a bit close to the heart right now. I can't believe this, but I have joined the "they start them too young" brigade where preschool is concerned. Where I live people seem hyper-keen to ship them off to preschool as soon as possible (our preschool takes them at 2+2 months!). But with my children they were only ready for 2 sessions/week, and then not until 3yo (DS) and 3y+3 months (DD). I don't feel happy leaving them crying; can't see the need/point of putting us both through that until they start school... and in the event DS outgrew his clinginess completely, ran into Reception without looking back.

In theory my youngest could start at preschool at 2y+3months, but I have no intention of sending him until he's 3y+3 months (the preschool is so over-subscribed they only have one intake/year).

I am only telling you my experience, I imagine some children really are ready at 2y+4months. But, if you don't think your child is ready, don't feel pressured.

Thomcat Fri 20-May-05 22:14:20

I think it depends on the individual.
i sent Lottie to preschool for a couple of mornings a week as I noticed she was starting to get clingy when othr kids were around her and I wanted to stop that in its tracks and get her mixing with other kids more. I didn't regret my decision at all and it was the right one for us.

Fran1 Fri 20-May-05 22:20:06

My dd started pre-school at 2 years, 2 mornings a week. Mainly because i work p/time from home. She had been used to leaving me and being looked after by grandparents and also used to mixing with lots of other children, so i felt she was confident enough to be left. After all many children go into fulltime daycare at young ages and get along ok!

i used to work in nurseries so was aware that children who cry when their parents leave would often recover within seconds and have a wonderful time at nursery, so i think this helped me as dd did cry at first. Her first week she skipped in waving bye bye, then the second week she realised this was a permanent fixture and she started to cry, this lasted a few weeks but now she loves going in and seems to really enjoy her time there. She is nearly 2.5 now.

foolysh Fri 20-May-05 22:26:03

According to the nursery, DS only cried briefly (which was awful for me) & then played happily for the rest of the time. I left him crying for 2 years (18m-3.5yo). I believe the nursery staff, DS is a very confident child & he probably did get happily absorbed in playing.

He's now 5.5yo and if you ask him he will tell you emphatically that he hated nursery, "I wanted mummy", he says.

So you can see why I am NEVER doing that again. NEVER forcing my child to stay if they don't want to.

But if a child settles and happily goes in after an initial crying spell that is different.

Gobbledigook Fri 20-May-05 22:27:38

If you think he's not ready, don't rush him imo. He won't miss out - starting at 3 is perfectly OK I think. 2 is still very little and if he wants his Mummy, his Mummy he should have

bigdonna Fri 20-May-05 22:38:18

i personally think my dd and dd would not have been ready for nursery at ds started at 3 and my dd started at 3 1/2 they both were old enough to understand by then, and they had never been left with anyone before.I now look after a little girl who will start nursery in sep we talk about nursery alot about what she will do and that i will just be going home to get her lunch ready.And will be back soon.

saadia Fri 20-May-05 22:43:32

My ds1 started playgroup two mornings a week just after his 3rd b/day and settled in much more easily than I expected. Prior to that I felt he was happy enough at home and I was also a bit paranoid about leaving him anywhere with "strangers" until he was able to talk and be understood so he could tell me about what happened.

I did feel pressure from people constantly asking about when he would start nursery but I just didn't feel right about leaving him. I also felt that once he started nursery he would be on the "treadmill" - school, college, uni, work...and I wanted to delay it as long as I could.

ionesmum Fri 20-May-05 22:52:13

I think you have to use your judgement - after all, you know your ds the best. I was very against pre-school but it became clear that our dd1 was ready when she was only 2.5. I went for a few sessions and was very happy with the way it's run and dd1's behaviour there. She's now three and still only does two mornings a week - I think she'd like more but we want her at home! From September she'll be going an extra morning. I have to say in some ways her developement has really come on, particularly in the way she can sit in a group and listen to a story now, and I don't think I could have taught her that at home. The plus side to staying at home of course is that these early days are so precious, and I have no intention of hurrying them away, which is why dd1 doesn't go full-time. Your ds won't miss out if he doesn't go straight away - he will be able to catch up later, although from what I've seen a little while at pre-school is a good idea before big school.

ionesmum Fri 20-May-05 22:56:34

Just read saadia's post and she makes a very important point - it's vital your ds is confident and able to express himself to the staff, and that he can tell them what is wrong. I am lucky that dd1's preschool teacher is also a friend, so we did have a head start here, but she will not take children who are not able to talk to her in a way she can understand.

Fran1 Fri 20-May-05 23:03:37

I don't understand that ionesmum? What about children who have language delay. Often mixing with other children can encourage language.

Many children start nursery from 3mths, they obviously can't talk.

In my experience even when a child can talk, they won't necessarily tell you anything that went on at pre-school anyway, its like its there 'private' time and they don't want to share it with their parents.

coppertop Fri 20-May-05 23:11:03

It very much depends upon the child IMO. Ds1 was 2yrs 9mths when he started at pre-school. He never once cried at being left there. Ds2 goes to 2 sessions a week atm and he is 2.3yrs. He loves it and only cries when it's time to leave.

If you don't feel either he or you are ready then don't rush into it.

btw - a pre-school which refuses to take children unless they can speak is treading on very dangerous ground IMHO. Such a policy discriminates against children with SN.

ionesmum Sat 21-May-05 00:01:34

fran - I agree entirely re the telling of their day - my dd1 tells me nothing! Dd's pre-school does not discriminate against sn children; sorry, my post does not make that clear. In fact our friend has qualifications in early years with sn children (sorry, badly put - don't know what they are exactly). But at the same time, she said to me that this was one of the things she was looking for in my dd1 to show she was ready, and for me this was important. And this is a pre-school, not a nursery.

singersgirl Sat 21-May-05 10:39:26

DS1 started a 1.5 hr '2-3' playgroup when he was just 2 for 2 sessions a week and he loved it - never cried, rushed straight in. He was the same when he started the 3hr nursery at 3, so I never had any concerns about him.
I was more concerned about DS2 as he was much more clingy, and even at parent/child groups often wanted me to do things with him. So I waited until he was 2.4 to see how it went. And it completely surprised me. He never cried on saying goodbye to me. A couple of times he cried at breakfast and said he didn't want to go, so I always said "Let's get in the car and see how you feel when we get there", and he always said once in the car "I do want to go to school today"! But I've increased sessions much more slowly with him, because he gets more tired than DS1 and needs more down time with Mummy.
So I guess you really don't know until you get there how you're child will react, even if you suspect. In my (limited) experience, good nurseries are so experienced at this that they are usually very understanding if you do decide to take your child out and try again in a few months' time.

Lonelymum Sat 21-May-05 11:55:11

My ds3 (2yrs, 3 mths) is due to start playgroup when he is 2.6 yrs in September. I would rather he wait until he is 3 but I will have to pay for the place whatever I do and I suppose I feel if I am paying, he might as well go. The reasons I would rather he wait are:

1) I will have to potty train him before he goes and I have always been rather slow to potty train my children.

2) He still seems so young. His speech isn't great and his social needs are already met by his three older siblings so I don't feel he will immediately gain from being with other children his age.

3) Ds1 and dd started when they were 3 (3.3 in ds1's case) and had respectively three and four terms at playgroup/nursery which I felt was more than sufficient before starting school. Ds2, on the other hand, started at 2.9 and had two full years at playgroup and, although he loved it from day one, two full years was rather too long for him: he got bored before the end.

It does depend a lot on your child. None of mine disliked going and only ds1 (understandably because he was the first to go) showed any distress and that was minimal. I just think they don't need that amount of social contact that young, but you might feel differently. As ds3 is my youngest, the idea of me suddenly having some free time for the first time in years is quite attractive to me, but not enough to make me want him to go really.

Fran1 Sat 21-May-05 19:13:43

I know many pre-schools have the rule that children must be potty trained. But do you think they have a "right" to do so?

I am from a nursery background, and so familiar with Ofsteds guidlines on daycare, but no sessional care which is what pre-schools would have to follow.

But - Ofsted are so hot on not discriminating for a million and one reasons i can't imagine they agree with not allowing a child to start until they are trained, imo its discrimination. A child who is not yet potty trained, is not entitled to the same rights as those who are?
My dd's pre-school were happy to have her even though she was potty trained, but if they had of said no i would have investigated further what Ofsted thought about this.

Lonelymum, do you still have to pay the fees even if your son can't start because he doesn't get trained in time? That would seem extremely unfair if thats the case.

Xena Sat 21-May-05 19:14:48

Both preschools we look at for DD said that they weren't allowed to set this requirement anymore. When DS went 4 years ago it was.

Xena Sat 21-May-05 19:15:44

But I think that both will phone if they have done a no2 and expect you to come and change them.

Lonelymum Sat 21-May-05 20:02:46

Fran1 - in answer to your question, yes! I am not impressed either as I have just moved from an area where you chose when you wanted to start, and how many sessions you wanted. The trouble with round here is that they have very few places and I am lucky to get one (have only just moved and was told the places are usually all allocated by Easter) so I suppose they call the shots.

ionesmum Sat 21-May-05 20:17:08

Lonelymum, I am really shocked. DD1's preschool took her before she was potty trained, and there is no way we got charged fees before she started even though her place was held for her for a few months. I agree with Fran, I think you should investigate whether the pre-school has the right to do this.

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