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Starting school having never gone to nursery...

(35 Posts)
Rodion Sat 20-Dec-14 15:14:16

Who's children have mainly spent all their time with their primary carer up until starting school? I don't mean the odd babysitting session or day with grandparents, just no childminder/preschool/nursery.

We weren't planning on sending DS to any of the above as I am at home with DD anyway. However, some other parents have been surprised that we wouldn't take advantage of the free hours at nursery as it would be 'good for preparing for school'. We're not antinursery, but just preferred the idea of doing it ourselves.

Has anyone else done the same? Did your DC enjoy starting school or did they struggle as most other children have been eased in gently by attending nursery?

TalkinPeace Sat 20-Dec-14 18:20:07

Statistically, kids who have not been in group situations before school do worse because they lack the social skills that make the rest work better

WiseKneeHair Sat 20-Dec-14 18:54:39

DS3 didn't go to nursery. He went to toddler groups, the library, tumbletots, soccatots, etc with his carer (not me). He also has two older brothers at home.
He's now in year 1 and doing very well, both socially and educationally. He is quite shy, but so are the older two that went to ft nursery from an early age, so I think that is a personality issue, rather than anything else.

mondaymadness Sat 20-Dec-14 19:01:50

Children didn't used to commonly go to nursery or preschool, when I was growing up, and they all seem to have coped with school fine. I think your DS will be fine.

One point to consider though, do you think he would actually enjoy a few hours a week at nursery? That would be the question I would ask myself, if I were in your shoes.

Rodion Sat 20-Dec-14 19:18:47

Thanks everyone for your replies.

Talkin That's interesting - do you remember where you came across those statistics, sounds worth a read.

Wise We do go to some groups together and also round to similar ages children's houses to play (the latter appears much more valuable in terms of building friendships).

Monday Yes, good point about possibly enjoying it. I feel like he wouldn't be ready at the moment. He's very shy and likes me close, but at this age that can change quickly so perhaps the best thing will be to reassess every so often.

TalkinPeace Sat 20-Dec-14 19:58:13

start here

You say your child is very shy : all the more reason to use such things while its not compulsory - let him build skills and tactics and resilience before he starts school

The really important issue in terms of long term skills is time without you - spending time solely with the mother is incredibly unusual on a global / historical basis - because its not effective.

atonofwashing Sat 20-Dec-14 20:58:49

I felt our ds would have benefited from being in the school nursery, and not the one I put him in.

When he arrived In Reception, you could see the kids who had spent time In The school nursery. They just seemed to be primed for the environment and routine.

However, they are all in y4 now and half the class have left and he's very happy.

But, I do think whether school nursery or not, it's hugely beneficial for parents and kids alike. We all like to spend time with our peers, whether you are 23, 33 or 3!

Those are my thoughts anyway....

Rodion Sat 20-Dec-14 20:58:49

Wow, thanks Talkin!Have skimmed through that and read all the sections and stats relating to pre-school (couldn't quite face the entire document though!).

I must say I was fascinated and surprised that pre-school education is such a powerful predictor of academic and financial success. But then the more you read, the more it makes sense; it's most valuable when the parents' academic achievements are minimal and the pre-school education is of longer duration and 'better quality'.

But it also shows that level of education achieved by parents is as, if not more, predictive.

I guess the trouble with these sort of stats is that they are averaged across the study population and don't take into account the particular personality of an individual child and when they might be 'ready'.

I have no evidence to back this up, but feel that being pushed into a social situation a child isn't ready for (in terms of parental separation and shyness) could actually cause more insecurity and compound the shyness.

Obviously by the time school starts the choice is removed (unless home-schooling), but the child is that much older and is better able to comprehend the parent leaving them.

Swimmingwithsharks Sat 20-Dec-14 21:03:30

I wish we had done what you are planning on doing. We sent our son to nursery and he didn't actually like it. Then he went to reception and actually he didn't really like that either. We felt under pressure to send him to nursery as that is just what everyone else did and as we thought it was the 'best thing to do'. It was as if everyone was telling us it was an opportunity for our son to socialise with other little kids and get used to a school environment and start on the road of education.
Looking back, I can't see anything more natural than for a little child to learn and socialise by their mother's side. I don't believe a year at nursery actually helped my son get used to the school environment. If anything, he merely endured it and it just elongated his schooling. ( 14 years of school is plenty, why I thought another one would enhance his experience is beyond me). I think most parents believe that nursery is indeed an opportunity not to be missed and that their little one will be 'behind' if they don't go to nursery. I don't actually think that is the case. True, you will meet a range of parents and children for you and your son to socialise with, but plenty of time for that in reception too I think. And no doubt your son will learn good manners and colours and numbers and how to read with his parents in a home environment. So, for my son it didn't seem to make any difference. Nursery is very play based and yes of course the children are monitored and learn through a play based environment. However I think I could have given that to my child too and more in a more varied setting including more music, art and outdoor activities with plenty of chances to socialise with other children in the playground and different activities.
Just because we are offered 15 hours nursery education for free, it doesn't mean that you have to take it. Some peoples children truly seem ready for schooling as it suits their personality. You know your son best, you will make the best decision. For my son the nursery experience did not ease the transition into full time schooling.

TenMinutesEarly Sat 20-Dec-14 21:08:35

My niece didn't go to nursery and cried every morning in reception until Christmas. My nephew went to nursery. Of course we will never know how she would have fared going to nursery.

My dc both went to a school nursery and are now at the same school. They loved it and it was only a few hours.

TalkinPeace Sat 20-Dec-14 21:08:43

I can't see anything more natural than for a little child to learn and socialise by their mother's side
except that its not the way people have historically or do around the world learn.

Fit young women go out and seek food/ work, leaving their toddlers in the care of grannies and aunts in groups

cheminotte Sat 20-Dec-14 21:12:46

When does your ds turn 4? I think going from 100% with mummy or daddy to full-time at school Will be a big shock, having done a few morning sessions at nursery will help prepare them. I also really enjoyed having some time with just me and dc2.

Wigeon Sat 20-Dec-14 21:18:56

My DD1 did only 2 sessions a week of pre school, then 3 for the final term. DD2 is now doing 2 sessions at pre school (ie 6 hrs on total) and will probably stick with that right up til school. The rest of the time they were / are with either me (2 days), DH (2days) or my mother (1 day) I am totally happy with that for our family. DD1 (now in Year 2) settled well in Reception - which after all is meant to be preparation itself for "proper" school in Y1, and is doing very well academically. They both enjoyed / enjoy pre school, and I think thr2 sessions is about right in terms of some time away from family care, but we do so much more in addition.

On parental levels of education - DH and I are pretty highly educated, and think we were fairly confident that we would be adequately supporting their education at home, but no amounts of PhDs can get you the softer skills about coping in an environment alone etc. However, I entirely agree that that can be left til later if your DC right now would be stressed by being left at a pre school or later.

Wigeon Sat 20-Dec-14 21:20:30

*"or nursery" not "or later"!

eromdap Sat 20-Dec-14 21:30:55

I think that you are doing a great job giving your son opportunities to socialise with others of his own age, which is a big skill for them to learn at their age. However have you considered that by allowing your son just one morning a week away from you? Perhaps he will then be able to develop the skills needed to handle situations that may occur when he starts school and you are not there to run to for reassurance. I don't know what preschools you have available locally, but a good one will be able to foster these developments in children successfully enough so that the children develop a certain degree of independence before they reach the larger, noisier and more hectic environment of school.

Madcats Sat 20-Dec-14 22:16:03

I'm not sure that I would have kept sane without a brilliant nursery, but not all nurseries/pre-schools are the same. You are obviously willing to be challenged about your plan, so here is my tuppence worth:

There were plenty of kids that really didn't cope with morning drop-off for the first couple of years at Infant school (thinking back, I think they were the ones who had young siblings who got to stay at home rather than any that wouldn't have gone to a pre-school of some sort). FWIW the children bounced out of school in the afternoon (so I suspect it was a bit of a show to make their parents feel a bit guilty).

Regardless of what you decide to do...............
The things my DD found hardest at 4 (before and at school) were:
-learning to survive without naps in the afternoon
-asking to go to the loo/have a drink (they were allowed to do this themselves at nursery, but suddenly it was different)
-waiting her turn
-losing a game
-meeting strangers
-dressing/putting on coats and shoes

We organised plenty of playdates in reception. A few "packed lunch" kids really weren't great at eating with knives and forks. I seem to remember one Mum spoon-feeding her DD for the first reception playdate.

Fast forward a few years and a few kids are still struggling with the basic stuff but most have nailed it.

Rodion Sat 20-Dec-14 23:12:11

All good points and great to have a few different angles and things to think about - thank you everyone smile.

I can definitely appreciate the argument for nursery as a gentle introduction to being left without mum/dad and to prevent school being a massive shock to the system.

If I'm honest I think 4 is a bit young to go to school. I prefer the system that some other countries have of starting at 5/6. That said, I certainly wouldn't want to keep DS home until 5/6 and then insert him into an already gelled class. Later starts only work if all the kids do it together.

We have just over a year before he turns four, so plenty of time to decide.

fatterface Sat 20-Dec-14 23:25:39

In many countries where "school" starts at 6, almost all children will have been in nursery for years previously.

TheAwfulDaughter Sat 20-Dec-14 23:28:21

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

duplodon Sat 20-Dec-14 23:56:41

It actually says preschool vs no preschool has no to limited effects on social behaviour at 16. Improvements in academic performance are simple enough to predict. The more you do of something, the better it is likely you will be. Preschool isn't magic, it just offers a particular type of experience and if that's a quality experience that's likely to be positive for formal learning. Arguments about the history of the world suggesting maternal care is ineffective make little sense to me. Ineffective in achieving what outcome, exactly? Poverty remains overwhelmingly the most predictive of long term outcomes across a range of domains.

It is all irrelevant, anyway. What do you want to do with your brief window of time in tuis earth? Do that, don't base your life choices on flipping research.

LePetitMarseillais Sun 21-Dec-14 08:02:53

My 3 were all at home but I did use the free hours( not much back then) for a year or so but no more.

To be frank educationally even though it was Outstanding and a fab pre school they didn't get much from it.They had all the similar toys at home and had had a huge variety of experiences,books,science and art activities at home.They were getting a little bored with it by the end of their time at pre school and more than ready for school.

Socially it was advantageous as although v good at sharing toys(had 3 in a year) turn taking etc being in a big crowded room and away from me was invaluable.Wouldn't have wanted them doing it from 2 but in the run up to school it was useful.It cut out any starting school wobbles.

All did extremely well at school.

The studies say nursery is good for the tiny percentage from disadvantaged homes,I read something somewhere else that said kids at the other end of the spectrum gained little advantage.Stands to reason as a primary carer having a higher education and vocabulary than nursery staff will undoubtably have an impact.

Purpleflamingos Sun 21-Dec-14 08:57:54

I pulled ds out of the nursery he was in. When school came up he was looking forward to it but even now he will come out and say 'I missed you mummy'. But he loves school. Being better prepared this time around I found a better nursery for dd and she loves it. It's teaching her to concentrate and sit still (not for long, just a few minutes), the staff are wonderful. So, whilst neither ds or I enjoyed the nursery experience, he loved school, made friends, and settled well, it was just a long day for him. But he did say they were very busy in school so he only had play times to miss me.

bearwithspecs Sun 21-Dec-14 21:31:13

Ours is a very big school 70% went to the school nursery for 15hrs of more. 20% came from other private nurseries. The 10% who came from home were the ones who cried everyday for weeks and took a lot of settling. They were less prepared in terms of being used to being away from mum 9-3. The nursery kids all made the move without issue and all do extra curricular stuff too after school or after school clubs. BUT it's your choice and they all settle down by the end of reception

NewNameFor2015 Sun 21-Dec-14 21:58:48

I'm just wading in to point out (primarily to talkin who mentioned it) that school is not compulsory, giving a child an education is compulsory, school is not.

QuiteQuietly Sun 21-Dec-14 22:12:45

DD1 attended no preschool/nursery before school. This was not an active decision on our part, but because she came to stay with us for a weekend at 3 months and for various reasons never went home. It took some time to sort the situation out and get parental responsibility so we were not authorised to make nursery/preschool decisions until it was too late. She went in a creche at chuch (45mins most weeks?) and occasionally at the local sports centre (an hour every month or so). She was fine starting reception and out of my three children (the other two both did two years of part-time preschool) is the "best" socially and is in the top half of the class academically. She did toddler groups, swimming and a tumbletots-style gym class. We ate a great deal of cake in cafes and at friends' houses. We ensured she was happy being left with other people and knew she would be collected, and by doing semi-structured activities and toddler groups with "circle time" she was prepared to sit down, listen and follow instructions. The standard of preschools/school nurseries/private nurseries varies wildly, as do individual children themselves. There cannot possibly be a universal benefit for everyone to go to any pre-school setting.

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