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My baby is nearly 3 and havent the foggiest where to start with nursery!! Please help!!!

(6 Posts)
Littlemissmischief Mon 21-Sep-09 15:32:41


My DS will be 3 in November and everyone his age or younger seems to already be in nursery, Im too embarrased to say I havent got a clue!
Can anyone tell me...

1. when they start nurseries
2. what the vouchers are they get when the are 3 yrs
3. how to enroll them
4. how long they go for and when they go for longer etc..

And anything else you think I should know!


claraquack Mon 21-Sep-09 15:37:47

Most pre-schools, nurseries, childminders etc take the vouchers but you will have to check with them. The vouchers (15 hours a week free) kick in the term after they turn three. It depends what you want - full-time chidcare, local playgroup etc. If you are not working (which I presume you aren't or your child would already be in childcare), you might want to find a friendly local playgroup and start your child for two or three mornings a week. Do you have any friends in the area with children a bit older than yours, that is usually a good way to get some help (it's what I did!). You might want to get started though because popular playgroups often fill up a long way in advance.
Surestart should also be able to help you, look online. Good luck!

Your free placements of 5 sessions a week - which I think have just gone up to 3 hours each - start in the term after they turn 3. So your son would begin in January. Call the nursery you want and ask them! See where has places available and then visit them. See which one feels right for your son. I just had to fill in a form that they provide and then the gov't pays them directly.

Hope that helps

pippel Mon 21-Sep-09 15:51:30

but if you choose a day nursery you will probably have to top up the vouchers (at my nursery its about £8 a session I think which covers breakfast and lunch) and you will have to pay full price during the school holidays

so a playgroup or school nursery is probably better if you are not looking for childcare

lynniep Mon 21-Sep-09 15:59:03

I cant add much really.

Here a place for a child over 3 is called 'pre-school' and nursery refers to the under 3's.

Every area is different though, so may differ in hours (although I believe most if not all places are 15 hours a week starting 2010) but these may be split differently depending on the nursery/council.

So for instance at my private nursery they currently say that a session is 2.5 hours (that may rise to 5 sessions of 3 hours, or it may change to 6 sessions of 2.5 - my nursery havent been told yet!) This has to be spread over at least 3 days - again that won't apply everywhere.

AS YKNotC says - you need to visit the nurseries yourself to find out if they have funded places available - then apply. They usually do the paperwork, i.e. you wont actually 'see' a voucher. They may not have enough sessions free, in which case it may be possible to use two nurseries. But imo its better for the child to go to one venue especially if they arent used to being away from you!

Some nurseries are only open term time and others all year, and the hours are also dependant on the nurseries.

The vouchers are only for term time ie 38 weeks a year, however my nursery is open 50 weeks a year and they spread the available 'money' so the parents dont get high bills in the months there is no funding.


start looking now

Try here

to get yourself a local list of places.

Have a look at ofsted reports or find a local forum and ask the parents!

If you find some places you like, then ring them and tell them you are looking for funded pre-school place for your 3 year old and ask if there are places available.

They should help you from there!

Littlemissmischief Mon 21-Sep-09 16:10:48

Thanks so much Ladies, that has really helped! I ill have a look at that thread and on surestart too, thanks again.

Im not at work at the moment as I was made redundant a few months back so really Im not looking for childcare, but may do if I get something else. x

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