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Is Pre-school nursery bettre than CM?

(12 Posts)
gourd Mon 11-Mar-13 15:02:55

Our 2.5 year old goes to CMS 4 days a week for 10 hours each day (40 hours a week). Free 15 hours of pre-school nursery care is offered from 3 years but this means either

a)a change of CM to one that lives nearer to us and can drop off/collect from either of our two local nurseries (one of which does not get a good Ofsted report though attached Primary School is good, the other gets good report and also offers full time care)
b)40 hours a week in the second nursery a bit further away from us but also fairly local which gets good Ofsted report but also sates that the children have much lower than average level of skills, knowledge and behaviour than the average 3 year old.

We obviously have to pay for the other 25 hours we need anyway. I am not at all interested in saving money if this means uprooting child from wonderful CM where she is very happy (has been there since she was 9 months old) and neither do I want our child in a nursery for 40 hours a week so a) would really be the only option but this is two new starts (new pre-school and new CM). Current CM does not drive and lives 3 miles form us. The nursery near our CM has poor Ofsted report and is also 4 miles from us and linked to Primary School (does not offer full time care) so doubt we’d get a place there due to the distance from our home. Current CM attends 2 playgroups per week plus one soft play and gym session once a fortnight, has two primary school aged children of her own who are there before/after school plus minds baby and boy 6 months younger than my daughter so my child is getting interaction on daily basis with other children.

Is it worth getting new CM and using local nursery? I am not against nursery altogether, but feel 15 hours a week would be plenty and do not want to use a nursery for 40 hours a week for various reasons not least that daughter is already exhausted every weekend and naps for 3 hours Saturday and Sunday as it is without adding new nursery + new CM or full time nursery care into the mix…

CM seems v keen on nursery for our child even though it would almost certainly mean her losing our child to another CM or full time care. Feel terribly old fashioned in my views but I feel anxious and pressured into accepting this is what everyone else does, even though I don’t feel it is necessary or appropriate for my child. Didn’t go to nursery myself but loved school from day one and could already ready/write before I started. Our child can count to 6 and can already recognise letters and some words and she is only 2.5. She is already playing nicely with other kids at playgroup and at CMs etc so I cannot see any benefit, only the downsides of several new starts at once, large class size, early exposure to peer pressure and consumerism to name a few but it seems my views are considered to be old fashioned. WWYD? Please help!!

lemontwist Mon 11-Mar-13 15:27:52

Can your child not stay with the CM? I thought they could claim for the free EY entitlement.

50shadesofvomit Mon 11-Mar-13 16:05:06

The only real pro is if her pre-school friends will be going to the same school as her.

soontobetwo Mon 11-Mar-13 21:25:20

Why not use current childminder for two days a week and then use private nursery for 2 full days a week (putting 15 hrs free funding towards the cost of this). That way you would get the best of both worlds. I think that is what I would do in the same situation.

gourd Tue 12-Mar-13 10:56:05

Hmm hadn't thoguht of that option, but will consider this. I had thought nurseries usually offer the half days so hadnt thoght of it at all. Thing is, two full days would be very long days in a nursery envoironment and I'm not that keen on the idea really, but it would save us 2 days oney so we'd only be paign CM for two days a week iof she is willing to do that. Having talked to her last night (in writing - didnt actually see her as partner usually picks up child) it seems she was just souinding us out and finding out what we want to do really, rather than pushing nursery.

gourd Tue 12-Mar-13 10:58:24

leomontwist - had no idea CMs could claim the free nursery ed entitlement.

The pre-school to school friends thing will only work if we use one of the very the local nurseries which current CM wont be able to get to so the option of two full days at nursery lus two full days at CMS does look an idea to think about...

Thanks for your replies

lemontwist Tue 12-Mar-13 20:19:23

Free early years entitlement
Just a quick search found this. I'm not quite at this stage yet with my two but looking ahead for a few months time.
You'd have to find out if you childminder was registered in a network

lemontwist Tue 12-Mar-13 20:19:48


Katnisscupcake Wed 13-Mar-13 14:12:02

When DD was 2.5 we did what soontobetwo suggested. DD had been with her CM since she was 5 months old but we felt that she needed a busier environment as being Summer born, she would be starting school a bit younger than some others.

We found a fabulous little 'school' (I use that term even though it is a pre-school - because they have a uniform and focus more on the academic side). She started there 2 days a week and stayed with the CM for 2 days (me for the other 1). Then last September she left the CM altogether and went for four full days to the school. She loves it and it's really improved her confidence and abilities. The CM still has her through the school holidays which is lovely - they still have a fabulous relationship.

It worked out really well for us.

MrsDimples Wed 13-Mar-13 14:25:24

You don't have to send your child to nursery / pre school. If you don't want to and don't need to, don't.

You can always change your mind later on.


scarecrow22 Wed 13-Mar-13 14:37:21

OP, a really interesting issue for those of us with 2+yos with CMs. We are weighing up similar questions for slightly diff reasons (incl that as a Dec baby DD will be nearly 4 wen starts local pre-school).
FWIW one idea I had was that play groups and such things are quite free for all in style - so if we don't go the nursery route I will enrol Dd in a couple of "classes" a week, eg dancing like Diddi Dance, so she also gets experience in listening to instructions in a group, taking turns, and so on. I'm not at all trying to push or educate her, I just think she has a pretty (adorably) pampered life being the "baby" at re child minder and don't want her to get too used to getting her own way!

In your situation I would also consider the 2 days/2 days split suggested by posters.
We are totally immersed in our wonderful CM - her son even babysit for us as DD adores him too - so understand dilemma. I would not drop all contact with her as like me you sound like you want to keep stability.

Good luck

gourd Thu 14-Mar-13 13:25:51

Pretty sure CM is regstered with the CM network but she has never claimed the EY funding before and seems to think she has to complete the EYFS accreditation first - it doesnt say anywhere she has to though that I can see. She's in the middle of doing it anyway but I didnt think that was part of the arrangement she has to make anyway? I'm pretty sure we'll be abe to claim it for her but it's only 38 wks a year (small print!) so discounting CMs 3 wks a year of hols that's still at least 3 months+ that we need to fund the whole 40 hours a week anyway, so it's not a great deal of saving and what a palava to work out! We get childcare vouchers from work so it'll be a total nightmare working out who owes who how much in some months and not in others and am pretty sure we'll end up out of pocket paying bits out of our salaries after tax and NI instead of before, if we start amending the voucher payments etc. God they dont make it eay to claim do they?!! We've decided to stick with CM for the full 4 days (they actually go to playgroups every day Mon-Thurs now, so LO is getting plenty of interaction with large group of kids on a daily basis-except weekends). We cant start to claim anyway till january 2014 so it's still a way off yet. Thanks to all for your input.

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