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When's best to start school nursery?

(12 Posts)
ShadowLine Fri 11-Sep-15 14:37:43

We are currently thinking about when to apply for school nursery for DS2 (almost 2). He's an Autumn baby, so in the school we're looking at, he's eligible for a school nursery place the term after his 3rd birthday, and he'd get a maximum of 5 terms in school nursery before starting reception. We hope that he'd move directly from this school nursery into the school reception class, so would be familiar with the school etc.

Currently DS2 does a few days a week at a private nursery that takes children from 3 months till they leave for Reception class. He's well settled in there, likes going, and has bonded well with the key workers.

What we're wondering is, would it be best to move him into the school nursery ASAP, or would it be best to leave him in his current nursery until the year before he's due to start school? i.e. so he starts school nursery in the autumn term he turns 4 and so has 3 terms in the school nursery.

Obviously whether we'd actually get a choice would depend on availability (I know there was availability last year for Autumn borns to start the term after their 3rd birthday although of course this wouldn't guarantee availability every year). If we do get a choice, does anyone have any advice as to advantages / disadvantages of either option?

lurkinginthenorth Fri 11-Sep-15 22:23:36

My son is Autumn born and began the term after his 3rd birthday - January 2015. he is beginning term 3 of 5 terms in total on Monday.

He had been going to a childminder everyday from 7:45am til 6pm beforehand and started school nursery every afternoon - 12:45pm til 3:45pm. For the first half term he was an absolute wreck! He found it incredibly tiring but he' okay now.

I could have kept him with my childminder full time until he starts Reception in September 2016 but like you, I wanted a gradual introduction to the school he'd be going to and getting him used to a 'school routine'.

I don't regret the decision. It has been the best one.

Any chance that your DC can do both - mornings at one, afternoons at the other?

My friend's DS went to private nursery and attended Reception of the same school. He didn't know any of the kids and all but a very small handful (4 maybe) went to the school nursery so friendships amongst the children (and adults) had been established and he found it a challenge 'fitting in'. he's in Y1 now and ha friends so whatever the 'disadvantages', they can be overcome.

Personally I would always try for a school based nursery. Routine, familiarity, friendships, learning based environment (they tend to be more on the ball with development because schools are monitored for progress and it is in school's best interests to show progress even from nursery).

BackforGood Fri 11-Sep-15 22:29:03

Personally I'd move him at the start of the school year, so he gets 3 terms there. As you are happy with his current Nursery. There's a big difference in 6 months at this age, and - IMO - PVIs are generally much more used to the slightly younger dc than school Nurseries, where the ratio of dc to adults is much higher.

PermetsTu Fri 11-Sep-15 22:31:15

My DS has just started at the local preschool. He is just 4 (early Sept birthday) and while he could have gone two terms ago, I felt he wasn't ready. He's always had severe separation anxiety and I didn't want to put him through it any earlier. Thankfully, he's very happy and enjoying it, if exhausted.

To reassure you though, dd (who went to preschool aged 3 and a half) went to a different school to the one attached to her preschool and had no problems at all making friends. There were plenty of dc there who hadn't been to nursery at all, some who went to private, some to childminders etc. There didn't seem to be any problems for any of the children. We're doing the same with DS. He won't go to the reception class/school of the preschool he currently attends and I'm not worried.

MiaowTheCat Sat 12-Sep-15 07:13:52

I've left mine at their preschool they've been at since age 2 and I'm skipping school nursery altogether - but our preschool is very well set up for the older children and they've got the measure of DD1 in particular very well sussed out. However round here the kids from preschool go off to about 4-5 different primary schools (mixture of a biggish catchment area for preschool and the fact we're right on an LEA boundary) so there's not that direct continuity with your peers anyway, and it could well be that where she ends up for Reception doesn't have a nursery attached anyway (it's about 50/50 if she'll go to the infant and nursery school or the primary school locally).

Sirzy Sat 12-Sep-15 07:16:13

The problem with doing 5 terms is most of the friends they make in the first 2 terms will probably end up leaving in the July to move to the school. If you do the 3 terms then most of the children will move up to school together.

ShadowLine Sat 12-Sep-15 09:19:25

Another thing I was wondering about was toilet training - we are planning on starting this before DS2 is 3 because ideally we'd like him to be more or less reliably toilet trained by the time he moves up into a pre-school group, whether that's at his current nursery or a school nursery. But, with DS1, the whole toilet training didn't properly click until he was about 3 years 3 months, despite starting before he was 3. And even after that, DS1 had plenty of accidents at first.

I suspect that a nursery that's taking children from 3 months old is likely to be more relaxed about a young 3 yr old who's still getting to grips with using toilets and needs help / changing from time to time than a typical school nursery. But I'm not sure if I'm worrying about nothing on this point.

ReallyTired Sun 13-Sep-15 15:33:22

A school nursery really does not have the ratios for potty training. A child will only learn to use the toilet when ready. If a three year old is not reliablely clean and dry then day nursery might be a kinder place for them. (Ie. No walk of shame with a bag of soggy clothes at pick up time.)

sneepy Sun 13-Sep-15 22:35:11

Is this actually an option? Your DS will be entitled to funding from January but every school I know only intakes from September. Children start school nursery the sept before they start reception and have three terms there regardless of when they turned 3.

ShadowLine Sun 13-Sep-15 23:43:15

The school nursery class this year has some children in it who joined the nursery last year and will therefore have had more than 3 terms in school nursery before going into Reception.

lurkinginthenorth Mon 14-Sep-15 15:37:00

sneepy not always. My child's nursery takes children at the beginning of the term after they have turned 3 and it is a school nursery.

Sirzy I wouldn't say it is a 'problem'. There are children who will move into reception, as my son has foud, but if it is a good nursery they would, without preventing, encourage friendships through careful grouping with children of a similar age. My son was in a group with children who, like him, are Autumn birth. He has seen some friends move up but because he is also friends with children of his school age group, it hasn't caused an issue.

Reallytired I think you are generalising all school nurseries. My little boy wasn't entirely potty trained when he began and they took it in their stride. Rarely had an accident. It isn't about ratio to deal with 'potty training' but the techniques and recources you use that is the trick. Most children will learn from their peers. If their friend is going to the loo, chances are they'll follow too.

tricot39 Mon 14-Sep-15 21:58:15

I think you need to check with the nursery. All of our local schools were broadly the same. Places were available from the start of the school year following the child's 3rd birthday (ie they turn 4 during the academic year). Places were allocated to older children first. All had to be toilet trained although that definition is open to interpretation - our 2 could go to the toilet by themselves, but wiping wasn't completely mastered! The sessions were morning or afternoon and you had to choose which you took. This meant that the child had to be picked up/dropped off in the middle of the day which excludes most working parents. We paid a childminder a full day to do the pick up and half day care, so do work out how you might deal with the sessions as in our area they are a lot less convenient than private nursery/daycare.

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