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Do preschools do anything that nurseries don't?

(4 Posts)
ElusiveMoose Wed 15-Jun-11 09:27:03

Need some advice about nursery v. preschool. DS1 will be 4 in September, but still has another year left before school. He's currently at nursery 2 mornings a week, but I'm finding it quite a challenge to keep him entertained all week (I also have a 10 month old), so I'm considering increasing his hours to 3 school days from September. But, having talked to some friends, I'm wondering whether I should move him to a preschool. Trouble is, there isn't one attached to the school he'll be going to, so if I put him in one nearby, he won't be with any children who'll be going to school with him. Also, he's a sensitive soul, and took a long time to settle at nursery last year, so I rather dread moving him again. He absolutely loves his nursery, and they seem to do all the sort of stuff I'd expect - but on the other hand, the older room is quite small, particularly in the afternoons when there are only 4 or 5 kids there. Plus, preschool would be MUCH cheaper. And several of my friends are now moving their 3YOs into preschools, because they feel that that's the next stage, and a better preparation for school. Really don't know what to do. Are preschools and nurseries much different? Would he get a lot more out of a preschool?

5ofus Wed 15-Jun-11 14:55:56

They both run to the same curriculum so should offer the equivalent care. I wouldn't naturally assume that because a pre-school isn't attached to the school there will be no flow of children from it. Check with your school of choice as to which pre-schools they usually see intake from.

How about going in to see a couple of local pre-schools, get the feel for how they are run and where you think he'll be happy. I'm guessing from his age you are now receiving the 15 hours a week of funding so that should help with cost.

Bear in mind though that pre-schools tend to run term times only.

ElusiveMoose Thu 16-Jun-11 09:19:10

Thanks 5ofus. I did go to see some preschools when I first put him in nursery, but that was a year ago, so might visit again. I see what you mean about pre-schools and intake, but it's a very village-based system around here, so almost all children tend to go to their village preschool/playgroup and then to the village school. Our village has a great school, but the playgroup is pants. So although there might well be children at other preschools going to DS1's school, it's likely to be only 1 or 2 at each one. Whereas there are four or five kids at his nursery who'll be going to his school. Re the cost, yes, we do get the free hours, but unfortunately his nursery organises things so that you don't just get the first 15 hours free (my only gripe with them) - plus you have to pay for school holidays - so it's still pretty pricey. I think you're right - I need to go and see some preschools to see what he is/isn't missing. I suspect one of the main differences is that there would be more children at a preschool - which would probably be good for him in a school preparation way (although there are only 15 kids in his school year), but he'd probably hate it.... confused

Tgger Sat 18-Jun-11 00:02:59

Yes, go look.

Some preschools are fab, some aren't that fab. Some daycare places are fab, some aren't that fab.

I think in that 3-4 year it's great to have a really stimulating environment, but where you find it is up for grabs. My DS went to pre-school, then school nursery. The pre-school was ok, but the school nursery (went the September when he was 4 in October) was/is fab. My DD is at a day-care nursery which is more like a pre-school environment and she will stay there until she starts the school nursery at nearly 4. TBH I wouldn't want her there (at daycare place) in that final year as although great for her now at 2.5, I don't think it's as good as either the school nursery or the best pre-schools. Time to get shopping!!!

Also, re settling, when they're older it's much easier, you may well be surprised.

Good luck!

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