Is nursery necessary?(25 Posts)
I'm very confused about nurseries and hoping you can set me straight.
I have 18 month old twins and according to popular legend in the part of SW London in which I live, I've "left it far too late" to get them into a good nursery.
My question is, does it matter?
The nurseries the 'concerned friends' are talking about are places the kids go to for a couple of hours a day, wearing adorable smocks and doing painting and playing with sand, for which we would pay £2,500 a term, so I am really hoping you are going to say NO!
The alternative is to wait until they are 3, I think they get a free place at the nursery attached to their infant school, is that right?
The other alternative is they go to a local playgroup, where I would volunteer one morning a week to run an activity and the other 4 mornings a week I'd leave them there and scoot off.
This sounds far more fun anyway and more affordable at £30/week. However I'm still kind of in 2 minds about whether to bother - do they really benefit from being away from home and on their own at that stage, or would they be as well off at home? I'd be really grateful if any of you could share your views and experiences.
I worry that if they are the only kids locally who don't go, they would be stuck for other kids to play with.. but at the same time I don't want to get sucked into something just because everyone else does it.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
if you don't mind the helping out then playgroup can be a good option - if you can get in
getting a nursery place at the infant school will depend on local demand and their admissions policy
At 18 months all your babies need is a secure nurturing environment in which they can explore the world around them. The best place for them to do this is in your own home and garden, in the park, at the shops, in the local library,e etc with you. They need you or another close person to support them and talk to them about what they are doing. The don't need to be at nursery because you can give them everything they need at home.
The playgroup where you would volunteer sounds lovely and if you feel that you need some 'me' time or have a smaller sibling to care for then perhaps that's a good idea but, if not, why send them anywhere at this age? Enjoy your babies while you can. In the blink of an eye they'll be at school.
Totally second everything Al1son said. I think the benefits of nursery care are vastly exaggerated because its what people want to believe. I have been implicitly criticised for not sending dd1 to any sort of nursery care. Apparently she needed to be prepared for school and would be missing out . Funnily enough she started pre school age 3 (for a few mornings a week) and has now just started school and has taken to both beautifully not a tear or any upset. Your plans sound lovely.
Another one to agree with Al1son, DD went to toddler group one morning a week with DH and has now just started nursery at school, a few tears on leaving her there but she loves it and never shuts up when she gets home about what they've been up to!
It depends on the child, I would say DD was ready at about 2 1/2 to go (but she has no siblings). Sorry to be repetitive but they are tiny for such a short time and at school before you know it!
2.500 pounds??? Bloody hell!
Personally, I'm a great fan of nurseries, they can be a "secure nurturing environment" that is just different from the one they have at home. They can be "something more" rather than "something less" iyswim.
But it greatly depends on the personality of the children and the quality of the nursery and the affinities between the parents and the nursery.
I kept all 3 of mine at home until they received the funding at 3.They then went for 3 half sessions a week, it has worked well for us all.
DS stayed at home until preschool funding kicked in at 3 - he did briefly go to a childminder whilst I worked v part time, until I got pg again and so was at home again. I didn't see any need to 'prepare' him for preschool. He went for a couple of sessions a week and really enjoyed it, strode in confidently on the first day.
We used to go to toddler groups before he was at preschool, and socialised with friends.
I'm waiting until he's 3 to send him to preschool. I'm a SAHM and I like DS's company. He's 2 and goes to a mother and baby/toddler group every Friday. Twice a week he goes into the excellent on-site creche at a gym twice a week for an hour while I get fit. I have a few friends with toddlers so arrange playdates every week.
Often get the, "Aren't you putting him in nursery?" question thrown at me. Personally, I don't want to. My friend wasn't going to put her 18 month old in nursery but has just signed him up for two afternoon sessions at a nursery around the corner so she can get a bit of time to herself. Suppose I do the same thing at the gym, but their creche is lot cheaper than the nursery.
I waited until DD was 3 to send her to nursery - she turned 3 in August, so will start school next September. Choosing what age to send your DC's to nursery is entirely personal - I loved the time I spent with DD and, as a SAHM, I didn't feel it necessary to place her in childcare until she turned 3. DD now does 4 x 3hr sessions a week and loves it
I think there is a place for nursery for a short period - perhaps 6 month to a year - before the child starts school.
Sometimes it's quite hard for a child to get used to following the group routines, having less adult attention, needing to be more independent in terms of personal care, etc. It can be easier to introduce these in an early years setting because the staff tend to be more willing to adapt to children's individual needs and wishes due to the better staff to child ratios.
There's less of a culture of just expecting them to get on with it regardless than there is in many (but not all reception classes. This can make starting school much less of a shock for many children.
Normally in west london you can't get a free nursery school place unless you have a sibling at the school.
Expensive preschool doesn't mean the best however IME a good pre-school can be cheapish but will have a very long waiting list I would say you have sign up now.
When you decide to start them at a pre-school is up to you and when you think they are ready.
If you haven't yet made your mind up, I would strongly urge you to read parenting psychologist Steve Biddulph's book "Raising Babies: Should Under 3s go to Nursery?" It makes an incredibly strong case for keeping your babies at home with you until the age of three.
I agree with Al1son, young children gain so much from staying at home with a loving parent, rather than a person who is paid to look after them and doesn't love them like you can.
Regarding free nursery places, I'd double check by phoning your local council and speaking with their education services dept. In Hampshire for e.g., they can start in Sept after their 3rd birthday and get 5 free half day sessions.
I'm in SW London too. Some nurseries do fill up, others don't. If you decide you want a place later you'll probably find one. If you were set on a particular nursery - and it doesn't sound as if you are - then an earlyy registration is worth it. But there's incredible "churn" as so many people move out of Town. I really wouldn't stress about it. The playgroup sounds fine.
A bit if exposure to groups does help before school. Everything else, you can do by Reading lots of stories, singing nursery rhymes and doing simple games and activities involving counting and colours.
I don't live in that area but I really wouldn't worry.
FWIW I've actually heard that the free/funded nurseries tend to be better educationally than the private ones. DD goes to both types and I actually agree with this!
It depends on you and your kids. If you are a happy SAHM who thrives on having her kids with her, then I would keep them at home until 3 and this is best for everyone.
If you crave some time for yourself and your kids are quite independent sorts and if they are girls (or independent boys but girls generally cope better) then go for the play-group option. This is also good if you don't have huge creative urges at home to get out paint etc etc.
When are their birthdays? Just because they don't get the school nursery place often until the September after they turn three. My kids are October and November birthdays so that would mean if they didn't go to pre-school/play-group they'd have almost a whole year of being 3 without other entertainment apart from Mummy (not so good from my point of view!).
So.... depends on you and your kids. Generally kids do better at pre-school from 3 or nearly 3, but they also do better with happy Mummies and it isn't too much of a compromise for them to go from 2.5 or so.
As for the expensive stuff, well there are always people with more money than sense!
Waited till my twins were three and a half to send them to nursery two days a week. They were absolutely readly and loved it. Did a few things before starting like going to ballet and dropping them off and sitting outside, or watching them swimming from side of pool (in class, obviously). By that state they were really excited to be doign it alone (at one class parents were invited to stay and watch, and the children were very irritated with me afterwards for being there and interrupting their grown up time).
My philosophy - done from the perspective of a stay at home mum who can be with chidlren full time until they start school, and who enjoy staying at home - is to wait until the children are absolutely bursting for whatever it is (weaning, potty training, nursery) and then do it. less effort all round.
Also twins are very fortunate in that they have each other and so i think they get less lonely at home - as they have each other to play with (you will really notice this as they get to two and above - mine are downstairs now doing something complicated with mickey mouse figurines and can play like this for hours). Also they have each other when they start school.
Go with what suits you. It feels agonising at the time, but it's a relief to make the right choice.
I live in SW London too. Firstly I assume that although your child is currently 18 months you are probably thinking ahead to when they are two-plus as most of these groups don't take children before 2, many require them to be 2.5 or more.
I think the playgroup with a bit of volunteering at a much lower cost is a good option to try out. If you are volunteering you can see what its like and if you don't think your child is benefitting or happy then you can take them out. I put my son's name down for several local nurseries with long waiting lists and termly fees of around £2K but in the end found a more modestly priced 'playgroup' that was partly council-funded. My son is a confident chap who had already attended plenty of group activities with me or our nanny, including parent and toddler groups. He started his current 'playgroup' at 2.2 with no tears - and I really think he has benefited from having some group time in this type of environment. His confidence has grown further, he is incredibly sociable now, but also has tried out new things that I wouldn't have thought of doing with him and gets to play with a bigger range of toys than I could possibly have at home. I don't think nursery is 'necessary' but I do think it has benefits, especially for a child who quickly adapts to the separation from mummy. If your child proves to be unhappy and isn't settling then that's a different matter. However, I think no harm in trying it out from the age of 2 or three. Before two they are too young to really benefit and will find separation hard. After two it depends on the child, some will be ready sooner than others.
I've read Steve Biddell's book too - I agree in principle with some of what he says but I think the age 3 cut-off is a bit arbitrary - some children are ready for nursery before that.
Help! New to Mumsnet but joined as I have a dilema and need HELP. My DS in 3 in Jan next year and I am SAHM of two. DD 8 months. I have been looking at local schools and their nurseries, as have the form to complete by 3 December giving nursery choices. The problem is that all the nurseries atached to primary schools in our area require attendance of five mornings or five afternoons a week and I feel that this is way too much. I enjoy having him at home,and having looked round the nurseries don't feel they are offering as much as I can give him. He socialises regularly with friends and goes to a playgroup once a week where he is already the oldest child as his peers are all at pre-school. What are my options??
You can get pre school provision from nurseries not attached to primary schools and those run in the community e.g. in community halls, church halls, Sure Start centres. Ask other mums and look on th einternet. These may give you a choice of hours.
I didn't want my DS to do too much preschool either and seem to be by far in the minority (but interestingly have had many supportive comments from the two preschools he has attended). He does 1 full day and 1 half day. He will be 4 in December. Since September he stands out as the oldest at the activities I go to with him and that has started to cause problems, he isn't as patient as he could be with the little children and he has now started to seek other children to play with much more actively and there is no one. I think other people with only younger children think he is a mean big child. I'm now starting to question my choices, may look for other activites for him to do with me as well (but I have DD 2 to consider too and soon a baby).
My little one is 2yrs 4mnths and very social, bright, chatty. We attend toddler group together 2 mornings a week - she also does gym tots once a week. This provides her with the best of both worlds - play and Mum. She will move onto a free place at a pre-school in 6 months or and for her I think it will be the right time to go. She might only do 3 or 4 mornings at first though.
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