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Do I HAVE to send dd to nursery at 3 years?

(25 Posts)
LastTrainToNowhere Fri 14-Aug-09 19:19:57

I have just got a form from the Council asking me to choose a nursery for my daughter for March onwards (that's when she turns 3). Thing is, in my head I had planned for her to join nursery next September, when she'll be 3.5 years. She will be going to preschool (playgroup, whatever it's called these days) from the coming September for three days a week, and I just thought that was more than enough at this age. But now that we've got this form, my dh (and a lot of my friends) are pressurising me to put her in from March itself. I don't think it's a good idea, for the following reasons:

1) The nursery near us is full for this term, the only nursery with places is a 15 minute drive away. So I will have to pick up dd from preschool at 12, hurry her through lunch and get her to nursery for 1.30. I think this is way too stressful for her AND me.

2) I work from home, so I have no need to use nursery as childcare. In fact, all the ferrying around will eat into my working time.

3) The nursery has told me that she will need to attend all 5 days. I really really don't want this as I enjoy the time I spend with her. We do lots of interesting things, visiting the farm, going by train, hunting for bugs etc etc. I don't want to give this time up so early!

4) My daughter is outgoing, but she loves to come home after a while...all-day trips are way too much for her. I worry that preschool combined with nursery will just be too much.

I know I probably sound a little PFB, but IMO school gets the children in the end anyway, and I'd like to postpone that for as long as possible. I'm ready to send her to nursery full-time from September 2010, but I'm not so keen on March. Am I wrong?

SingingBear Fri 14-Aug-09 19:21:21

Message withdrawn

GetToYourBED Fri 14-Aug-09 19:24:38

There is absoltely no requirement for you to send her - even from Sept if you don't want to.

LIZS Fri 14-Aug-09 19:25:45

No , nursery/preschool isn't compulsory.

LastTrainToNowhere Fri 14-Aug-09 19:26:09

Thanks SingingBear.

It's true, I'm wilting under the peer pressure, my reasoning is starting to sound hollow even to me. That's why I came here for more opinions (hoping someone will agree with what I'm trying to say!) smile

LastTrainToNowhere Fri 14-Aug-09 19:28:39

Thanks GTYB and Liz.
Great, I've got ammunition to fight pressure from my friends now.

GTYB, I love your name!

littleducks Fri 14-Aug-09 19:28:59

No you dont, you may not get a place at the nursery yopu wish if you dont send her at 3 or if you dont do 5 days but these are rules developed by the indivual nursery

I think even at 3.5 nursery and preschool combined may be too long a day
Can you just get the funding for her sessions to pay the preschool fees? Even if this is just for a term if yoiu decide to send her to nursery at 3.5?

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 14-Aug-09 19:33:52

blimey I never got this letter from my council! DD is going to nursery from sept at just over 3, for 2 days a week. If/when the nursery/pre-school has more space we will go up to 3 days a week, and that is plenty (she has been at nursery before, but we had to withdraw her earlier this year)

You do not have to send her to nursery/pre-school AT ALL if you wish not to.

And often nurseries will say they have to be there all week due to their own policy to ensure all spaces are filled, as it is often difficult to fill odd days/half days if they chop and change, so some just have a blanket all week or not at all, but not because its compulsory.

Is pre-school and nursery not the same thing?

Mij Fri 14-Aug-09 19:41:48

I was going to ask the same question - what's the difference between nursery and pre-school? My dd is 3 and does a mixture of childminder and nursery, for a total of 2.5 days a week (also plenty for us - she'll be institutionalised soon enough!) and from this sep we should be able to split her 15 hours funding between both.

Is there something special about this particular nursery, eg it's attached to you're favourite school..?

Mij Fri 14-Aug-09 19:44:18

That's your of course, before pedants' corner gets me [excuse = typing with 6 wk old on shoulder and brain befuddled by hormones...]

2to3 Fri 14-Aug-09 19:45:41

Legally you don't have to send your child to any institution until the term after they turn 5, and even then you are entitled to home educate. My twins are 4 but not starting school this Jan, although all their peers are. It definitely does feel a bit weird to be 'different', but every time I go over my reasons for not sending them I feel it's the right decision. We plan to send them at 6 as we feel it's a better age (I'm from another country where this is the norm) and I've heard on the grapevine that it probably won't be very difficult to get them into the best local school at 5, 6 or 7, even here in London as people move around so much/move on to private school. So don't panic about not getting a place if you're not dependent on it for work reasons - if you can wait something is bound to turn up once you do want a place somewhere. If you enjoy your time together there's no reason to pay someone else to look after her. Maybe look for a nursery that does part time instead? You're entitled to 15 hours free nursery care a week (I think they recently increased it from 12.5?) from when she turns 3, which you can spread out as you like over whole/half days or sessions, depending on the nursery you choose.

bronze Fri 14-Aug-09 19:46:06

You can use the funding for the playgroup places if you want to do that

2to3 Fri 14-Aug-09 19:50:39

I think pre-school is usually used to refer to the nursery bit of a primary school, whereas a nursery is a private independent institution that takes children aged up to 5? But please correct me if I'm wrong!

LastTrainToNowhere Fri 14-Aug-09 19:59:00

Here in Wales, preschool refers to an independant early years learning session, not connected to a school. Nursery (state nursery actually) is usually attached to a school and is funded by the Council. Entry to nursery is managed centrally by the Council, not by the individual nursery.

Preschool is more informal than a nursery, but the new curriculum means even nurseries aren't so formal and strict with routines

2to3 Fri 14-Aug-09 20:06:30

That's interesting, and it's no less confusing because people use the two terms interchangeably and they probably vary between the four UK countries too. Around here nursery is nearly always used for a private setting unattached to a school. Unless of course people call it 'nursery school' or play school', just to confuse people like me even further...

LIZS Fri 14-Aug-09 20:06:35

It is pretty much down to semantics. Preschool/playgroup is normally sessional with am and/or pm sessions and sometimes lunch starting from aged 2 1/2-3. Nursery schools are synonymous with preschool. Nursery can also be a daycare setting taking younger children and open from 8-6pm. Some infant school will have a state funded nursery class attached or within the grounds. They should all be Ofsted inspected and follow the early Years Curriculum for 3-5yr olds.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 14-Aug-09 20:16:23

hmm there are not any pre-schools in my area then, only private nurseries.

LIZS Fri 14-Aug-09 20:21:07

Even "private" preschools and playgroups may often be in premises such as church halls , while nurseries usually have dedicated facilities.

mumofjemima Tue 29-Sep-09 16:22:37

the whole nursery / pre-school thing is confusing and does seem to be used interchangably. Bottom line is you don't have to send them anywhere and you certainly should feel under pressure to do to (and your two sessions a day seems like overkill - I know my DD will be exhausted from just mornings so i'd not want her to be in somewhere else in the afternoons if possible).

If you want them to go anywhere then you've basically got the choice of:

1) day nurseries - the kind that take them from babies
2) independently run places (round here called pre-schools) which do sessions for pre-school children (usually seem to refer only to children aged 3 - school age)
3) nurseries connected to schools (round here called the school nursery)

All have to adhere to the early years foundation teaching format / content (as do child minders).

you get 15 hours a week free from the government to be used at one of these places if you CHOOSE to use it - no compulsion. Some people combine them if they need childcare whilst they work - e.g. some of the day nurseries round us do school runs, and obviously childminders too.

I think personally the benefit of school nurseries over day nurseries is they are more in the school format & structure and obviously on the school campus so it makes the transition to school at 5 easier. They can join from the term after they're 3, and most seem to do either a september or january entry so you could defer until they were 3 1/2 if you wanted.

LIZS Tue 29-Sep-09 16:25:42

It isn't 15 hours pw everywhere yet - still 12.5 in some areas.

mumofjemima Tue 29-Sep-09 20:59:33

yeah - think it's going up from next year everywhere isn't it? I think here we're in the change over.

Plonker Tue 29-Sep-09 23:57:17

Every setting from Sept 2010. Just pilot settings for now ...

nappyaddict Wed 30-Sep-09 03:07:08

I know of hardly anyone who sends their child to both playgroup and nursery on the same days.

seeker Wed 30-Sep-09 06:20:35

You don't have to send her anywhere - you can keep her at home until she starts school. I don't buy the 'getting them ready for school" thing. That's why the first year at school is called Reception, not Year 1!

FlamingoBingo Wed 30-Sep-09 07:42:36

As has already been said, you don't have to send her anywhere, ever! She has to be educated from the term after she turns five.

School doesn't have to 'get them in the end'. Mine are HE'd. They've never been to nursery/preschool/anything like that.

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