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Anyone got experience of KidsUnlimited PRE-SCHOOL classes?

(20 Posts)
savoirfaire Fri 10-May-13 22:31:44

Hi. Considering moving DC into the pre-school class at a Kids Unlimited nursery (just bought by Bright Horizons). Does anyone have kids who have been through / are in pre-school at KU and how they do in terms of genuine pre-school preparation? They seemed very clued up on the EYFS etc when I visited but room leader admitted to me that she's not confident in phonics etc and so is 'learning as she goes'. I'm reasonably relaxed about this, given the age and stage, however DS is already blending and his numbers etc are good and I don't want him to stagnate in the 16 months or so he would be there if we move him. I've seen great evidence of lots of creative / messy play, so I'm happy from that point of view, just wondering if anyone feels they have done other school prep well or badly. before I make a decision. Thanks.

scottishmummy Fri 10-May-13 23:03:53

IMO,nursery role isn't to prepare for school by doing phonic etc
I don't think structured prep for school is necessary.i really don't
let your kid mingle,play messy and dont be so angsty about stagnation

savoirfaire Fri 10-May-13 23:18:48

Thanks. This isn't what I was asking. I'm not angsty. He'll be at nursery for 36 hours per week. Am just wondering about a couple of hours of that tops. If he went to the nursery class of the local primary they would be doing phonics. I am wondering whether KU compares at all (given that they do not have primary school teachers, whereas the nursery class at primary school does). He does an immense amount of play of every sort, thanks very much. I was asking for advice from people who know this nursery and their practices, not general parenting advice.

Troubledjo Fri 10-May-13 23:26:43

My DD went to a KU nursery and stayed there until she started at reception, as the area we lived in at the time didn't have pre-school attached to the local primary schools. I expect they all vary, but she did plenty of 'learning through play' stuff - colouring, drawing, looking at books, learning sounds of letters. She certainly wasn't behind in reception and learned to read really quickly. Hope that helps.

scottishmummy Fri 10-May-13 23:28:40

really?your post it angsty ESP don't want him to stagnate?its nursery not mba class
kids arrive at school from variety settings eg cm,nursery,housewives
there no expectation of a structured prep or pre school class.that your expectation not schools

savoirfaire Sat 11-May-13 14:24:53

It's just a turn of phrase scottish. Perhaps I should have said that I would like to make sure he is able to do the things he wants to be able to do, since he is desperate to read and spends a lot of time badgering me about it and I haven't the first idea how to help him. I'd like him to be somewhere where they help him with this as chances are I will cock it up. If he was in nursery class of school he'd be with a qualified teacher, which gives some confidence, however the nursery setting seems very good, lots of fun, nice staff etc, but in fairness they are not as well qualified re this stuff. Does that help?

savoirfaire Sat 11-May-13 14:25:17

Thank you troubledjo.

scottishmummy Sat 11-May-13 14:35:45

youre. post seemed a bit tiger mom,pushy.esp stagnation at 5yo
I've used nursery ft too.i didn't have a preference about progression etc
as with all nursery go visit,if you like experience of ku preschool

savoirfaire Sat 11-May-13 16:26:50

I was explicit in the thread title that I was looking for advice about a particular chain. I find it a bit hmm that you'd bother to come in and post when you don't have that.

scottishmummy Sat 11-May-13 16:32:32

well let face it you're not Exactly wadding through big volume of replies
I don't think three repliesyou didn't like will impact too significantly
maybe sit tight wait for that deluge of replies?

BranchingOut Sat 11-May-13 16:39:13

Research evidence has shown clear links between higher levels of staff qualification, specifically Qualified Teacher Status, and positive outcomes for children.

In all honesty, I would go for the place at the school nursery.

On an anecdotal level I toured a KU nursery and was unimpressed by the level of interaction between staff and children in the pre-school room. Likewise, a friend took her child out of the same nursery because she felt he was under-stimulated there.

ThingummyBob Sat 11-May-13 16:40:27

My dcs went to KU nursery and both enjoyed the school prep. sessions, which I think were only just being introduced in KU at the time. Both summer born and I think it helped to level some of the differences with their older peers when they went into reception smile

ThingummyBob Sat 11-May-13 16:44:06

Actually I'd agree that each nursery, even as part of a larger chain, are very different though.

My dc's had been an non-chain nursery before KU bought it; the staff didn't change much and it continued to be the lovely, well run nursery it always had been.

My sis used a KU in London after seeing ours and ended up switching after only a few weeks as they were unhappy with lots of things.

scottishmummy Sat 11-May-13 16:48:24

prior to starting P1 my nursery did some brief structured activities
IMO,it's not necessary to participate in pre-school programme
when they go to primary they'll notice change but will adapt quickly

savoirfaire Sat 11-May-13 23:11:17

Thanks. Yes I realise it is a very big chain and each actual nursery is probably quite different. I wondered whether the fact that it is a chain could be seen as a real positive in this scenario - with best practice being shared between them, which could compensate in some ways for the fact that, quite understandably, it's a different qualification level vs school in terms of the staff. It seems not.

I don't mind not wading through replies btw. I would much rather have one or two relevant replies than 10 random comments. However, our little chat has presumably kept this in active a bit more than it might have been Scottish, so thanks for that at least!

scottishmummy Sat 11-May-13 23:16:47

you've got 15posts,6 of which you the 10 random hasn't been achieved yet
I'm rooting for you though!
go team savoirfaire

Troubledjo Sun 12-May-13 02:16:39

Hi again, just wanted to say that by chance I was wading through some paperwork at home and came across the report that KU prepared for my DD when she started at reception. It was very detailed and structured and specifically mentioned the reading books they had used with her, as well as numeracy work, so I think it was probably more focused than I had remembered. (She's 10 now so it seems a long time ago!). I think the people are probably more important than the qualifications, also in the KU nursery my DD attended the pre-school group was much smaller than a nursery class in a school would have been, so she actually got more personal attention. Good luck making your decision - in the end you probably just have to go with your gut reaction.

TiggyD Sun 12-May-13 16:17:21

You sound like you would be happier with a school's pre-school unit which is more of a school atmosphere. Nurseries are more set up for a family feel, learning through play, informal day. They'll focus on social skills rather than reading and writing, which is un-necessary at nursery age. Some daycare nurseries have a qualified nursery teacher for the older ones, usually taking small groups to one side and doing more formal teaching with them.

KU varies a lot. I've done some work at a couple of their nurseries. One was minging with staff who didn't much care about their jobs and the environment was dirty and poorly equipped. The other was new and minty fresh with OK staff, but wasn't very child orientated-no big display boards of children's work allowed, but large photos of happy children instead.

savoirfaire Sun 12-May-13 20:10:56

Thanks TJ and Tiggy, that's really helpful. Yes a much smaller group, which is def part of the appeal of Ku (18 max vs 40 at the school). There's loads of art on the walls, by the kids. Definitely no qualified teacher though. But if we go for qualified teacher at the school the large group might over ride the benefit? V ingesting about the report TJ, thanks for that insight. I will ask about that.

tomverlaine Mon 20-May-13 09:27:10

We are about to move DS to a kidsunlimited nursery- i really warmed to it since it didn't seem like a mini-school. That said DS is currently at a Bright Horizons nursery and they ahve been building in phonics naturally so i hope KU do the same

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