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Swapping from 'daycare' nursery to 'preschool' nursery?

(12 Posts)
MrsBadger Wed 11-Nov-09 12:37:59

Have just had a parent's evening at dd's daycare nursery and I'm starting to see hints that although the staff and setup are fab when it comes to childcare (baking / singing / cuddles / pottys / playing in the garden etc) there are some holes starting to appear when it comes to actual learning. Nothing drastic or awful, just not quite right.
And I know they are too young to be worried about formal learning - in a way I would rather they stuck with painting and mud etc - but I do think if you're going to do early literacy/numeracy etc you should do it properly and not in a way that's going to conflict with school later on, iyswim.

Now obv I have talked to the manager and she is sorting out the sortable stuff (children's names written in all caps, using letter names not sounds - 'Ess is for snake' rather than 'Sss is for snake' etc) but I am wondering if dd is really going to be ok there till she starts school.

As such I am looking at other local options but these seem to break down fairly simply thus:

1. Other similar daycare nurseries, which may or may not be any better
2. Montessori daycare nursery
3. Pre-prep
4. State sessional preschools ie mornings/afternoons only, eg the one attached to our (excellent) catchment primary
5. Private sessional preschools

The bastard is I'm working full time, and had planned/budgeted to do so till dd starts school when I'd go down to school hours only, so however attractive / local etc they are sessional options are going to be tricky.

On the other hand, who's to say that any other daycare setting will be any better, in which case why move dd who is very happy and settled where she is?

Or should I/willing grandparents seriously consider shelling out for expensive pre-prep, possibly inc boaters and ballet and all that jazz, which she will have to leave after a year?

Thoughts and wise words greatly appreciated...

bran Wed 11-Nov-09 12:55:04

Unless you're not in the UK then letter names are not the way to go as they use sounds in school. DS is in year 1 and his teacher told us off (in a very nice way) for confusing him by using letter names.

If she's happy then I wouldn't bother moving her until reception year. They will be starting from scratch anyway as there will be plenty of kids in the class who haven't had any formal learning up until that point.

I moved DS from a nursery to Montessori pre-school for two terms before he started school but that was because he was getting a bit bored where he was as a lot of the children in his age group were leaving, either to move away from the area or to go to pre-school. I also thought that he would be going to the school that the pre-school was attached to, although that didn't work out. He enjoyed the pre-school but if had had still been very happy at nursery I wouldn't have bothered moving him.

doingthelambethwalk Wed 11-Nov-09 12:58:11

We are thinking similar thoughts for DS, as he will be one of the oldest in his year when he does actually start school, so are wondering if he might start getting a bit bored in his daycare nursery or if a pre-school might have more physical activities as he's a very active kid.

We are thinking either private pre-prep or state preschool but there's only one state one he might get into so waiting to hear on that.

We both work FT but the school run issues are OK for our choices as the pre-prep has wrap-around care and his current daycare will pick up from the state preschool. Are you sure none of your choices have similar possibilities?

The downside for us is the worry about messing DS around as he would not necessarily go to the prep or the state school that relate to the preschools due to school admissions criteria. But in London that seems to happen anyway, his friends at daycare change quite often and this pre-school year seems particular prone to change. For continuity of DC's social life we are focusing on keeping up with our family, friends and neighbours more than his daycare friends (though obviously there's some overlap).

Financially, the pre-prep + wrap-around care would be a bit more expensive than the daycare nursery but that's more than paid for by me staying at work FT for the time being, and as we're paying so much for daycare anyway it seems it might be worth it for proper teachers.

strongblackcoffee Wed 11-Nov-09 13:05:06

My DS has been in daycare from around 12mths for a couple of days a week. He now does 3 sessions at preschool and 1 at the original daycare. He is now complaining about doing the daycare one, as he doesn't enjoy it half as much as the preschool. He is 3.8ish.

I wouldn't worry about the learning side of things - if your DD is happy then I would leave her there tbh. As someone else said, they will start everything from scratch at school. There is no reason for children to be doing any formal learning this early, they will catch up very quickly no matter when they start doing it. Definitely not worth paying lots of money for imo. However, I have found that my DS loves preschool in a completely different way. There is much more freedom to do different things, and they are encouraged to be more independent. I think generally he feels more grown up there.

Also worth bearing in mind - the preschool hours are incredibly hard to work around. I only work 2 days per week and it's hard enough.

Hope that's helpful and not too confusing... smile

MrsBadger Wed 11-Nov-09 13:46:39

very helpful, thank you all smile

bran, you are of course spot on and that was what worried me, because we religiously use letter sounds at home and hence I was shocked to find nursery using letter names - and so was the manager when I told her.

Lambeth, the pre-preps all have wraparound care which does make them v attractive, but her current daycare doesn't do wraparounds for children in other settings (grr).
Good point re keeping up with neighbouring kids though, as they will all end up at the same primary eventually, which none of her current friends from daycare will (it's near work rather than near home).

Coffee, DD is very young for her year (August birthday) so it won't actually be long before she starts school anyway - I def couldn't see her lasting at the current daycare till she was nearly 5. I do think that she would get a lot out of the kind of preschool setting you describe though.

Really I must go and quiz the head of the 3-5s section at the current place and see how it'll differ from the 2-3s where she is atm. I do know it isn't really important whether she learns to read or not before starting school, but if their half-arsed approach to early literacy is symptomatic of a more general half-arsed-ness and not just a hiccup...

MrsBadger Wed 11-Nov-09 21:25:07

any evening people have opinions to add?

PandaG Wed 11-Nov-09 21:30:15

childminder plus 5 sessions at preschool attached to school not an option?

I work in a sessional preschool, and tbh we have a long waiting list and no spaces for January. Trying to move her may not actually be an option.

Hope that you find a compromise that suits. smile

MrsBadger Wed 11-Nov-09 21:37:31

CMs like hens' teeth round here, and I wouldn't move her till Sept anyway.

Have speculatively joined waiting lists for the handiest pre-prep and for a (rare and good-looking) state sessional preschool with on-site private wraparound...

PandaG Wed 11-Nov-09 21:49:09

ah, misunderstood you smile - thought you meantr to move her Jan before school next Sept.

state with on site private wrap around sounds good then.

MammyT Wed 11-Nov-09 22:45:48

"Really I must go and quiz the head of the 3-5s section at the current place and see how it'll differ from the 2-3s where she is atm."

If I read this correctly, are you saying that your daughter is in the wrong class for her age? That is,she's 3 already but still with the 2-3 age group?

My child is in a montessori nursery and the difference between the 2-3 and 3-5 year groups is immense. She had frankly got bored in the younger group and is much more challenged in the older age group.

I'd try the older group before you make other changes.

MrsBadger Thu 12-Nov-09 09:46:52

no no, she is 2.3 atm - afaik they move up to 3-5s around the time of their third birthday, and it might be really different up there...

redskyatnight Thu 12-Nov-09 12:07:51

We moved DD from "daycare nursery" to school nursery (+wrap around) in September (she was then 3.5). She'll be there for a year (she will start Reception next September).

We had slightly different reasons to you in that as it is the nursery attached to the school she will go to, we wanted her to make friends with children she would go to school with. Also the nursery gets them more into "school ways". Plus DS goes to the school and it is obviously a big convenience to have them both in the same place!

DD spent the first 3 weeks moaning she wanted to go back to her old nursery but she has not mentioned it since and has settled very happily. Like you I was loathe to take her away from a nursery where she was happy, but I do think that the transition at age 3 has potentially been easier than moving at Reception age. If you don't have a nursery where a majority of children are likely to go to DD's school that is less of a consideration obviously.

As a comparison DS DID stay in daycare nursery till Reception and I think they did "less" with him than perhaps the school nursery will with DD. But I don't think it did him any harm - he made friends very quickly in Reception and by Christmas was pretty much indistinguishable from the children that had been to the school nursery.

Also, I did think DS's nursery let him coast rather in nursery (he liked playing with the cars and trains so that's pretty much all he did most days!) BUT I have subsequently realised that it probably hasn't made a blind bit of difference to his later school life (he's in Year 1 now).

Not sure what my conclusion is - I suspect it is not worth moving DD unless you are really unhappy with your current nursery or unless there is a strong motivating factor in moving her elsewhere.

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