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Pre-prep aged 3 - what to do in school holidays?

(25 Posts)
Arianrhod Thu 16-Feb-17 11:29:47

My twin DSs have been offered to start at their pre-prep the term following their third birthday, which is fantastic as the school have up until now only done yearly intakes in Sept but have decided to change to termly intake for nursery. But that then leaves me with the very big dilemma of what to do with them in the school holidays, since I know activity camps only start at age 4. My DD was in a similar position with her school, but luckily at that time her old nursery ran a school holiday club, and they allowed her to carry on attending that in her holidays. My DSs current nursery doesn't offer this.

Is anyone else in this position, and if so, what do you do with your DCs please, in the school holidays? My OH and I both work full-time, so I do need to think about childcare options - if there are any!

2014newme Thu 16-Feb-17 11:37:42

Hi in your position I would put the twins in a nursery that is open all year rather than one attached to a school that is closed in school hols.
My twins went to a day nursery open all year. Now they are at school we use different holiday clubs but I dont know of any that would take three year olds.
Alternatively you could see if you can find a childminder who could take them during hols or a nanny that wanted school holidays only but I imagine that those options could be tricky to find.

Arianrhod Thu 16-Feb-17 11:52:57

That's the tricky bit - they are currently in a nursery that's open all year round, but I would like them to be able to start at their pre-prep as early as possible; it had enormous benefits for my DD doing the same at her pre-prep, she's very proud of the fact that she's one of only 4 remaining girls who started aged 3.
I did wonder about holiday-time childminders, but I'm not aware of any anywhere near me, hence my question as to what others in my position do currently. I imagine some people have family to help, but unfortunately that isn't the case for us.

2014newme Thu 16-Feb-17 11:56:28

Well guess youhave to decide whether the benefits of starting at the school nursery outweigh the challenges of finding childcare. What will you do if there is no holiday childcare available? Or if you find some for.onw of the holidays but not the next. Would their current nursery have them the hols? Unless you are confident of getting childcare or can take all the holidays off work I would rethink.

JamDonutsRule Thu 16-Feb-17 14:45:34

Childminder or juggling family babysitting / taking holiday leave during holidays is what most people do.

Arianrhod Thu 16-Feb-17 15:06:24

Thanks JamD .. so are there the fabled holiday-time only childminders in existence? I've not come across any in my area perhaps I'm not looking in the right places. Neither of us have family who could babysit, and since the boys will have 18 weeks of holiday in total, taking leave isn't an option either!

wickerlampshade Thu 16-Feb-17 15:34:15

Surely a pre-prep at that age is only 3-4 hours a day anyway - what are you doing with them the rest of the time? There are some camps that will take from 3 but you couldn't use them all year round. you need a nanny or au pair.

GrassWillBeGreener Thu 16-Feb-17 15:41:10

Why don't you talk to the school - if their premises are used for any holiday schemes they may be receptive to working out how to extend it down to 3 in conjunction with their earlier intake. Especially if you make it clear that you really want to send them but can't unless there is something available for them in the holidays. Good luck!

Arianrhod Thu 16-Feb-17 15:48:11

No, as with their current nursery DSs will be there for full days.

Thanks Grass .. I have actually spoken with the school but there aren't any holiday schemes run from their premises currently. I'm hopeful I might have found a couple of possible answers; it's a bit of a minefield for working parents with no family support network!

2014newme Thu 16-Feb-17 15:51:20

Not really. You keep them where they are now.

Sammysquiz Thu 16-Feb-17 17:49:26

Can't you do both? Keep them at current nursery for some days a week, the pre prep for the others. Then when hols come they'll just go to the old nursery.

RidiculousVehicle Thu 16-Feb-17 21:45:51

We looked into this and decided to start DD at 3.5 and then we only had one two-week half term to cover before she was rising 4 and clubs became available (also her school does do its own holiday club, but not for all holiday days).

However, I am a teacher so I don't 'need' holiday childcare, although I prefer to have some to do marking and planning.

In your position I'd wait another year, unless you earn enough to get a nanny.

RidiculousVehicle Thu 16-Feb-17 21:46:45

In DD's case the pre prep had to be full time as otherwise they wouldn't guarantee a reception place. Otherwise, we would have done the mix of nursery and pre prep thing suggested above.

Kanga59 Thu 16-Feb-17 21:56:02

We used a combination of annual leave, family and holiday club (ours takes them at 3). its only one summer, take parental leave if you can't find childcare?

GU24Mum Thu 16-Feb-17 22:05:47

Could you get a holiday nanny? If you've got twins, it's probably not such a difference as if you were costing 1 place in holiday club versus a nanny.

MaryWortleyMontagu Thu 16-Feb-17 22:11:24

My daughter is in pre-prep and her school runs holiday club during all school holidays which is open from the nursery up to year 6. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to send her there. Surely most schools realise that nowadays most people bar the super wealthy need two incomes to pay the fees, therefore what is the point in starting the pre-prep from 3 but not providing wrap around care during the (long) holidays?

ridinghighinapril Fri 17-Feb-17 08:05:07

My kids both startsd pre-prep before reception and there was a world of difference compared with our local daycare nurseries (which themselves were very good) so it's great if you can make it work.
We hired an after school/wrap around care nanny and she covered the school holidays. Try the various online nanny/child care agencies.

Also, check if your pre prep offer the free early years entitlement and accept childcare vouchers - many do.

Barbeasty Fri 17-Feb-17 08:12:08

Have a look at other preps and see if any have a holiday club they can use.
We use one, despite ours going to state school & attached pres-school and it goes from age 3. Pupils from at least 1 other local prep use this holiday club, because their prep doesn't offer any holiday care.

SixthSenseless Fri 17-Feb-17 08:57:34

Working parents with no alternative flexible support (like grandparents) put their children in a full time childcare nursery, with a childminder or have a nanny.

I think you are unnecessarily hung up on the pre-prep thing. Why is it of enormous benefit / source if pride to have been there since 3? There are other ways to earn pride.

Also, personally at that age I would feel more comfortable with continuity and familiarity rather than make transition to pre-prep, get used to holiday care, back to pre-prep...

SixthSenseless Fri 17-Feb-17 09:00:29

But then, however good it was, I would actively avoid any hint of formal education for pre-Reception aged children, so perhaps it is a matter of outlook.

(Mother of seriously high performing academic kids)

christinarossetti Fri 17-Feb-17 09:07:15

What does your DD do during the school holidays now?

Arianrhod Fri 17-Feb-17 09:29:39

Sixth - it's nothing to do with pride, I merely said my DD was very proud of being one of the few girls in her year who has been at her school right from the earliest age. For me it's more about stability and having a sense of belonging. I was moved from pillar to post when I was young, and ended up not feeling 'settled' at any school, with very few friends, none of which I've carried into adulthood. I am strenuously avoiding that for my children - I want them in their schools as early as possible so that they form good solid friendships right from the word go - as my daughter has done. And while I'm with you on avoiding heavy education for littlies, the pre-prep that my DSs will be going to, as with the pre-prep that my DD went to, believe very much in learning through play; I like their methods. My DD goes to various activity camps during the holidays, but then, she's 10; there are loads of things for her to do at that age.

Ridinghigh - exactly! They do go to a very good day care nursery for a couple of days a week at the moment, as did my daughter, but there was a world of difference, as you say, between the nursery she went to and her pre-prep nursery, even though her day care nursery was excellent. Another reason I want the boys to have the same opportunity she did. We actually have a fantastic nanny for the boys for the other days currently, but once they start at their pre-prep we will lose her as they have to do more days at the pre-prep as a minimum than they are doing now, and understandably she wants more full-time work than we will be able to give her. I had indeed thought of an after-school/holiday nanny, but having had prior experience of trying to get nannies in our area (with many agencies), it seems they're more rare than hens' teeth, so I can't imagine a holiday nanny is going to be any easier to find!

I've checked all of the prep/pre-prep school holiday clubs between home and work, and not one of them takes from 3, they're all 4/4.5 upwards. It's possible there may be a chance they can go to a holiday club at an alternative day care nursery chain, incidentally the same chain my daughter went to originally, so I'm investigating that. An after-school/holiday nanny would be best, but as I say, I don't much rate my chances of finding one.

MaryWortley - couldn't agree more, but I'm guessing from my previous experience that a lot of families who have their children in pre-prep nurseries can afford not to have one parent working (usually Mum, in my experience) when the child is little. Not the case for us; as you say, two incomes most definitely needed! Which is also why I can't simply take the summer off, although it would also be 4 weeks at Easter and two lots of half-term weeks too. Financially impossible, unfortunately.

Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions, it's great to know what everyone thinks!

pamplemoussed Fri 17-Feb-17 09:43:40

The only other group of people who have the same long holidays as the independent school sector are university students. When I was a uni student I spent all my holidays working as a nanny for a family at an independent school near my parents house - summer, Christmas and Easter , I had guaranteed work. I even moved in one weekend for the parents to go away and celebrate their wedding anniversary. And they took me on sunny holidays. As a broke student, It was a great holiday job for me. So find a university student is my answer.

RamblingFar Fri 17-Feb-17 21:14:51

I know SuperCamps and KingsCamp both take from age 3. So there are a handful of holiday activity clubs around that do.

Millybingbong Sun 19-Feb-17 08:05:22

If you want stability and not moving them from pillar to post then you want to keep them where they are because a half baked holiday plan is exactly what you are trying to avoid

I think you are placing way to much emphasis on your upbringing top

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